In looking through the Huggins & Scott auction catalog last evening, I found an item that has regional historical significance. It is the George Levene 1908 Silver Trophy Cup.
Regional significance? Yes, I live just outside of Knoxvegas, TN. It is a great sports town. The Tennessee Smokies (AA minor league team for the Cubs), Knoxville Ice Bears (2008-2009 Southern Professional Hockey League Champions), tons of High School sports and of course, the University of Tennessee athletic programs, most notably the Lady Vols basketball team and the Volunteers football team.
The UT football program has had many different head coaches. Several stand out including Robert Neyland, Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer and now Lane Kiffin.
George Levene was the head coach from 1907-1909. This trophy was presented to him by the citizens of Knoxville in 1908. That year he coached the team to a 7-2-0 record. In 1907 it was 7-2-1. His final year in Knoxville dropped to a sorry 1-6-2 record. His nickname Izzy came from his given name, Israel.
The price of this trophy started out at $250 and is currently sitting at $350. Given the weight of the trophy and the current price of silver, it is about a break even investment for the raw metal (not counting the Buyer's Premium). Now, I'm not suggesting that the new owner melt this down or sell it for scrap.
I wish that I had known about this item before last night. My fault for not reading the catalog sooner. I think that an effort could have been made through one of the various sports talk shows to raise money to purchase the trophy and donate it to the UT Athletic Department. Or to the East Tennessee Historical Society.
I'm guessing that the current bidders are Vols fans who think that it would be nice in their own Man Cave or perhaps on their desk at their business. I do not begrudge them for wanting to own it. I just think that it should stay in the family.