MEARS was recently asked to examine a 1981-84 Celtics home jersey of NBA legend Larry Bird.
The home cheese cloth jersey, a fabric common to 1970s and 1980s Celtics uniforms, features both Sand-Knit tags customary for Celtics jerseys of the era: a size 46 manufacturer’s label and the standard Exclusive tag that appears in most Sand-Knit NBA jerseys. The design of the tags, and the reference to Medalist (as opposed to MacGregor) Sand-Knit puts the dating of the jersey in the 1981-84 range, as Celtics jerseys of this era are not known to carry any year, set, or player ID tagging.
Measurements come out at 21 1/2 inches for the chest, and 28 1/2 inches for the torso, not a match to a size 46 with untagged extra length, but acceptable as the cheese cloth fabric was routinely subject to shrinkage.
The team name, arched NOB, and numbers are consistent in size and appearance with database exemplars as well as Corbis photo images U2125857 and U2110513. Character measurements include team name = 3 7/8 inches; NOB = 2 7/8 inches; front numbers = 5 13/16 inches, and back numbers = 7 13/16 inches.
Moderate to heavy wear is evidenced, although no abrasions or repairs appear on the fabric. Based on these factors, the Bird jersey has received a final MEARS grade of A10, unimprovable for an early 1980s superstar jersey.