March 13, 2007
Hologram #: 305945
Player Inspected: Bill Russell
Height: 6’ 10”, Weight: 220
Playing career: 1956-1969
MEARS was asked to examine the following item, hologram #305945. Our examination included a physical inspection of the jersey and trunks, comparison to known authentic examples from our database; imagery analysts by comparing examined jersey to game action photos, and inspection of jersey while looking for originality and/or alterations. The finding were compiled on the Jersey Grading and Authentication Official Worksheet, 2006-2007. Troy R. Kinunen completed the evaluation and final report.
Jersey Physical Description
The white jersey was issued as a Boston Celtics home. This can be verified via the 1956 and 1957 Team photo. The jersey was manufactured to be worn as a player during the regular season. The dureen material was standard issue for 1950’s Celtics jerseys. The jersey was manufactured and supplied to the team by Horace Partridge. The cut of the tail was tailored as a straight cut as opposed to the round cut. This fact was important in the dating of the jersey.
Examination of the Horace Partridge tag provided us with several data points. Comparison to the MEARS database determined this tag was the style and design issued by Horace Partridge circa 1952-65. It was factory applied on the outside tail. The size, design, style, script, and use of numeric size indicator is proper and correct for a Horace Partridge tag that was issued during this era.
This establishes the proper tagging era which should be found on a circa 1956 Celtics jersey. The size indicator, 44, still appears on the bottom of the tag instead of a separate tag which was placed on the right of later versions of the Horace Partridge tag.
Other examples of Horace Partridge tags, which were examined and compared, to the examined Russell found in the MEARS database include:
1. 1960s Horace Partridge Bill Russell Home MEARS database
2. Late 1950s-early 1960s Horace Partridge Bob Cousy Home MEARS database
3. Late 1950s-early 1960s Horace Partridge Bob Cousy Road MEARS database
All three examined jerseys were consistent with the examined 1956 circa Bill Russell Home Jersey.
Size 44 was noted on the Horace Partridge tag. Other examples of Russell wearing size 44 have been found in the hobby.
1965 Bill Russell Celtics jersey road Horace Partridge size 44 Grey Flannel Fall 2005
1965 Bill Russell Celtics jersey home Horace Partridge size 44 Grey Flannel Summer 2005
1960 Bill Russell All Star Game jersey Wilson Size 44 Grey Flannel May 2001
1962 Bill Russell All Star Game jersey Wilson size 44 Grey Flannel 2001
Therefore, it is established that size 44 was correct for Russell during his playing career.
Example of Late 1950s-early 1960s Jersey Used to Establish Correct Font, Piping, and Yoke of Horace Partridge Manufactured Celtics Home jersey
Example #1) From MEARS database Horace Partridge 1950s Home Bob Cousy
1. Note similarities between Bill Russell and Bob Cousy neck piping.
2. Note similarities between Bill Russell and Bob Cousy “CELTICS” font
3. Note similarities between Bill Russell and Bob Cousy yokes
4. Round tail started late 1950’s-early 1960s
Although the body shell was manufactured at a slightly later date than the examined Russell, (evidenced by round tail) was the font, piping, yoke, and manufacturer were the same as the Bob Cousy Celtics home.
Example of Straight Cut Tail used to Identify Dating of Celtics Home Jerseys Circa 1956
Examples in our database, including the above example of the Cousy, illustrate the round tail, which came into vogue in the late 1950s. Below, note the circa 1955 Harry Gallatin jersey which was manufactured by Horace Partridge and illustrates the squaretail used by Horace Partridge during the mid 1950s and verifies this square cut was proper for the examined Russell rookie era jersey.
The Rawlings Bob Pettit verified that a manufacturer from the same period (mid 1950s) was producing jerseys with a similar squaretail cut.
Similarities in Corbis image #1376463, 1957 Team photo in Home White Uniforms
Examination of the following dated 1957 photo allows us to illustrate the following in regards to the examined circa 1956-57 Bill Russell Home Jersey
1. Bill Russell did indeed wear #6 during this time frame
2. Close examination of the photo shows the satin trunks were worn with the dureene jersey
3. The neck and yoke piping on the examined jersey compares favorably with the above referenced photo
4. The arm yokes are tight and compare favorably to the examined jersey
5. The font of the team name CELTICS compare favorably with the examined jersey
6. The font of the 6 compares favorably with the examined jersey
1956 home jersey
Similarities between examined jersey and the 1957 Topps Bill Russell Card #77
1. Card verifies Bill Russell did indeed wear #6 during his rookie campaign
2. Neck and yoke piping compares favorably
3. Font of CELTICS compares favorably
4. Use of satin trunks with dureene trunks verified
5. Font on front number 6 compares favorably
6. Opening size of yoke compares favorably
A pair of white satin trunks was submitted with this jersey. They were manufactured by Horace Partridge and size 36. No specific player I.D. was present pairing jersey to trunks. They do appear to be all original with no noticeable alterations.
Based on the examination of the 1957 Topps card, 1957 Corbis team photo and comparisons to other examples in the MEARS database, we are able to conclude that:
1. Based on tag dating and cut of tail, this jersey can be attributed to circa 1956-57
2. Dureene materials, satin lettering and numbering are correct and all original for Bill Russell/Boston Celtics for the 1956-57era.
3. The size 44 is correct for Bill Russell for the period and supported by other known authentic examples, which have entered the hobby.
4. Piping on yoke and neck is correct in color scheme and can be verified via several noted photographic examples
5. Wear is significant and consistent with a full season or more of use and appropriate for the period.
6. No alterations of any kind
7. Satin trunks are consistent in terms of design, material, and labeling as to be expected on a pair of matching trunks. No player I.D. was included on the trunks specifically pairing trunks to jersey.
Regarding the grade, MEARS assigns this jersey a MEARS A10 as it matches all of our criteria for the grade.
Troy R. Kinunen