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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

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Page 67 of 91

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 68 That decree put Itin in an interesting position of having to spend someone else's money, even if Brees has a consid- erable amount. That might have been uncomfortable for many, but Itin has had a long friendship with Brees and knew he was covered. "Drew and I were in constant contact during the pro- cess," Itin said. "There weren't any worries there. But it escalated in a hurry in the closing hours of the auction. I put in a bid for $100,000, and moments later, there was a bid from someone else for $150,000." When the bidding reached $200,000, Itin didn't flinch. Neither did Brees. "Do what it takes," Brees instructed Itin once again. And the duo calmly stayed in the pocket, so to speak, and submitted the winning bid of $220,000. With fees to Heritage Auctions, the total came to $264,000. "To be honest, Drew and I never discussed what we would do had the bidding continued to escalate," Itin said. "At that point, we weren't thinking about the money, it be- came a competition." It is hard to find two more competitive people than Brees in football (and just about everything else) and Itin in sports items. Itin has no concerns that the jersey is real. Memorabil- ia Evaluation and Research Services (MEARS), a leading sports memorabilia evaluation company, authenticated the jersey, which experts believe is the only one of its kind. The now-former owner of the item, John Neff of Guerneville, Calif., received the jersey following the death of his grandfather, Frank. Frank attended Purdue at the same time as Wooden, and the two remained in touch through the years. According to the Neff family, Wooden gave Frank the jersey. Itin would have loved to have had the jersey in his restaurant but knows it belongs in Mackey Arena. "I am not sure how it will be displayed, but I envision it on a rotating display so people can see the jersey from all sides," Itin said. "It is the number (13) on the back that needs to be seen, too. It is part of what makes it rare for that time and such an important part of Purdue's basket- ball heritage." With Wooden's uniform secured, what is next for Itin's search of rare Purdue sports artifacts? "I would still love to find the trophy for the 1932 nation- al championship," he said of the Boilermakers' mythical national title in Wooden's senior year. "I believe there is something out there, but it hasn't come forward yet." Itin knows full well that anything is possible though, because he was fast losing hope that the Wooden jersey would ever be found. "You just never know," Itin said. j First show of fall season: Aug. 24 Special guests, analysis and more 2 P.M. FRIDAYS Gold and Black LIVE featuring the staff of Interactive live video-stream sports talk show — ask questions, chat with other fans! For schedule visit the college page on Trent Johnson, Agent

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