Old Cornhusker Football Film Removed from
Treasurer’s Online Auction, to Be Returned to Family

One of the items in the Nebraska State Treasurer’s upcoming eBay auction of abandoned safe deposit boxes has been removed from the auction and is in the process of being claimed by its owners - a film reel of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team that is estimated to be from the 1930s or 1940s.

Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg said the Unclaimed Property staff was in contact with owners of the property that was featured at a news conference on Thursday announcing the Treasurer’s upcoming online eBay auction. The auction includes the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes that were turned over to the State of Nebraska between 2005 and 2011.

A relative of the owners, Kay and Steve Torrence of Maple Grove, Minnesota, contacted the Treasurer’s Office on Friday after learning about the auction item from news accounts. Kay Torrence’s grandfather, Clarence Swanson, played for the Cornhuskers in the 1920s and earned All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 1921. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Swanson, who died in 1970, was president of the former Hovland-Swanson Department Store in Lincoln and served three terms on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He received the NU Builder’s Award in 1969, and the Clarence E. Swanson Memorial Award was established in his honor to recognize contributions to NU and the NU Athletic Department.

“We are very happy to see this piece of Cornhusker history be returned to the Swanson family where it belongs,” said Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg. “Family members told us they are very grateful to reclaim the film. The Swanson family has deep ties to Nebraska and to the University of Nebraska, and we are indebted to several generations of the family for their contributions to our state.

“We also are thankful to the media for helping us inform the public of our upcoming eBay auction and for helping us locate unclaimed property owners through attendance at our news conferences, publication of our news releases, and interviews with unclaimed property recipients,” Stenberg said.

Also included in the Torrence claim were children’s movie films including “Puss in Boots,” “Mighty Mouse,” and “Kiko the Kangaroo” and architecture renderings for ”A New Residence for Mr. and Mrs. Fred N. Wells” in Lincoln. The architect was the late N. Bruce Hazen of Lincoln.

A family member said the family is eager to look into the connection between the renderings and the Swanson family.

According to the Lincoln Community Foundation website, the late Frederick N. Wells assisted in the acquisition of art for the Nebraska Art Association and the University of Nebraska collections. He volunteered as the first Executive Director of the Lincoln Foundation from 1959 to 1970 and, after retiring, was named a Foundation Benefactor. He died in 1975.

The Treasurer’s online eBay auction, featuring 940 appraised lots, will begin at 10 a.m. CT Monday, September 25, at stores.ebay.com/nebraskaunclaimedproperty. Bidders also may access the auction site from the home page of the Treasurer’s website at treasurer.nebraska.gov.

The auction will be open for 10 days, ending at 10 a.m. CT Thursday, October 5. Stenberg said items that are still available for sale at the end of the 10 days may be reposted for a second round of the auction.

All items for the upcoming auction have been inspected and appraised by Tom Bassett of Lincoln, an independent appraiser. They range in value from $1 to $1,800, and the appraised value of all items totals more than $56,000.

State law requires the Treasurer’s Office to conduct an auction at least every five years. Proceeds from the sale of each item will be recorded in the original owner’s name and be held in that name in perpetuity. The last auction conducted by the Treasurer’s Office was in 2012, resulting in almost $15,000 in sales.

  • Jana Langemach
  • Director of Communications
  • 402-471-8884