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W-O readers Michael Brinkschroeder and Dave Zelickson sent in an article which originally appeared on the SLAM! Wrestling website about the discovery of the original WWWF title from 1963.
When Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers at Madison Square Garden to win the WWWF title, Sammartino never received the original belt which Rogers held at the time. A new one was made and Sammartino eventually wore that one throughout his long reign as the company’s champion.
Cue in Annie Barend, the widow of former WWWF wrestler and former tag team parter of Rogers, Johnny Barend. While she was cleaning her attic in Avon, N.Y., she found a belt wrapped in a bath towel and after doing some homework she discovered that the wrapped belt was Buddy Rogers’ original WWWF title.
Dave Millican, who creates title belts for WWE, verified the authenticity of the title and bought the title off Annie Barend. The full article can be read here.