Typical fans show their devotion by wearing their favorite team's hat or a replica of their favorite player's jersey, but hard-core collectors aren't content until they've purchased original, decades-old uniforms and caps worn by the likes of Babe Ruth. Some take it even further, buying pieces of basketball courts and gloves worn by famous boxers during their most notable bouts. These trophies are not just status symbols (though they definitely are status symbols); they're proof of how much sports mean to men.
No one knows that better than David Kohler and Dan Imler, president and vice president of SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel, California. Since Kohler founded it in 1979, SCP has become the foremost auction house for expensive sports memorabilia. We spoke to these accomplished auctioneers about the most valuable pieces they've ever sold and the blockbusters they never got their hands on.
Muhammad Ali's Gloves
Landmarks in Muhammad Ali's career have led to major sales for SCP Auctions. The Kentucky native won his first heavyweight championship on February 25, 1964, when he was still fighting as Cassius Clay. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier for the first time in what was billed as The Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden. Ali lost the second fight, but the gloves he wore while fighting Smokin' Joe and the gloves he wore during his first championship match both sold in 2012 for $385,848, a nifty payday that didn't ultimately belong to the fighter. The seller? The estate of Angelo Dundee, Ali's longtime trainer.
"The provenance of those gloves was absolutely ideal," Imler says.