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.
The Naismith Rules of Basketball
Imagine auctioning off the Constitution. That's what it felt like in 2010 when when James Naismith's Rules of Basket Ball went under the gavel and were sold for $4.3 million. The papers, which lay out the original rules of one of the country's most popular sports, also have handwritten annotations from the sport's founder. The rules went to billionaire David Booth, who sent them to the University of Kansas to inspire the college team. The university is constructing a building where the document will be displayed.
SCP Auctions didn't handle the sale, but it enjoyed the outcome. "Any time a piece of historical sports memorabilia hits a level like that, it's obvious, it shows strength in the marketplace," Imler says. "There was just no precedent for a price at that level."
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