Jon Teitel attended the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore last August. This is the 6th installment in his photo essay about the dealers he interviewed and the stories of the college basketball memorabilia that they were offering for sale/auction. We will be presenting this in installments over the next several months.
Sports card and memorabilia collecting has made a huge evolution over time, for better or worse. Many adults have fond childhood memories of buying packs of cards that had bubble gum inside and then placing the cards into the spokes of their bicycles. However, in the 21st century collectors have locked up their valuable treasures in a “look but don’t touch” philosophy as the friendly pastime has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry.
I got to speak to Rich Albersheim, who has his own sports memorabilia website (www.albersheims.com). Rich has spent most of his life collecting autographs from the best athletes on the planet, and has even appeared in several episodes of the sports memorabilia reality TV show “Ball Boys” as an autograph expert. He had two specific items that caught my eye, both of which have subsequently been sold:
The first item was a 1953 All-American Game satin warm-up jacket worn by former Illinois player Irv Bemoras. Back then there was an annual All-American Game featuring college players against NBA players that took place in Chicago. Bemoras was named 2nd-team All-American by Look Magazine in 1953 along with four other noteworthy players: future Hall of Famers Tom Gola and Bob Pettit, Paul Ebert (who became one of the most outstanding pediatric heart surgeons in the world), and Joe Richey (who won the 1951 NIT at BYU). After an All-American career with the Illini he joined a college All-Star team on a nationwide barnstorming tour with the Harlem Globetrotters, and even played in Argentina in front of Juan & Eva Peron! Rich acquired the jacket directly from Irv several years ago.
The 2nd item was a pair of jersey/shorts from the 1947 College All-Star Game that belonged to Paul Cloyd, who played at Wisconsin. After graduation Cloyd spent several years playing pro basketball.