Jon Teitel attended the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore last summer. This is the 11th and final installment in his photo essay about the dealers he interviewed and the stories of the college basketball memorabilia that they were offering for sale or auction.
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.
Many of the dealers who were present were just mom-and-pop operations or a one-man amateur show…and then there were the big boys. Gregg Kohn was there representing a ‘little’ company called Upper Deck (www.upperdeck.com), and his specialty involved a little Hall of Famer named Michael Jordan, who is an is exclusive spokesperson for Upper Deck.
The first item was a Jordan-autographed “tegata” handprint. This gorgeous piece contains a combination of 14 background images from the North Carolina school library ad Getty Images, and the run was limited to only 23 (Jordan’s famous jersey number). The print below was on sale for the low, low price of $3750:
Item #2 was a Jordan lithograph in his UNC jersey that was taken from a Sports Illustrated image. The framed artwork was created/autographed by Shepard Fairey (who gained fame after making his “Hope” poster of President Obama several years ago). Although this normally sells for $499, it was being offered at the show for a special price of only $149.
Alan Rosenthal was there representing Mister Ink (www.misterink.com). His specialty was photos of former Tar Heel players and coaches:
Item #3 was a black-and-white photo of Larry Brown from his playing days that was on sale for $5:
Item #4 was a color photo of Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith cutting down the nets, also on sale for $5:
Michael Stoner, head of Stoner Sports & Collectibles (www.stonersports.com) continued the UNC parade.
Item #5 was a UNC framed banner listing all six of their titles…so far (1924/1957/1982/1993/2005/2009). This beautiful banner was made by a company called Winning Streak and was being offered for $259:
Item #6 was an autographed photo of former Texas star Kevin Durant for only $225:
If you are looking for UCLA keepsakes, then Orlando Itin of Bruno’s Pizza (www.brunodough.com) is the guy who delivers.
Item #7 was a UCLA jersey autographed by former Bruins coach Steve Lavin on sale for $100. Orlando and Lavin are friends, so if you ask him nicely he might be able to get you a St. John’s jersey as well:
Item #8 was an autographed photo of another one of Orlando’s friends, Hall of Fame coach John Wooden, available for $75:
Item #9 also features an autographed Wooden photo, but from his playing days, for $75:
The final person I talked to was the tastefully-named Jon from SCP Auctions (www.scpauctions.com), who was hosting a special auction dedicated to Hall of Famer David Thompson.
Item #10 was the actual net that NC State cut down after its 1974 NCAA title game win over Marquette, which was donated by Thompson himself:
Item #11 was Thompson’s 1974 NCAA championship ring, which would be the centerpiece of almost any collection imaginable: