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Lot # 1193: 1936 James Naismith Signed Handwritten Letter (PSA)

Category: Basketball

Starting Bid: $300.00

Bids: 9 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Winter Classic",
which ran from 2/25/2024 10:00 AM to
3/16/2024 10:00 PM

Displayed is a 1936 James Naismith handwritten signed letter that was written to his wife, Mandie. Naismith, who was born in 1861 in Canada, was a Canadian American physical educator, physician, Christian chaplain, and sports coach. Above all, he is famous for being the man who invented basketball. In 1891, Naismith was a physical education instructor at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Because one of Naismith's classes was composed of athletic and rowdy men who were bored doing gymnastics during the long winter, Naismith was given 14 days by his supervisor to come up with a new indoor game that the class would enjoy playing in a gymnasium. Naismith hung peach baskets from the running track around the gym and used a soccer ball and came up with some rules about dribbling and avoiding fouls, and basketball was born. Later, Naismith founded the basketball program at the University of Kansas and became the school's first basketball coach. He coached Phog Allen, who in turn coached famed coaches Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith at Kansas, and an esteemed "coaching tree" exists from Naismith down to present-day top basketball coaches. The letter is dated 8-16-36, a time during which Naismith was in Germany to watch the 1936 Olympics - the first Olympics in which basketball was an official Olympic sport. This Olympics was when Hitler was already persecuting Jewish persons and other "non-Aryans" such as African Americans. Hitler had built a new 100,000-seat track-and-field stadium so that he could show off his power, but the United States, with African American Jesse Owens winning four gold medals, outshone Germany and clearly won the Olympics. The United States Basketball Team went on to capture the Olympic Gold Medal, with none of their games close. The letter is written on the front and back of Hotel Weisses Haus stationery. Naismith talks about the trip and his traveling through Europe. In part, Naismith writes, "Hellen's [sic] letter came this morning just before breakfast and I was glad to get it because I will not likely hear from you again before I land in N.Y. at start from Cherbourg...I will feel like running when my train starts from N.Y. I always feel I could make better time on foot than the train makes.... My trip has been a wonderful one and I feel that it was worth the trouble...." Naismith closes the letter by writing, "From your loving hubby Jim." The letter has typical mail folds. The writing, in black ink, is 8/10. The stationery measures 8.5x10.75", and although both the letter and the writing exhibit some slight fading, the letter is still in remarkably good condition, especially considering its age. The letter comes with a PSA/DNA LOA, certification AN02297.

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