2019 October Legends Closing October 19
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In the winter of 1891, James Naismith was teaching physical education at the YMCA of Springfield, Massachusetts when he was tasked to come up with an indoor winter activity to keep the track athletes in shape as winter activities in New England were not, and are still not, conducive to outdoor activities. The native of Canada, who used to play a medieval game called “duck on a rock” where a player would have to guard a large rock from opposing players, who’s aim was to knock over that rock with smaller stones. Naismith figured out that the best method was to “lob” or “toss” the smaller stones instead of the straight shot that was commonly used. This was one of the influences he used to come up with this indoor game called “Basket Ball”.

What turned out to be a means of getting through the cold New England winters has now evolved into one of, if not the most popular sport in the world – basketball. Thanks to James Naismith, the many great players that have played this game can trace it all back to the winter of 1891.

Offered here is a rare handwritten letter Naismith wrote to his wife. This four-page (two pieces of folded paper written on both sides) letter is on “ON BOARD CUNARD WHITE STAR “SAMARIA” letterhead and was when Naismith was on a ship to Russia and explaining to his wife what he has incurred on the way. In his letter, he is asking about his family and how his wife was coping with the hot summer Dallas. Naismith signs off on the letter with this loving line "It makes me very happy to think I have ... a fine family of the first and second generation. Give my love to all of them and remember that I am as for the past 20+ years your loving husband, Jim." Naismith’s autograph is on the bottom left front of the envelope as he wrote "Mrs. James Naismith" and their Dallas address on the front of the envelope. The letter is in excellent condition, displaying only minor toning. Naismith handwrote this letter in black steel-tipped fountain pen and addressed the envelope in the same. The postmark on the envelope is “19 JUL 1936” from Glasgow and the upper right side is where the envelop was opened. A wonderful relic from the inventor of basketball and these items come with a LOA from JSA (BB34257).

Please note that this lot has a 25% Buyer’s Premium (28% if payment is made using a credit card and/or is not paid within 10 days of invoice). Goldin Auctions will be donating 5% of the winning bid price to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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