Winter Auction 2018 Ending February 17
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/18/2018

After a career that included six major titles and a number one ranking, Bobby Riggs spent the majority of his post-career promoting the game of tennis and himself. Riggs retired in 1951 as a player and by 1973, he was of the opinion that female tennis was inferior to their male counterparts. Even at the age of 55, Riggs was convinced that he could take on the best of the female tennis players of that day and win. Riggs put out the challenge to Billie Jean King, who fit the bill as one of the top women players in 1973. King declined the challenge and Margaret Court, who was already coming off winning the Australian Open and the French Open, stepped in. A match between the then 30-year-old Court and a 55-year-old Riggs was set up for May 13th in Ramona California. In front of an estimated 5,000 fans and televised by CBS Sports, Riggs defeated Court in straight sets (6-2, 6-1).

With the victory over Court, Riggs was even more boastful of his stand regarding women’s tennis. Continuing his taunts towards female tennis players, Billie Jean King accepted the challenge to meet Riggs in a singles’ match. The match was set up for national TV on ABC for September 20th, 1973 at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas with a winner-take-all $100,000 prize. Dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes”, the promoters pulled out all of the stops. For $50,000, Riggs wore a bright yellow “Sugar Daddy” robe as he entered the Astrodome arena in a rickshaw pulled by scantily clad models. King was brought in on a feather-adorned litter carried by bare-chested muscle-men as if it were Cleopatra being carried by slaves. As part of the pre-match show, Riggs presented King with a large Sugar Daddy lollipop with King returning in-kind with a squealing piglet, one of the symbols of male chauvinism.

What transpired was one of the more memorable sporting events of the 20th century. In front of a then-record tennis crowd of 30,472 at the Astrodome and a worldwide television audience of 90 million, Billie Jean King defeated Riggs in straight sets (6-4, 6-3, 6-3) to win the “Battle of the Sexes”. Goldin Auctions is proud to offer one of the rackets used by Bobby Riggs in the historic “Battle of the Sexes” match with Billie Jean King. According to the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club & Museum, Riggs used at least two rackets during the match and the one presented here is one of them! This racket is an AMF Head model with the upper right portion of the rounded head being damaged. The damage has affected the strings in terms of allignment, but they are all still intact. Please note that the damage to the racket shown occurred after the match with Billie Jean King and not during it. The racket comes mounted in a 23 ½ x 32 inch shadow box display.

This impressive display has a cream-colored backing with a black and white 8 x 10 inch photograph of a rally during the match in the upper left corner that has been signed in faded gold marker by King. A black plate below the photo has etched in gold “BOBBY RIGGS GAME-USED TENNIS RACQUET USED IN THE “BATTLE OF THE SEXES” BILLIE JEAN KING vs BOBBY RIGGS SEPTEMBER 20, 1973”. Below the plate is a handwritten letter Riggs wrote and autographed to Doug Dean, a long-time friend of Riggs who worked for him at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. The letter in black marker on a gray background reads “Doug I’m glad you have taken such good care of my tennis racket the one that I used and lost before 90 Million People around the world in 1973 – Bobby Riggs”. This magnificent historical piece comes with a LOA from JSA (Z53179), who have authenticated Riggs’ signature and inscription, along with the signature of Billie Jean King. Please note that as part of our research we contacted Doug Dean and he confirmed that he was personally handed this racket by Bobby Riggs.

Historic Bobby Riggs Match Used Racket From 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" Against Billie Jean King With Bobby Riggs Handwritten & Signed LOA In 24 x 32 Inch Shadow Box Display With King Signature(JSA)
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $26,400.00
Number Bids: 5
Auction closed on Sunday, February 18, 2018.
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