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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/4/2016

      John Lawrence Sullivan was the first Heavyweight Champion of gloved boxing, holding the title for 10 years. He is generally recognized as the last heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle boxing. While no official World Heavyweight Champion designation existed for some time, Sullivan was first considered world heavyweight champion in 1889 when he knocked out Jake Kilrain in round 75 of a scheduled 80-round bout. The 75th round!

      A few years before this, noted sportsman William Bennett of New York had made the Champ this 36.5 inch walking cane. At this time in America, walking canes were an accessory, not necessarily needed for walking help. However, after fighting 75 round boxing matches, I am confident these guys didn’t bound out of bed the next morning! The black wooden cane, likely hickory, has an exquisitely ornate engraved 14 karat gold knob which has “John L. Sullivan from his friend William Bennett 1885” surrounding a single diamond stud. The gesture was even recorded in the Jan. 23, 1886, edition of The National Police Gazette in the New York “Sporting Goods” section with the following write-up: “Wm. Bennett, the well-known Sixth avenue sporting man, has presented John L. Sullivan with a handsome cane studded with diamonds.” Bennett was an early financial promoter of boxing and was known to bankroll Sullivan's career….a virtual Don King of his time.

      The bottom of the cane has a metal cap but the bottom third of this cane is cracked with tape holding the piece together. According to reports, Sullivan was known to employ a cane either to fend off unwanted media attention as he walked around town and to clear a path on the crowded streets of New York City. Whacking an unwanted reporter is likely how this cane became cracked. Despite being cracked, if you needed, this cane is still as sturdy for use today as it was over 130 years ago. This is a tremendous personal item from Heavyweight boxing first official champion. According to prior published information, the gold knob and diamond have been inspected by a Swiss jewelry expert who confirmed the gold and diamond both originated from the late 1800s.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $4,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $12,000.00
Estimate: $20,000+
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Sunday, August 14, 2016.
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