Winter 2020 Catalog Auction Ending Feb 22
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/23/2020

Take a trip back to the days when basketball was two words, not one, and the still-developing sport was played in gymnasiums, not arenas.  And one of the biggest names in sporting goods wasn’t Nike or Under Armour, but – Winchester. Yes, the rifle guys. 

Oliver Fisher Winchester was born in Boston in 1810, and his initial foray into business was as a maker of men’s shirts. Seeing the economic potential of the fast-growing firearms industry, Winchester began to assemble investors and secure venture capital, and in 1857 bought a controlling interest in the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company from two inventive gentlemen named Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson. Winchester continued to refine firearm designs with inventors Benjamin Tyler Henry and Nelson King, and on May 22, 1866, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was born. Because of the reputation of the Winchester brand, it’s association with hunting, and its impressive distribution channels across the United States, the company “extended” their brand into “sporting goods” like baseball gloves and uniforms, boxing gloves and equipment, and in the early 20th Century, the growing sport of “basket ball.” In fact, by 1919, Winchester-branded consumer products including pocketknives, hand tools, flashlights, home appliances, roller skates and fishing reels are sold at Winchester stores and independent retailers.

Presented is a pristine example of an early Winchester Sporting Goods merchandise campaign, a five-panel window display for basketball, intended for use by Winchester dealers during the “week of January 25 to January 31,” presumably in the early 1920s. Each of the five 18 x 40-inch cardstock panels is printed in full-color, with illustrations of Winchester products in the first and fifth panel, and an illustration of a basketball game in progress in panels two, three and four. The five panels are accompanied by a 10½ x 12½-inch white paper sheet with instructions for their use and an illustration of how the display should be assembled; each of the panels has a small number, 1 to 5, in the upper left corner. Each of the panels also has the “Winchester” trademark name in red across the top.

The first panel has the headline “Gymnasium Supplies” in black above an illustration for item #3804, “Boxing Gloves” and an illustration for item #3842, “Striking Bag” at the bottom, against a light green background. The second panel has an illustration of a young man in an orange and black tank top, short pants with a black belt in the act of passing the basketball, with a young man working out with the “striking bag” in the background. The third panel has the man’s hands “passing” the Winchester Official Intercollegiate Basket Ball which is depicted in mid-air, with a gym floor depicted over two-thirds of the illustration. The fourth panel depicts two young men in two different uniforms going up for the pass in front of the basketball hoop, a white net attached to a brown wood board over their heads. The fifth panel has the headline “Basket Ball Equipment” with illustrations of item #3191, “Knee Pads,” item #3661, “Basket Ball Bladder”, and item #3155, “Basket Ball Pants” against a light green background.

The five-panel window display is an evocative item representing the early history of basketball, and its growth from its invention by James Naismith in 1891 as an indoor sport to keep athletes in shape during the winter. The growth of the game began in colleges such as the competition suggested in this five-panel display, growing to become one of the most popular sports in the world throughout the last century. It’s also an interesting window to the history of the sports equipment industry before the rise of Nike, adidas, Under Armour and other popular brands of the current day.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,520.00
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Sunday, February 23, 2020.
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