1956 Olympics USA Basketball Memorabilia

Value (2015) | $8,000 Auction$15,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
We have a autographed basketball from the 1956 Olympics. My father was the trainer, and these are some of the stuff he brought back with him.

APPRAISER:
Your father was the trainer for the '56 Olympics.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
A great team. A gold medal-winning team.

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
Led by Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Here we have an original photograph of the team. Here's Bill Russell, and here's K.C. Jones.

GUEST:
Oh, that's K.C.? Ok.

APPRAISER:
Yep. And here's your dad right here-- the trainer. And this is pre-Celtic dynasty, before Russell joined the Celtics and created perhaps the greatest dynasty in all of sports. Here we have the original scorebook from Melbourne, Australia, 1956. Here we have it turned to the gold medal-winning game...

GUEST:
Yeah, the final game

APPRAISER:
of the U.S. vs. the USSR. Now, this team outscored their opponents by at least 30 points in every, single game they played. This is unheard of. They cruised to the gold medal, and we very, very rarely ever see scorebooks from the Olympics. How did this come into your dad's possession?

GUEST:
Well, there was one of the gentlemen that was involved in the team--

I think he was the assistant coach-- mailed it to him, and sent him a letter, and said, "Add this to your collection. "And thanks for all your help in making a successful Olympics."

APPRAISER:
Sort of a souvenir.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And I know we also have your dad's participation medal from the Olympics.

GUEST:
Yes, I think that's what this is.

APPRAISER:
And that's also a great piece, but the gem of the whole thing is this basketball. It looks brand-new.

GUEST:
Yeah. Well, it's been sitting in a closet in a plastic bag for 50 years.

APPRAISER:
It's amazing because, generally, when you see a basketball this age, it's crackling and, certainly if it's been autographed, the signatures are kind of worn off, but this looks like it was signed yesterday. And, of course, we have Bill Russell's signature here.

GUEST:
Right there at the top.

APPRAISER:
A very rare signature. He didn't like to sign, but, obviously, he... he liked your dad, and he…

GUEST:
I guess.

APPRAISER:
He signed a big, bold signature there. And then we have K.C.'s signature here and your dad's signature right there.

GUEST:
The whole team.

APPRAISER:
What an amazing ensemble. Very, very rare to find basketball memorabilia of this era. You've got Olympic collectors who would just go crazy for it. And, of course, basketball collectors. And then you've got the Celtic guys. As far as a collection, I would sell it as such. In an auction, I would estimate it at least $8,000 to $10,000.

GUEST:
Wow. That's a pretty good price, but it's never going there.

APPRAISER:
And you're talking about condition here with the ball, you're talking about rarity with the scorebook. If you were to insure it, I wouldn't insure it for anything less than $15,000.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
It's impossible to replace this. Great stuff.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Paddle8
New York, NY
Update (2015)
$8,000 Auction$15,000 Insurance
Appraised value (2006)
$8,000 Auction$15,000 Insurance
Event
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)
Period
20th Century
Material
Rubber

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