Lot # 912: FINE 1880'S JOHN L. SULLIVAN PRESENTATIONAL WALKING STICK, SILK FLAG, AND CABINET PHOTOGRAPH

Category: Featured Items

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 6

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed




This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Winter Premier Auction 2017",
which ran from 1/4/2017 1:00 PM to
1/21/2017 8:00 PM



This is a grouping of items that belonged to or are associated with the first boxing World Champion, John L. Sullivan. The “Boston Strongboy” began his career as a bare-knuckle fighter, taking on any challenger brave enough to face him. From 1880 to 1905 Sullivan is reported to have fought 450 fights. His career straddled the bare-knuckle era of the “London Prize Ring Rules” and the gloved “Marquess of Queensberry Rules”. Sullivan was a veritable rockstar of his era, the public emulated his style and organizations feted him often. This lot is highlighted by a presentational walking stick, given to Sullivan by a secret Boston society named the “Pueblos”. The cane measures just shy of 38” and features a beautifully ornate gold head engraved with “J.L. Sullivan By His Irish Friends of the Pueblos, 1883”. The stick is in remarkably well-preserved condition with just light abrasions and wear visible. Accompanying the stick is a 36” x 36” silk 39 star American flag with various symbols including American eagles, an Irish harp and Sullivan’s initials “JLS”. A ribbon proclaims “May He Always Be Champion”. Advanced collectors attribute this flag to Sullivan’s 1888 fight against Charley Mitchell. The bout, held in Chantilly, France and billed as a “World Championship”, was halted after thirty-nine devastating rounds when both fighters lost so much blood they could not raise their arms to resume the fight. The flag is in very good condition considering its advanced age, and there is only slight staining visible at close quarters. A 4 1/4” x 6 1/2” cabinet of Sullivan tops off this bare-knuckle grouping. The photograph shows Sullivan in his Victorian best, complete with stove-pipe hat and polka-dotted vest. There are notations in pencil on the front and back of the photo and matte, none of which are in the fighter’s own hand. The matte shows edge wear with a horizontal crease but it displays very well. A superior grouping illustrating the career of the boxing’s first acknowledged World Champion.