Summer Premier Auction 2019

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/28/2019

The “Original Celtics” were the world’s greatest professional basketball team in the early part of the twentieth century. No relation to the Boston Celtics, they were primarily a barnstorming squad formed out of the disbanded New York Celtics following WW1, although they did spend time in the America’s three struggling pro leagues -- EBL (1921-22), MBL (1922-23) and ABL (1926-30) -- where they won three titles. The juggernaut group of roundball junkies would travel nearly 150,000 miles a year playing a 150-200 game schedule. Led by such pioneers as Dutch Dehnert, Nat Holman and Joe Lapchick, John Beckman, Pete Barry, Nat Hickey and Davey Banks, the Original Celtics won an estimated 90% of their games during their 20+ years of existence. They were too good, in fact, and were essentially blackballed and dismantled by the ABL, sending them back on the road to barnstorm by the early 1930s.

Joe Lapchick is widely considered his era's most dominant center. In 1928, he and three other Original Celtics joined the Cleveland Rosenblums owned by department store magnate, Max Rosenblum, who then named the team after himself. The "Rosenblum Celtics" won two straight ABL titles before the league folded. Any signature from one of the "Original Celtics" is virtually extinct, so this offered Christmas greeting card signed by Lapchick, one of the team's greatest players, is an absolute treat for early autograph collectors. On delicate cellophane paper (3-7/8" by 7-1/4"), the starting five of Rosenblum's Original Celtics are pictured with a cheesy Christmas rhyme followed by Lapchick's autograph in amazingly sharp 8/10 blue ink at the bottom. The same five player images with names underneath appear on a team-logoed envelope postmarked December 22, 1931 from Cleveland, OH, made out to someone in Union City, NY. The "Original Celtics" were inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a team in 1959, but only Lapchick and Dehnert from this particular five were elected individually as players. Includes LOA from PSA/DNA.

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $726
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
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