In early 2005, an item popped up on Ebay that caught my interest. It was a single panel basketball advertisement piece from the 1920s. Winchester only made basketball items from approximately 1922-1927, so these items can be quite expensive. Needless to say, I did not acquire that item. Later that same year, another vintage basketball collector showed me an image of his restored 3-panel Winchester advertising piece. At that point, I realized that the original panel I had seen was part of a larger piece.
Finally, on February 4, 2006, I was sent an image of the most incredible item I had ever seen - the complete 5-panel Winchester basketball advertising piece. That's right - not one, not three, but 5 panels! I was able to determine the source of the purchase was a gentleman in eastern Oklahoma - the leading expert and collector of Winchester memorabilia in the country. I made contact and determined that he actually had another example of this great item - the best one remained in his personal collection. At that time, he was not selling his personal collection.
Starting in 2006, I began to periodically check in with the owner. I also would monitor his website for any changes. Finally, in the fall of 2011, I noticed a note at the top of his website - he was selling his collection. I called him and hammered out a deal. In 2012, my oldest son and I drove to eastern Oklahoma to acquire the very best advertising piece in the history of basketball! It was a 6 year venture - completely worth my time!
A special thank you goes out to Tim M. for helping me acquire this spectacular item.
Instead of boring you with every detail on how I came to collect what we refer to as vintage basketball, I'll share a few key important milestones in my collecting life.
In college, I came to the realization that it didn't make much sense to collect baseball cards if my favorite sport was actually basketball. It also didn't make sense to collect anything where the primary focus was more on a monetary value rather than a simple appreciation of the item. So long story short, I went to a dealer and sold my childhood baseball collection. I've never missed those cards.
There are many things that have shaped my basketball collecting career - attending to a Seattle card show in late 1989; visiting to an antique store in 1995 and discovering my first Chip Hilton basketball book written by Clair Bee; finding Ebay in 1997 and the incredible range of basketball items that are available to collect, and eventually meeting the circle of "super-collectors focused on this hobby.
What I have learned over the years about vintage basketball collecting is that I never want to collect something I can buy any day for the rest of my life. Rather, I want to collect items that are rare; items that are tough to find, that might require an extensive search to locate, and that are worthy of discussion. I want items that have special meaning to me, and that in many cases have historical significance in the sport of basketball. I don't want items that are mainstream and common. I want items that show the beauty of the greatest sport ever invented - basketball.
In my opinion, the term vintage basketball refers to items from the period from December 21, 1891 until around 1970. On occasion, I might include something on this site from the 1970's simply because it is a rarity. However, my collecting tastes definitely focus on pre-1940 material.
This site will be a work in progress. I will do my best to educate people on the different items in our hobby. I will attempt to be as accurate as possible and plan to eventually have a feedback mechanism so you can help me provide correct information. For now, just be patient. Images of my collection will eventually be displayed. The website is still being adjusted. I hope that I can provide something that you will all find enjoyable.