March 15, 2011
They're likely to cost a whole truckload of pretty pennies, sure. But if you're swimming in shekels and looking for new conversation pieces at Stately Your House Manor, you'll soon have the opportunity to bid on some legendary swag that once belonged to Boston Celtics patriarch, Hall of Fame coach and basketball icon Arnold "Red" Auerbach.
Starting next month, SCP Auctions will put basketball memorabilia of Hall of Fame coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach on the block in three Internet auctions. Items include Auerbach's 1968 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ring; his Boston Celtics championship rings from 1962, 1974, 1976 and 1981; his first contract to coach the Celtics signed by Auerbach and team owner Walter Brown in 1950; his 1957 Celtics satin warm-up jacket; and his 1,000th career win trophy presented to him on Feb. 13, 1966 at Boston Garden and several humidors from the cigar-loving coach's collection.
SCP expects to raise at least $500,000 for Auerbach's family from a three-part online sale of about 500 mementos from the team's longtime coach and top executive.
"We're conducting the sale on behalf of Auerbach's family," said Dan Imler of SCP Auctions. "They retained certain pieces, but there is quite a lot, and rather than keeping it in storage, they have decided to make it available to fans and collectors through this sale."
The Herald has a slideshow of images showcasing some of the items that'll be up for bid in the auctions, including a basketball autographed by the likes of Celtics legends Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones and Tom Heinsohn, and an amazing statue of a leprechaun spinning a ball that once sat behind the desk in Auerbach's Boston Garden office. It looks sort of like Jack Skellington playing pickup after taking a trip to Saintpatricksdaytown. It's pretty great.
On one hand, it would be wonderful to see this amazing collection of Auerbach's professional effects enshrined alongside their former owner at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., offering future fans both more cool stuff to look at and a fuller narrative of the epic figure Red cut in the sport from the time he joined the Celtics in 1950 through his death in 2006. Yes, the NBA is about as instant a game as we have in popular sports, but history still matters, and few have mattered more to the history of the game than Red Auerbach.
On the other, though, Auerbach's place in the game's collective institutional memory has long since been assured. He's already memorialized in the Hall, and when you consider the longevity of his career and just how much history he actually participated in, 500 pieces of memorabilia is probably the rough equivalent of you or me cleaning out our garages when all the good stuff's already in the den. And even if this did represent a larger chunk of Red's mementos than that, $500,000 is nothing to sneeze at and his family has every right to do whatever they see fit with the items.
Imler of SCP Auctions told the Herald that the first part of the auction will run from April 15 through 30, with more items going up for sale in July and in the fall, so get your paddles ready, gang. And you'd better move some funds around if you want that leprechaun statue — I'm prepared to go as high as two months' blogging salary for it, and I doubt you have a disposable $36 just lying around.
A doff of the cap to ShareBro Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog.