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Arthur Ashe Auction Includes Trophies, Notes, Diaries, Tennis Gear

Trophies, equipment and extremely personal items from the life of the late Arthur Ashe are up for auction.  Hundreds of items once used or received by the tennis great who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992 are being sold in a large catalog auction being conducted by Nate D. Sanders.

The close of the auction on Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of his death.   A portion of the sale will benefit the Arthur Ashe Learning Center (www.arthurashe.org), a non-profit organization that promotes  Ashe’s legacy of scholarship, sports, health, wellness and service.

Ashe was the first black player ever selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only African-American man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. Among the world’s best players from the late 1960s through much of the 70s, he retired from the pro tour in 1980.

Items at auction encompass every part of Ashe’s historic life and career, intertwining his race-shattering tennis record with his sweeping impact in both civil rights and AIDS research. Ashe was also a scholar, having authored seven books in his lifetime, and his manuscripts in this auction reveal his extremely thoughtful approach to difficult social issues.

“Arthur Ashe’s life and career is really about the highest highs and lowest lows,” said Sanders.  “As the first African-Magic Johnson AIDS declaration Arthur AsheAmerican to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, he rose to the very pinnacle of success in tennis and, in the process, willingly became ambassador to the next generation of black athletes.  Ashe’s career was shortened by heart disease and he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion after heart surgery.  This was just before the medical community began checking the blood supply.  But, never defeated by his health challenges, Ashe continued his impassioned social advocacy and scholarly pursuits right up until his death.”

Among the items up for bid:

  •  Diaries and personal notes for the years 1972-1993, including the year he won Wimbledon & from 1993, the last year of his life
  • His 1970s Passport, with the historic entry stamp to play tennis in apartheid-South Africa
  •  Hundreds of trophies from his career, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, Davis Cup & his prestigious Sportsman of the Year Award from Sports Illustrated
  • Handwritten speeches on black athleticism, civil rights & AIDS
  • Hundreds of personal items including clothing, Davis Cup jackets & his UCLA letter sweater

The auction is currently online at NateDSanders.com.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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