Naismith Basketball Memorabilia Auction Closes

The second session of Heritage Galleries’ James Naismith auction included the sale of manuscripts and notes on the game he created.

One look at the items found in the now-famous five boxes of personal effects from basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith and you’ll know the doc was a prolific letter writer. Much of the correspondence was up for bid in the second auction session conducted by Heritage on Friday.

However, it was a few of Naismith’s manuscripts that generated most of the interest in the internet-only sale. A completed draft of a book, tied together with a shoelace, sold for $38,837 including the 19.5% buyer’s premium. The book was eventually published after Naismith’s death.

Another typed manuscript with notes detailing the origin of basketball sold for over $22,000. Several letters written by Naismith, many to his wife, went unsold and are available on the company’s website.

The first half of the auction, conducted live December 8, saw the sale of 24 items totalling nearly $300,000. The items were found, and consigned by Helen Carpenter, granddaughter of the late inventor of basketball.

One archivist living in Carpenter’s home city of St. Louis was disappointed with her decision to sell the items.