Overseas Bidders Flocked to Naismith Auction

The auction of personal effects from the inventor of basketball drew bidders from around the world, proving once again hoops is hot world-wide.

James Naismith, inventor of basketball Heritage Auction Galleries realized a new auction world record with the personal collection of Dr. James Naismith that closed last Friday. The company says it set the mark for the highest total ever realized for a single non-baseball sporting figure. The final tally reached $724,313, although after-auction sales are still ongoing and could push the total higher.

"We couldn’t be more pleased," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Memorabilia Auctions for Heritage Auction Galleries. "From the kindness and cooperation of Dr. Naismith’s family, to the intrigue of the material itself, to the enthusiasm of the bidders that participated, the entire process of hosting this auction was a pleasure."

Basketball memorabilia is popular around the world. "Two lots relating to early Chinese basketball exceeded pre-auction estimates by multiples, and proved to be among the most hotly contested bidding in the auction," Ivy said. "We also found a great deal of participation from those outside the sports collecting ranks, people who understand the Naismith Collection is a national treasure with an importance that transcends the sporting world."

"The biggest story of the event was the price of $71,700 realized for Dr. Naismith’s personal handwritten account of the first game, played in 1891," explained Ivy. "Clearly the bidding public understood that this was the most significant basketball document ever to reach the auction block."

A document archive including Dr. Naismith’s personal typed copy of the
original rules also caused a major stir among collectors, who elevated
the final bid price to $53,775.


  1. […] Many of James Naismith's memorabilia from his coaching and teaching days were sold six years ago.  The auction, conducted by Heritage Galleries,  generated or over $700,000 in the fall of that year. […]