While the name of John Kindler may be unfamiliar to all but the earliest football uniform collectors, the upcoming Heritage Signature Auction should shed some light on one of the best collections ever assembled.
Auction Director Chris Ivy calls it “the most significant single owner assembly” ever presented at a public sports memorabilia auction. Here’s the interesting part: Kindler died 20 years ago and his widow and son had no idea how valuable the jerseys had become.
When the Huntington Beach, CA man began collecting jerseys worn in games by Heisman Trophy winners and professional football players in the 1960s they didn’t have much financial value.
After he died in 1994, his widow, Carol, and their son, Ian, who now lives in Dallas, left the jerseys sealed in Tupperware bins in their home for 18 years and for the past two years unsuspectingly stored in the garage.
A recent evaluation by sports collectibles experts at Heritage Auctions estimated that the 250 historic jerseys of collegiate and professional Hall of Fame players are expected to sell for a combined total of $500,000 or more.
“It’s safe to say this is the most significant collection of its kind we’ve ever seen,” said Ivy. “It’s been 20 years since John Kindler left his family one of the most significant personal collections of game-worn football jerseys ever assembled, and it took that long for the Kindlers to come to terms with the notion of parting with it.”
“John Kindler was a pioneer in collecting game-used sports jerseys. Team equipment managers were often confused at his requests to obtain what they thought were merely dirty, old shirts,” explained Ivy.
Kindler’s widow, Carol, said: “The collection was John’s passion. He never anticipated selling it. He just wanted to collect memorabilia of what he considered the finest athletes in the sports he loved, mainly football and UCLA basketball.”
The collection is too big for one auction to hold, so Heritage plans to offer it in two separate auctions.
The first installment includes game-worn apparel from dozens of Heisman Trophy winners and Pro Football Hall of Famers, recalling what Ivy says is the “dawning era of the game used jersey hobby” when collectors operated within a network of equipment managers, coaches and players to acquire items for their collections.
Among the jerseys up for grabs are those bearing the college colors worn by Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker, Troy Aikman and Jim Plunkett and pro jerseys of Bob Griese, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Len Dawson, Ken Stabler, Ronnie Lott, Larry Csonka, Marcus Allen, Jim Otto and Steve Largent.
Nearly 3,400 lots are now open for bidding in one of the largest auctions in Heritage history, Nov. 6-8 online at HA.com.
Game-worn gear from Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Krause and two-time Super Bowl champions Ralph Neely and Lionel Aldridge are also part of a football-heavy auction.
The success of The Mike Eruzione Collection in Heritage’s February 2013 Platinum Night auction brought another “Miracle” man into the Heritage fold for this event, with 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team forward John Harrington consigning both jerseys he wore during the historic Lake Placid tournament.
The auction will likewise feature the largest assortment of championship jewelry in Heritage Auctions history, with more than 50 mementos of achievement at the highest levels of athletic competition.
Trading card collectors will find a group of more than 1,400 cards from the fabled T206 issue alone, as well as dozens of PSA and SGC-graded sets, high-grade stars and commons, along with some of the hobby’s most elusive rarities. Another grouping from the fabled “Black Swamp Find” of E98 caramel cards will tempt the condition-sensitive hobbyist, as well as a remarkable assembly of unopened wax packs and boxes.
A huge selection of boxing cards is highlighted by more than 400 Police Gazette supplements, a new find of E211 York Caramels and a near-complete library of early “E” sets and T218 Tolstoi backs. As a bonus, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s essential E90-1 appears twice, in Good and VG-EX condition.
Other highlights of this auction include: