There are guys with great sports memorabilia collections. Then there’s Joel Platt.
Housed inside its own museum in Florida, Platt’s all-encompassing, lifelong effort is staggering. Mind-boggling. Historic. You could use every superlative imaginable and you still wouldn’t have enough “oohs” and “aahs” to adequately and properly describe The Sports Immortals Collection in Boca Raton, FL. There are over one million items in all, many one-of-a-kind and many among the most valuable sports artifacts in the world.
Well known in the hobby, Platt’s enormous hoard of sports history awes visitors.
A real estate developer now in his late 70s, Platt has literally spent a lifetime gathering everything under the sun.
Never shy about working countless hours to set up meetings with some of the most famous names in 20th century athletics, Platt has admittedly been obsessed with acquiring rare pieces since he was a young boy.
It’s an obsession many longtime sports enthusiasts understand, but none can match. Platt says he’s traveled more than a million miles to gather new prizes for his collection. His efforts have been featured on network TV and in countless publications.
He’s met many of the athletes, from Muhammad Ali to George Mikan, obtaining items in person long before sports memorabilia auctions existed.
“I was fortunate to be able to corner the market on sports collectibles before they became valuable commodities,” he said recently.
Never limiting himself to just one or two sports or eras, Platt owns everything from Jim Brown’s retirement letter to the cap Gertrude Ederle wore in her swim across the English Channel decades ago. And yes, he owns a T206 Wagner card.
Heritage Auctions Vice President Rob Rosen calls the entire collection “second to none.
Platt’s entire collection has now been appraised at more than $150 million but would likely gather even more in the open market. He’s already sold some items in recent years but is now hoping to find a new home for it all, preferably so it can be maintained intact as an ode to the greats, available to the public as it is now.
You can read more about The Sports Immortals Museum and see some of Platt’s favorite items in this just-published story on the Intelligent Collector website.