One of the top privately held sports memorabilia collections is going mobile.
Premier Exhibitions, Inc. has entered into an exclusive long-term licensing agreement to present "Sports Immortals), The Traveling Exhibition."
Containing over one million mementos, Sports Immortals is a large and extensive rare sports collection with artifacts ranging from Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians football jersey, Thorpe’s Olympic scrapbook from 1912, Bronko Nagurski’s last hlmet, a Babe Ruth game used bat, a Michael Jordan rookie year game worn jersey, Lou Gehrig signed baseball, boxing gloves signed by dozens of champions dating back to Jack Johnson, and a "T206" Honus Wagner Card among others.
The collection belongs to long-time hobbyist Joel Platt. Injured in a gasoline explosion at the age of four, Platt’s parents bought baseball cards to help entertain him during the long days of recovery. Since then, Platt has spent six decades curating sports mementos that would be the nucleus for the development of Sport Immortals Projects.
The famous collection has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institute as "absolutely the most outstanding single collection of all sports. . . " Leland’s Auction House has called it "The finest sports collection in the world … bar none." And former U.S. Senator, Bill Bradley, called it "A great, great, great great collection."
The collection includes important artifacts from the worlds of baseball, football, basketball, boxing, hockey, tennis, golf, the Olympic games, etc. Premier is planning to simultaneously tour multiple versions of "Sports Immortals, The Traveling Exhibition" throughout North America.
"We are honored to be associated with Joel Platt and admire his inspirational journey starting as a young man on his quest to assemble the greatest of all sports collections," said Bruce Eskowitz, President and CEO of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. "This is the most exceptional group of sports artifacts ever witnessed and we look forward to presenting the history of these immortals in a compelling and entertaining environment."
"Sports Immortals is a ‘must see’ exhibition that takes visitors on a journey through sports history — honoring the pinnacle of athletic achievement — from the earliest record of sports to the contemporary heroes of today," said Joel Platt, Founder of Sports Immortals of Boca Raton, Florida. "Partnering with Premier Exhibitions to enhance my collection is the first step in the manifestation of my dream to perpetuate the memories of the world’s greatest athletes and to inspire a willingness in visitors from all over the world to strive for maximum effort in their own life endeavors."
The first engagement of "Sports Immortals, The Traveling Exhibition" will open in 2008.
Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is a major provider of museum quality touring exhibitions throughout the world.
For an ESPN The Magazine story on Platt’s collection, click here.
There’s also a book on the collection and the stories behind the athletes: