He won the 1963 U.S. Open Men’s Singles championship—a first for any Mexican tennis player. Six years later, Rafael Osuna was dead.
Now, that trophy and several other important pieces from his remarkable career have come onto the sports memorabilia market for the first time.
The collection features six of Osuna’s Wimbledon and US Open Trophies during his climb to the #1 World Ranking from 1960-1963. Nicknamed “El Pelón” (The Bald), Osuna was a former world No. 1 tennis player, the most successful player in the history of Mexico and an Olympian.
When Mexican Airways Flight 704 crashed into the mountains near Monterrey on June 4, 1969, it claimed the lives of 79 people including Osuna, one of the greatest players of his era and a national hero in Mexico. Several years after Osuna’s victories, during the 1969 US Open Championships at Forest Hills, two months after his death, the US Open Committee declared August 28 to be Rafael Osuna Day, honoring the memory of the former champion– the first time the tournament had honored a tennis player in such a manner. He participated in tennis at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City when it was a demonstration sport and was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979.
In addition to the ’63 U.S. Open title, Osuna was part of the 1960 and 1963 Wimbledon Doubles championship team, won the 1962 U.S. Open Championships doubles tournament and led Mexico to its only Davis Cup Final round appearance in 1962.
The trophy collection comes directly to Goldin Auctions from Mexico where it was purchased from a family member of Osuna. It’s the first time they have been offered for public sale.
The awards offered in the sale include his 1960 Wimbledon Doubles Winners Sterling Silver Trophy, 1961 US Open Doubles Runners-Up, 1962 US Open Doubles Champion, 1963 US Open Men’s Singles (His Only Individual Grand Slam Victory), 1963 US Open Doubles Runner-Up, and 1963 Wimbledon Doubles Winner’s Award.
The total collection is estimated to bring in an excess of $200,000.
Bidding continues through February 22 at GoldinAuctions.com.