A Philadelphia Warriors uniform worn by Wilt Chamberlain during his 1959-60 rookie season will be going on the auction block later this fall. SCP Auctions showed off the jersey and trunks at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago this week. Originating in Chamberlain’s own collection, the uniform has been in the hands of a private collector for many years, according to president David Kohler, who believes it could set an auction record for game-worn NBA memorabilia.
“It really is arguably the finest basketball jersey extant,” Kohler told Sports Collectors Daily. “This uniform was in Chamberlain’s house back in the early 1970s. It’s a home uniform, photo-matched in many images we’ve found. It originated in Wilt’s collection and includes the trunks. It’s just an incredible piece.”
In December of 2013, SCP Auctions sold a late 1960s Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers gamer for $60,667 but a rookie jersey would likely far surpass that total.
Chamberlain averaged a remarkable 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game in his first NBA campaign, leading Philadelphia to the second round of the NBA playoffs.
SCP’s display included two photographs of Chamberlain unmistakably wearing the same white number 13 jersey. The thin tank top, size 40, bears dated stitching and the satin trunks, which actually date to a year earlier but were likely handed down to the Hall of Fame center, have the proper tagging.
“The number ‘1’ on the front is a little tilted on this particular jersey to where it touches the blue and red stitching on the stripe and you see that in many of the photos we’ve found online and elsewhere. Back then, they didn’t pay that much attention to those types of things and it just adds to the provenance.”
“We even have a photo of Wilt wearing this jersey in his last game of his rookie season, in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, a series they lost. The photo shows Wilt and Russell squaring off and he’s wearing this uniform.”
“We feel it warrants that. Interest in game-worn and game-used basketball items is at an all-time high and so we have high hopes for this. A lot of people are already talking about it on the floor of the National.”
The Chamberlain jersey is scheduled to appear in SCP’s final catalog auction of the year, sometime in November.