A True Sports Fan
I grew up as a New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers, and Boston Bruins fan in northern New Jersey during the 1970’s. While arriving on the scene too late to see Mickey Mantle play, my choice of favorite teams during that time period did allow me to see many of the great sports legends of that era.
As a young boy, I had a deep love of playing baseball and football, but unfortunately, lacked one essential element that is required to play competitive sports – ability. So with my heart still very much in the game, I turned to the next best things – collecting sports cards and watching the games on TV. Eventually amassing a sports card collection encompassing over 100,000 cards, and knowledge of sports history that went well beyond what most kids and adults possessed, I decided to take my hobby to the next level, and began to include sports memorabilia into my collections.
Gradually, the value of the items I sought began to eclipse my available cash, and I had to resort to selling some cherished possessions in order to obtain others. And so began a steady stream that was to last for years, of items coming in and items going out in rapid succession, all the while resulting in the steady increase in value and scope of my overall collection.
In the course of this progression, I started to frame some of the pieces in my collection. I carefully and painstakingly assembled items of a common theme, such as tickets, photos, authenticated autographs, and other assorted artifacts. These would then be arranged in an understandable layout, and explanatory engraved metal plaques would be added, just as one would find in a museum exhibit. Then, with the event being depicted now complete and safely behind glass, I would start on the next display.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for me, as Sotheby’s, the legendary auction house that originated in England and now with a major facility in New York City, had begun holding auctions of fine sports memorabilia. I phoned Sotheby’s, and found myself trying to convince the Director of Consignments that my display, a framed tribute to Roger Maris surpassing Babe Ruth’s single season home run record, would be worth more than the 10,000 minimum dollar amount Sotheby’s required to accept an item for their auction. After considerable pleading,
Sotheby’s reluctantly accepted the display, which contained authenticated signatures of Ruth and Maris, photos of Ruth hitting his 60th home run in 1927, Maris hitting his 61st home run in 1961, and a photo of Maris visiting Ruth’s plaque in the Monument Park section of Yankee Stadium during the 1961 season, tickets to Maris’ 60th and 61st home run games, and most amazingly, a ticket to Ruth’s 60th home run game.
The display sold for $17,000. So, when the time came for Sotheby’s to schedule their next sports memorabilia auction, I didn’t need to call Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s called me.
And so began a relationship that saw more than a dozen of my works sold through one of the world’s most famous auction houses.
I honestly can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have a project to work on. I feel very fortunate in that, unlike so many people out there, I truly enjoy all the work that I do. When I look back and consider the very humble beginnings that I started from and how fortunate I’ve been, I realize that, if you work hard enough, your dreams really can become your reality.
In addition to being a historical artist, I am also an elementary school teacher, as well as a part-
In addition to my work, I have been married for more than 20 years and have two wonderful children, one of which will be my student in class this year, and one of which that already was.
Not only do I have the special gift of being a father but I also have been given the gift to teach them in school. How many fathers get to spend that kind of quality time with their kids?