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Consigned by the son of the Canadian player who swiped it after the game

1936 Berlin Olympics Gold Medal Game Used Basketball. It was going to be a tough pill to swallow. For the first time in Olympic history, the game of basketball--a game invented by a Canadian!--would be contested as a medal sport, and the nation of Canada wouldn't participate. A Canadian champion had already been determined, a group of unknown hardcourt enthusiasts just across the border from Detroit called the Windsor Alumni, but the crushing grip of the Great Depression had left the athletes to fend for themselves. The government could offer no subsidy for travel to Berlin. But team founder Gordon Fuller was not one to take defeat lightly, reaching out to various business in the hopes of gaining sponsorship. In quick order, the Alumni were renamed the Windsor Ford V-8's, and passage to Berlin was provided by the Ford Motor Company.

Among these intrepid tourists was their team captain, a young player named Jimmy Stewart whose wife Mary accompanied him upon the eight-day Atlantic crossing on the Duchess of Bedford steamship. As the Olympic tournament progressed under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, the Canadians did the sport's founder proud, defeating Brazil, Poland, Switzerland, Uruguay and Latvia to set up a Final against their neighbors to the south. On a rain-soaked outdoor court, this unassuming leather sphere was presented for tip-off, and the battle against the United States began.

In the damp and dreary setting, it quickly became apparent that dribbling was a lost cause, the growing puddles deadening any attempted bounce of the ball. Thus the advantage swung to the American side, their greater height giving them superiority through the air. By the time the final whistle blew, the Canadian dreams had turned from Gold to Silver, the losing side of a nineteen to eight result. As the American side splashed through its celebration, the defeated captain Stewart snatched up the game ball and hustled it over to his young bride, instructing her to tuck it beneath the blanket that sheltered her against the cold. And from that day forward this ball has remained the only one from an American Gold Medal-winning basketball game that is not in American hands.

Perhaps one patriotic countryman will remedy this situation on February 23, as Heritage proudly presents the historic 1936 Gold Medal basketball to the collecting world for the first time. Similar in design and weight to a modern volleyball, this seminal artifact bears a "Berg" manufacturer's stamping on one hemisphere, and the hyphenated word "Basket-Ball" directly opposite. At the northern pole, an opening about the size of a quarter permits entry to the deflated bladder within. The ball nonetheless retains a reasonably spherical shape.

Beyond a notarized letter of provenance from the son of the Canadian team captain, the ball is further documented by a number of magazine and newspaper articles (photocopies supplied) recounting the tale and picturing the younger Stewart posing with it, as well as period images of his father with the Canadian team. Notarized letter of provenance from Jimmy Stewart, Jr. Periodical documentation as noted.

1936 Berlin Olympics Gold Medal Game Used Basketball.

*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.

Service and Handling Description: Balls, Pucks, etc., Large (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
February, 2013
23rd-24th Saturday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,885

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