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    Jack Dempsey "Sack Of Shelby" Sterling Silver Bowl Jack Dempsey successfully defended his World Heavyweight Title on July 4, 1923, winning a 15 round decision over Tommy Gibbons in Shelby, Montana. Shelby was a "boomtown" in 1923, the result of an oil strike the year prior. Still, it was a relatively small town that some of the local businessmen and state officials wanted to bring more attention to. With this thought in mind they pursued Dempsey and his manager "Doc" Kearns with the hopes of staging a Heavyweight Championship bout. Dempsey was a huge attraction on the heels of his victories over Willard and Carpentier and townsmen reasoned that his presence would put Shelby on the map. Kearns insisted on a $300,000 guarantee and got an upfront payment of $100,000. The second payment was more difficult. Rumors had begun to circulate that the fight was a hoax, which hurt ticket sales and made advance loans difficult, but an arrangement were made and the fight was staged. The third payment was agreed to come off the top of the paying gate at the arena. When the rail lines refused to set up special trains to transport fans to the fight because of the hoax rumors the fight was doomed. Only a little over 7,000 attended and the paid receipts did not reach $100,000. Many of the locals congregated on a hill behind the arena and watched the fight for free. Gibbons had agreed on a percentage of the profits which were never realized, so he fought for free. Dempsey and Kearns got most of their money, but had to flee the town to avoid the wrath of the locals. Three banks failed shortly after the fight. Dempsey and his crafty manager were the only two to make anything from the fight, which literally bankrupted the town. Presented here is a wonderful commemorative from this fight. It is a sterling silver bowl presented to Jack Dempsey (before the fight) as a measure of thanks for coming. It was given to Dempsey by the Mayor of Shelby, a character in his own right, who had offered Kearns 50,000 head of sheep in lieu of the second $100,000 payment. Kearns, now staying in New York, refused the offer while wondering what one might do with sheep in New York. This bowl is 14" long and 3" high formed in the shape of an oval. Inscribed inside it reads, "Presented To Jack Dempsey World's Heavyweight Champion From Jim Johnson Mayor Shelby, Montana July 4, 1923." The bowl has some small dents. The inscription was engraved by hand and is bold and readable. Offered here is a truly outstanding commemorative from one of the most controversial events in boxing history. LOA from Craig Hamilton/ JO Sports.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2004
    10th-11th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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