This page was originally at http://www.clark.net:80/pub/rackets,
which is long since gone and represented an extensive private collection.
It appears that this collection was split up and sold to various sports
associations in the late 90's. ITTF, for instance has the Table Tennis pieces
For Immediate Release:
Sports Antiques and collectibles have become big business these days,
attracting major league
investors, cultural museums and passionate private collectors. Case in
point: the record high auction
price of USA $451,000 for a single Honus Wagner baseball card, now
co-owned by hockey legend
Wayne Gretzky. With Baseball and Golf prices going through the roof,
interest is growing in racket
sports, which enjoy worldwide popularity and Olympic Medal status.
Germany's TENNIS Magazine (October 1994)
featured one of the world's
finest and most prestigious antiquarian collections in a 9-page color
article. The Collection has received
accolades from Royalty, the Olympics,
Wimbledon, the Smithsonian
Institution and international journals. The Collection represents an
outstanding takeover opportunity, priced at
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for
Racket Sports Heritage
The Racket Sports Heritage Collection
renowned private Collection of rare racket sports antiques and art. The
Collection combines extensive technical coverage in the form of hundreds
of early rackets and equipment,
with a handsome and diverse selection of related art, prints, games and
The Collection contains four major sections:
View a representative selection of the Collection from
the Racket Sports Heritage Image Library.
- The Early Lawn Tennis Collection
- Unusual Racket-Motif Parlor Games
- Battledore & Shuttlecock Collection (Predecessor of Badminton)
- The Early Table Tennis Collection
Each section is endowed with superb historical gems,
some of which are the only known examples or are among the finest specimens extant.
Distinctive characteristics throughout the Collection include the
richness of leitmotifs (e.g., racket evolution, women, advertising,
games ...) and an emphasis on fine early quality, colorful graphics,
and evidence of social impact. Together these sections comprise one
of the most extensive and important sports collections in the world.
The Collection has been featured in international
television and major exhibits (Tokyo 1991, Philadelphia 1990 and l99l,
Baltimore l99O), and has been viewed by Royalty, diplomats, sports
personalities, researchers and historians. The Collection enjoys a special
relationship with the prestigious Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which
recently extended an invitation to exhibit parts of the Collection. In
1993 two important and related major works of stained glass art with
racket motif were discovered. Done in the aesthetic style of the
pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, one of these magnificent windows is now
featured at Wimbledon, while the companion window was acquired by the
Racket Sports Heritage Collection.
The Lawn Tennis Collection features a well developed
cross-section of original equipment and a diverse selection of related
art, advertising, and memorabilia which trace the early years of the sport.
One of the premier members of this section is the magnificent and very rare
Henry V Lawn Tennis racket. With its extreme asymmetrical lob, fine patina
and thick original gut, this is considered by many experts to be the finest
early Lawn Tennis racket extant. The reference to King Henry V recalls Wm.
Shakespeare's colorful allusion to the role of Tennis in provoking the famous
Battle of Agincourt in the year 1415.
Another prestigious part of this section is a fascinating group of 150 early
illustrated advertising cards and greeting cards from the l9th century,
providing strong evidence of the enormous social impact of Lawn Tennis. Many
of these charming cards are works of art in miniature, and will be exhibited
on loan to the prestigious Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum by special invitation.
Also featured in this section is a very rare group of early Lawn Tennis boxes
with lithographs of Tennis scenes and original equipment. One box
mid-1870's shows the short lived hourglass court and the service diamond,
which disappeared by 1875. Another includes a superb matched pair of extremely
rare wire strung rackets dated 1889. A
rare dual-purpose set of
Lawn Tennis and Badminton is also a distinctive gem in this section.
Other key pieces include:
- Rare matched pair of very early asymmetrical
flat-top rackets from the 1880's and many additional varieties
documenting racket evolution
- An original hand-written 2-page letter by legendary Bill Tilden,
sent from prison to his young protege containing both personal
and coaching advice
- Early original art, including a large 1886 charcoal still life,
a rare 1887 hand painted Lawn Tennis dinner invitation & menu,
and a fine selection of early lithographs,
other prints showing Tennis scenes and players in l9th century costume
- A rare 5-year continuous run (all 260 issues) of _Pastime_ the
first weekly magazine on Lawn Tennis & other sports, 1887 - 1891.
A remarkable treasure of illustrated advertising, early equipment
reviews, rules debates, Wimbledon coverage & tournament results.
- A fine group of pre-l900 illustrated catalogue pages showing
rackets offered by many sports equipment makers
- Several interesting old pieces from the Court Tennis era
- Other thematic Tennis motif pieces, including fine porcelains,
candy boxes, silver spoon, tournament medals, books ... original
balls and racket presses and other
- An extremely rare 24-racket press from a turn of the century Lawn
Tennis Club. The only other known example is featured at Wimbledon.
This is a fascinating and well-developed section
of early racket motif games, largely derived from variations of Lawn
Tennis. This esoteric area forms the basis of a special research
the findings recently published
under the title: "The Migration of Lawn Tennis to the Parlor - A History
of Early Indoor Racket Motif Games." The charming games in this
most of which can still be played today, are the result of the influence
of the tremendous popularity of Lawn
Tennis, combined with such factors as inclement weather, increased
leisure time after the transition from an agrarian society, and the
growth of many game manufacturers, especially in England and the USA.
Racket motif games began to appear in the early 1880's, and
they usually featured beautiful color lithography to enhance
their marketability. These were short lived and therefore
very rare now, until the celluloid ball was introduced into
a table version of Lawn Tennis.
Some of the more interesting examples include:
- Colorful board games from the 1880's
based on Lawn Tennis
- Card Tennis, New York 1887, featuring a large
group of beautiful playing cards
- Games played with rackets and balloon:
- "Balloon" New York 1889, with a superb
of cane rackets strung in spider web style
- "Pillow-Dex Tennis" with strung
to bat an odd-shaped balloon to and fro over
a net tied between two chairs in the parlor (1897). Superb boxlid color graphics with a 19th century parlor scene
- Several examples of handheld dexterity games
- Rare table versions of Tether ball
- Several examples of games based on Tiddledy
Winks, played on a felt miniature Tennis court
- A rare pre-electronics era Nintendo
game, a pinball style game with a Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck theme on
a tennis court with inclines
- Fine colorful puzzles with racket
- Early Paddle Tennis set; Dek Tennis quoit; sidewalk
version of Tennis; paddle & darts game ...
The Battledore & Shuttlecock section in world
renowned and truly outstanding, endowed with some magnificent and very
rare and unique gems. Most of the pieces in this section
date from the 1880's or earlier, and feature charming
depictions of children at play. Together these beautiful
antiques provide wonderful evidence of the great popularity
of the shuttlecock game, played free-form without a net.
Key pieces include:
- The Albert Joseph Moore stained glass
window, "Battledore" (1872; 4 1/2 feet tall, in wood frame).
One of the most important finds in this genre, the
visual effect changes with the lighting conditions.
The companion panel is featured at the Wimbledon
- An excellent 18th century original oil
painting; 3 1/2
foot tall full length portrait of a young boy
in elegant clothing, holding a sheepskin battledore
- Exquisite early strung rackets
trimmed in velvet, gold and frills, dating to the Napoleonic era
- A beautiful tapestry 5 feet in width
- Rare illustrated boxed sets of
Battledore & Shuttlecock
game; a superb group of early shuttlecocks
trimmed in velvet and leather
- Fine porcelain and glass pieces, including a fine
1883 Wedgewood pitcher, a lovely vase statue an early HOME | IMAGES | ACCOLADES | TAKEOVER
This important section of the Collection is particularly
outstanding, with comprehensive depth and breadth of
coverage. Many of these antique are especially rare,
as most date from the brief 2 to 3 year period when the
game was popularized at the turn of the last century.
The Collection also includes some earlier transition
pieces and rare variations on a theme.
This section is endowed with many superb early
boxed sets, complete with original fine
rackets, balls and net, and beautifully decorated with delightful color lithographs showing men, women and children in
period costume and active play.
Another strong feature of this section is an extensive group of early rackets
of amazing variety and style. A complete evolution
is demonstrated, from very rare small strung rackets,
to sheepskin vellum & parchment style
battledores with handles of varying length, to short handled bats with
many different types of surfaces.
Other key pieces includes:
- The very rare first game called "Table Tennis"
a board and dice game dated 1884
- Several exquisite pieces of delicate porcelain
with Table Tennis motif, by Royal Bayreuth
- Sets with experimental and short lived names for
the game: Royal Game, Whiff Waff, Parlour Tennis,
Gossima, Pom-Pom, and of course Ping-Pong
- A very rare boxed set of "Pouch Ball" which has
cloth pouches attached to the net
- A handsome and colorful group of over 100 picture
postcards; a large selection of the earliest
prints ; early sheet music entitled 'Ping-Pong';
early jigsaw puzzle; Ping-Pong fan; extensive
philatelic collection ...
- A fantastic group of 15 tournament medals won by
legendary Victor Barna, holder of an unprecedented
22 World Titles, including 5 Men's Singles titles
- A superb wood bat with original pen & ink sketch of
the famous "Gibson Girl", signed and dated 1901