Not all sports collectibles are cardboard or baseball-related. They are not always small, either.
A case in point is an unusual item available from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
For $500, plus a maximum shipping charge of $150, the dedicated basketball fan can own one of the "windows" that once hung in the Hall of Fame's Honors Court.
There were 140 "windows" in the original Hall of Fame, one for each inductee. When the Hall of Fame moved to its present quarters in 1985, its new Honors Court did not have windows. The honorees have 12-inch silver medallions with relief busts and action photos instead.
These windows resemble stained glass, although they are colored plastic with wood frames. The average size is 9 feet, 10 inches high, 18 inches wide and 1 1/4 inches thick. Each window is obelisk-shaped, with a "stained-glass" upper part, the honoree's name and life dates, a head shot encircled in yellow (on a second stained-glass panel), a blurb on the person's accomplishments and more stained glass.
The windows were first offered to the honorees and their families. If they showed no interest, they were then offered to the person's college or other affiliation. The windows that remained were offered to the general public.
Three windows are priced at $1,000 (plus shipping) because they are refurbished. According to curator Michael W. Brooslin, that means they have been cleaned and framed in wood. "It doesn't look like someone just ripped it out of the exhibit." Those that are refurbished had originally been spoken for, but the institution or individual never purchased it. That caused the Hall of Fame to change its policy on reserving the windows; payment in full is required.
Don't expect to find James Naismith, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, John Wooden or Frank McGuire for sale. But windows with familiar names remain: former Kansas coach Forrest "Phog" Allen (a $1,000 window), one-time National Basketball Association commissioner J. Walter Kennedy, college basketball promoter extraordinaire Ned Irish and seven-time All-NBA guard and defensive specialist Slater Martin, who was also an All-American at Texas. Most of the other windows available are those of people associated with the formative years of the sport, household names only to the most dedicated basketball junkies.
"Most have been purchased by colleges," Brooslin says. "The [newly opened] Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame took seven." RTC Some were purchased by wives and children of inductees. "Few are in collectors' hands."
To be (probably) the first on your block with a Hall of Fame window, contact Brooslin at (413) 781-6500 to reserve the window of your choice. It will be reserved for 10 business days, by which time your check for the price of the window (plus $150 shipping) must be received. Excess shipping charges will be refunded.
Jeff's Dugout in the Chatham Mall is reopening Friday with a slightly new name -- The Dugout -- and a new owner -- Rick Hubata. The telephone number remains 461-8664.
The new mail-order catalog of the Baseball Hall of Fame is out. Among the collectibles available are a pin honoring 1990 inductees Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan, reproduction Federal League caps (no Baltimore Terrapins), reproduction Negro League jerseys and caps (no Baltimore Elite Giants or Baltimore Black Sox), a limited edition sterling silver baseball, limited edition commemorative bats, T-shirts and sweatshirts. To get a copy of the catalog, write: National Baseball Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 590A, Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326. . . . A stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope will get you the mail-order catalogs of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1150 W. Columbus Ave., P.O. Box 179, Springfield, Mass. 01101-0179) and the National Bowling Hall of Fame (111 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, Mo. 63102).
Denny Eckes, a pioneer in modern baseball-card collecting, died last week. Eckes, who ran Den's Collectors Den in Laurel, published the first baseball-card price guide. The "Sports America Baseball Card Price Guide," which he wrote with James Beckett, was 220 pages and appeared in February 1979. Beckett now publishes the guide, which is in its 13th edition and runs 816 pages. . . . A 1952 Andy Pafko card, the most valuable card given away to date, has been won by an East Meadow, N.Y., collector. Topps lists its value at $1,200. The 1952 Mickey Mantle card has not yet been claimed in the card maker's 40th anniversary promotion.
Today, baseball card show, Martin's Ballroom-North Point, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, baseball card show, Airport Comfort Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8892.
Sunday, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
May 5, baseball card show, Martin's Ballroom Westminster, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
May 5, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May 11, baseball card show, Maryland National Guard Armory, Parkville, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 494-9590.