Posts Tagged ‘auction’

Film Footage of Jim Thorpe

May 12, 2009

Recently, a friend and I bemoaned the lack of film footage of Jim Thorpe. We conjectured that footage of the 1912 Stockholm Olympics must exist somewhere. Then I stumbled across an article about an auction of articles related to the great Thorpe. In an article titled “Jim Thorpe Mementoes in Demand at Sports Immortals Sale,” Rosemary McKittrick wrote about an auction conducted jointly by Guernsey and Hunt. Apparently, the auction was held last October in Atlantic, NJ. The source of the memorabilia wasn’t clear from the article. However, she used “Sports Immortals” in the article’s title, so these items may have come from their collection. The item that caught my eye was “Film and footage; Thorpe playing for the Canton Bulldogs; rare, early glimpse of Thorpe in action on football field; $1,155.” I don’t know if these items sold for the amounts listed or if they were just the auctioneer’s projections. As pleased as I was to discover that footage of Jim Thorpe still exists, it wasn’t of the Olympics. Oh well. list a 1996 made-for-TV documentary, “100 Years of Olympic Glory,” directed by Bud Greenspan. The film includes archive footage of Jim Thorpe with King Gustav at the 1912 Olympics. Now to find a copy of that video.

A further look at uncovered a listing titled “The Giants-White Sox Tour.” The 1913 World Series was filmed. Perhaps that action prompted Jim Thorpe to sell the movie rights to his marriage to Iva Miller in Carlisle. Immediately after their wedding, the Thorpes joined the New York Giants for their around-the-world-tour with the Chicago White Sox. This film documented that tour. Perhaps it includes footage of the wedding. I can hope. Now to find a copy of it this, the first full-length documentary. also lists archival footage of Jim Thorpe appearing in “Idols of the Game,” a 1995 video hosted by Dabney Coleman. That gives me three films to look for.

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe Auction Update

May 20, 2008

I called Bob Wheeler to let him know about the auction mentioned last week. Although the lot was out of almost anyone’s price range, it was important that he know about it, particularly the three audiotapes made by Jim Thorpe. Bob is making an audiobook for his definitive biography of Jim Thorpe and having Jim Thorpe’s voice in it would be a great addition. Bob was way ahead of me – decades ahead. He got copies of the tapes long ago and is working them into his audiobook. So, his audiobook will have things the printed version doesn’t have: Jim Thorpe’s voice for one. It will surely include some of Bob’s experiences interviewing all those people over thirty years ago and will surely include snippets of some of their voices. We’ll just have to wait for it as no release date has been set as yet.

As it turns out, these items come from Joel Platt’s collection that was mentioned in this blog some weeks ago. It appears that Platt periodically offers items for sale. It’s not clear if he receives bids high enough to get him to part with anything. It’s my opinion that the Smithsonian should buy Pratt’s entire collection and use it as the nucleus of a national sports museum – unless Mayor Reed of Harrisburg gets there first.

More Jim Thorpe artifacts for sale

May 13, 2008

No sooner had I posted Friday’s blog when another auction of Carlisle artifacts popped up. Don’t blame me if I’m in a rut; I don’t have any control over these sales. Also, people want to know about such things in a timely manner so they can have a shot at buying these things.

Heritage Auction Galleries has a pile of Jim Thorpe memorabilia for sale, including a helmet and cleats he reputedly wore in games in 1912. They also have quite a number of other things of which I find the audiotapes in Jim Thorpe’s own voice the most interesting. These would be perfect for Big Jim’s biographer to have, assuming that Bob Wheeler has a spare $143,400 lying around. It does include the 20% buyer’s fee. What a bargain. You can see the whole lot at:

At such prices, I can’t suggest that any individual or archive buy any of these things. However, if anyone wants to give me any one of these things, I’d love to have it. A sad thing is that Jim Thorpe’s family tends to get very little from artifact sales as many of the items we have seen offered for sale left the family long ago for little or no money in return. We can hope they do better on this lot. Of everything that has been offered for sale lately, what would you like?