SCORES OF CHICAGO-RELATED ARTIFACTS HAVE GONE TO AUCTION OVER THE YEARS. HERE ARE 10 COLLECTOR FAVORITES
By The Intelligent Collector staff
Neiman’s Riverview Park ‘Carousel’
Although born in St. Paul, Minn., and primarily working from his studio in New York City, LeRoy Neiman (1927-2012) studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. His vibrant paintings made him one of the most recognizable contemporary artists in the world. His oil on board (above) titled Carousel (From Riverview Park, Chicago, Ill.), 1958, went to auction in December 2008.
Price Realized: $65,725
World’s Fair Japanese Coin
The World’s Columbian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World’s Fair) was held in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. An Empire of Japan (Meiji) silver 5 Sen Year 25 coin was struck for exhibit at the fair – long after the last date of this type was produced (1880). This coin, offered by Heritage Auctions in September 2011, remains extremely rare.
Price Realized: $276,000
Perry’s Super Bowl XX Ring
William “Refrigerator” Perry (b.1962) remains one of the most popular players of the 1980s-era Chicago Bears. The team won Super Bowl XX, thanks in part to the defensive lineman actually switching to fullback and scoring a touchdown. Thirty years later, in July 2015, Perry’s 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX Championship Ring – called the largest NFL championship ring ever produced, at an estimated size 25 – appeared at auction.
Price Realized: $203,150
Union National Bank $100 Brown Back
The Union National Bank of Chicago merged with First National Bank of Chicago in 1900 – making notes issued with the Union Bank title very rare. National Bank Notes were issued by banks throughout the country and in U.S. territories from 1863 to 1935. Among these, collectors value Brown Back notes for their beauty. This Union National Bank of Chicago Fr. 520, auctioned in August 2014, is among the highest-graded 1882 $100 Brown Back examples from any bank in the country.
Price Realized: $99,875
Faber’s White Sox Uniform
Pitcher Urban “Red” Faber (1888-1976) played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox. Though an illness kept him from playing in the notorious 1919 World Series, he was on the roster and suited up for games. This Faber game-worn Chicago White Sox uniform – auctioned in August 2011 – is the only-known uniform dating to that historic Fall Classic.
Price Realized: $68,712.50
‘In Old Chicago’ Academy Award
20th Century Fox’s 1938 film In Old Chicago is a fictionalized retelling of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, starring Tyrone Power and Don Ameche. It was Alice Brady (1892-1939), however, who received recognition from the Academy Awards for her performance as the owner of the cow that started the blaze. Her 1937 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award went to auction in October 2008.
Price Realized: $59,750
Jordan’s Rookie Trading Card
After arriving in Chicago, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six World Championships in eight seasons. His spectacular play took the sport to heights of popularity not seen in the game’s 100-year history. Today, Jordan’s 1986 Fleer rookie card is one of the most sought-after modern cards of any type. An example graded PSA Gem Mint 10 went to auction in May 2015.
Price Realized: $15,535
Piccolo’s Chicago Bears Jersey
Brian Piccolo’s career as a running back for the Bears was cut short when he died of cancer at age 26. The Massachusetts native (1943-1970) was a fan favorite, passed over in the 1965 NFL draft but making the team as a free-agent running back. After his death, the 1971 television movie Brian’s Song, starring James Caan, famously recounted the details of Piccolo’s life. His 1966-68 game-worn Chicago Bears jersey went to auction in August 2013.
Price Realized: $40,331.25
1908 World Series Program
The year 1908 marks the last time the city’s beloved Cubs appeared in the World Series. Game 2, played at West Side Grounds, was a pitcher’s duel until the bottom of the eighth, when Joe Tinker’s home run blast opened the floodgates and propelled Chicago to a 6-0 lead. The Cubs would go on to take the Series 4-1. This rare 16-page 1908 World Series Program from Game 2 went to auction in April 2009.
Price Realized: $41,825
‘Tarzan of the Apes’ First Edition
Native son Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) put publisher A.C. McClurg on the map. The Chicago publishing house in 1914 released Burroughs’ novel Tarzan of the Apes, and launched an American literary legend. A rare first edition, first printing of the book, in its original dust jacket, was offered by Heritage Auctions in June 2009.
Price Realized: $20,912.50