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WORLD'S LARGEST INFORMATION SOURCE FOR SPORTS DISPLAY ANTIQUES

 

 

 

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 Page 6 

THE MAY 2011  

BRIMFIELD 

ANTIQUES FAIR

By Carlton Hendricks

 

16 pages - 16,521 words - 33 photo pages

Pg. 1 Pg. 2 Pg. 3 Pg. 4 Pg. 5 Pg. 6 Pg. 7 Pg. 8
Pg. 9 Pg. 10 Pg. 11 Pg. 12 Pg. 13 Pg. 14 Pg. 15 Pg. 16

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Harvard Square and  University grounds

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Leavitt & Peirce 

Tobacco Shop

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Basketball Hall of
Fame, Springfield MA

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Harvard University Sports Trophies at Murr Center

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Yale Univ. Trophy Room
at Payne Whitney Gym

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Museum of 
Fine Arts Boston

1000 BRIMFIELD PHOTOS

 

MY OPINION OF BRIMFIELD

So what's my final analysis of this landmark of the antiques world?....Would I go again? You bet I would....Would I fly across the country again to get there....well....maybe. Here's the real answer though...I've been to enough antiques shows to know not to judge a show by attending it once. I'd like to be able to attend about three or four before judging it's merit. But I will say this....if I lived within driving distance I probably wouldn't ever miss it. At least the Spring show anyway....If I lived within a seven hour drive I'd always be there...maybe even a 15 hour drive. But this one? It was basically a dud. Sure I found a few nice pieces....but four days of the kind of physical pounding it took to make it happen doesn't pencil.  Nevertheless it was fun, I had a good time. I'm pretty sure next time will be even more so since I know the ropes now and will be more relaxed.

 

Sum Total of Carlton's Brimfield Pick Ups

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c1920 26" tall Card Stock Advertising Display

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24" x 18 3/4" Willie

Mosconi Exhibition Poster 

 

 

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22"" x 14" Bill Tilden 

Tennis Match Poster

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c1910 10" x 8" 

Spalding Tennis Racquet 

Factory Photo

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9" tall Trade Card

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c1900 20" x 20" cloth 

pillow cover

 

After I left Brimfield I started back the hour twenty drive toward my next hotel in Bedford MA., fifteen or twenty minutes out of Boston. Being non-stop busy the previous four days I hadn't really thought thru what I would do that afternoon. On the back burner I had a loose plan of driving into Boston to sight see. As I drove along, all at once it sunk in I had the rest of the day free. I had already arranged with Harvard to see their trophies the following Tuesday, my last day in New England. About half way to Bedford I came up with the idea to call Harvard and inquire if there was anyway to move up our appointment to that afternoon. I was in Boston, it was a bright sunny day...what better way to spend the afternoon...plus that would free up Tuesday. I called Mr. Warren M.  Little, "Renny" as he goes by, at Harvard, their curator. He said that would actually work out better and to meet him at Gate 8 at Harvard stadium at 4:00PM. Wow...I was excited and nervous...I was about to see one of the worlds most important sports trophy collections!

 

 Part 1 

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CARLTON GOES TO HARVARD.....FOR AN HOUR

I had just enough time to move into my hotel and race to Harvard using my GPS. I got their a few minutes early and waited standing next to my car. 4:02...4:03...pretty soon it was five after and I started to panic...did I get the right time....was I at the right gate...darn this was no time for a mistake. All a sudden a white haired gentleman pulled up in little rice burner car full of stuff. He rolled down the window and said Carlton? Yes Sir I said...Sorry I'm late, come on down to the parking gate and I'll get you in he said...No problem OK I said....As I got out of my car he apologized again and explained he was helping one of the student athletes move or store her items for the summer I think the scenario was...and that he didn't know there would be so much stuff or something, and it made him late...This is my kind of guy I thought...he's going out of his way to help a student!

 

As mentioned I was both nervous and excited...which is never good when you're covering a story....you get occupied with something you see, you forget your mission...you forget to ask the right questions and so on...and because it was a surprise early visit I didn't have notes on what to ask and look for...When you cover something, especially something as important as the Harvard trophy collection, you want to sit down before you get there and draw up a game plan...a check list of sorts, so you don't forget the basics.....I had none of that, everything was wrong as far as prep...So it was sort of a shoot from the hip visit. Plus it was a quick one, my host was short on time and only had about an hour. But it went OK...anything is better than nothing. Besides Renny seemed a little under prepared himself...He forgot the keys to the display cabinets...which hurt since I had to shoot thru glass. 

 

So with the given circumstances and my exuberated racing mind, here's how it all unfolded as best I recount. Renny, Harvard class of 55', RennyText.jpg (197971 bytes) was a genial host. We walked from the parking to what I guess was the front entrance to the Murr Center and into a large entry hall with modern type exhibits of mostly modern sports memorabilia....I took a few photos of the displays and we continued up some stairs to the next floor. The Murr Center is a new complex in Harvard years...The building opened in 1998 and houses Harvard's squash courts as well as the executive offices of the Athletic Department....and as we'll see shortly the Lee Family Hall of Athletic History. The Murr center sits contiguous to the open end of the horseshoe shaped Harvard Stadium. Murr Center may not have been 19th century beaux arts style the style I like buildings, but it appeared very well built. I was impressed how well kept it was....spotless throughout. 

 

The Murr center was donated by Michael C. Murr class of 1973, MBA 1975. Mr. Murr grew up in Wala Wala Washington and is partners in a winery there called Garrison Creek Cellars with two grade school friends. According to recordsbase.com Mr. Murr is currently 60 years old...which would have made him roughly 45 when he bestowed Murr Center.

 

 

Original Flag from the first 

Harvard Yale Football Game

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Renny walked me thru a few executive offices of the Athletic Department pointing out Harvard sports artifacts here and there. I met Bob Glatz, Executive Director of the Harvard Varsity Club as we peeked into one office. I was polite as can be but wasn't seeing any memorabilia worth writing home about....That is until he showed me a boring looking stained and tattered tan colored flag about 17 inches wide by 12" tall. It was framed hanging on a wall and it's only inscription was "1875"....Phew!...that caught me by surprise...I went from yawning to wide eyed staring at one of the most important sports artifacts I'd ever seen. The inscription below it explained how It had been carried on the field of the first Harvard Yale game in 1875....I've seen the 75' Harvard Yale program surface maybe once or twice but never something from the environment!...Part PICT1374_1200x900.jpg (142155 bytes) of the reason an item like this is so rare is it's documentation....If an item like this were to surface on the open market, it would need evidence, a letter etc., i.e. a verifiable account of some kind to support it's history. In this unique case it comes direct from the source, or at least nearly direct, from an alum's family! That one piece was enough to make my visit successful!...I also saw and got to hold another pennant or flag of sorts with an "H" that has been to every Harvard Yale football game since 1880. After that we walked around some offices a little more but I didn't see much exciting. That is, in archaic 19th early 20th century relics...not to disparage the modern memorabilia...it's just not my focus.

 

Renny didn't say where we were heading and I just followed....And then we turned into a large room with an incredible panoramic view of the Harvard stadium. It was the Lee Family Hall of Athletic History. 

 

 

PANORAMIC OF HARVARD STADIUM FROM BALCONY

OF LEE FAMILY HALL OF ATHLETIC HISTORY

click photos

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The first thing I noticed walking into the Lee Family Hall of Athletic History was the twelve foot tall windows allowing an expansive view of the Harvard Stadium field. When you walk out onto the balcony you're almost right on the goal line....No doubt this is where the dignitaries party. When the school isn't using it they rent it out to associates for private events and functions.

 

 

 

c1878

Aprox. 7' wide x 5' tall Cabinet

HARVARD TROPHY 

BASEBALLS DISPLAY

Gift of Harvard University Base Ball Clubs of 

1878 79' 80' 81'

Center piece of Lee Family Hall of Athletic History at Murr Center

 

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c1878 Harvard Trophy Baseballs Display Case

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Above - Close in top left 

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Above - Close in top right 

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Above - Close in bottom right 

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Lee Family Hall of Athletic History - baseball trophy case far wall

 

The next thing I noticed was about a seven foot wide by five foot tall dark wood display cabinet with about one hundred sixty 19th century hand painted trophy baseballs. It was a common tradition in the 19th century for teams to decorate baseballs used in a game, with the teams and score. You see them offered in sports auctions occasionally; referred to as "trophy balls". At top center the cabinet was engraved " H.U.B.B.C. January 1878 - Ex Dono - 78' 79' 80' 81' ". The acronym H.U.B.B.C. stands for Harvard University Base Ball Club. The Latin term "Ex Dono" would be translated as "by gift of" or "donated by". Therefore the Harvard University Base Ball Clubs of 1878 thru 1881 are indicated as the persons who commissioned this great display. It's a  phenomenal treasure; in all my time in the hobby it's the only cabinet I've  seen engraved with the team and dates like that. It's a big country though and trophy rooms were and are common on college campuses' so there are probably others out  there.....I speculate if there's any as nice as this one though. The cabinet was basically the centerpiece of the room. 

 

 

continue to part 2

 

 

 

 

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