The original rules of basketball, written by James Naismith (shown left) in 1891, were auctioned earlier this week for $4.4 million at Sothebyís in New York.
ARTKABINETT social network for fine art collectors is watching auction prices rise for every type of fine collectible.
The 13 rules, a two-page typed document with Naismithís handwritten notes, were purchased by David G. Booth, an alumnus of the University of Kansas and executive officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors.
Naismith founded the university basketball program in 1898, staying in Kansas until his death in 1939.
James Naismith spent 40 years at KU, said Booth, who now lives in California. Even though he posted these papers in Massachusetts, the birth of the game was at KU.
Booth funded the Booth Family Hall of Athletics at the university in honor of his parents and said that he spoke with Kansas head coach Bill Self about the idea of housing the rules on the Lawrence, Kansas, campus. Booth wants the university to erect a building close to Allen Fieldhouse to hold the documents.
My challenge to the university is, if it's important enough to you to where you create a venue thatís appropriate for displaying these, then weíll give you the papers," Booth said. "That's the challenge. Itís going to cost a lot to build a suitable building."
Ian Naismith, James' grandson, who is the seller of the document, said, "he was happy with the sale and that because of the current state of the economy ìmaybe it would have done better a few years ago, or in a few years."
Ian Naismith added that he needed to sell the documen (shown right)t because he lost a substantial amount of funding for his charity, the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, which uses the game to promote sportsmanship and other educational opportunities to underprivileged children. Proceeds from the auction went into the foundation.
The document includes James Naismith's signature, added in 1931, and an afterword noting it was "hung in the gym so the boys might learn the rules," according to a video on the Sothebyís website.
James Naismith, a Canadian-born physical-education instructor, wrote the rules in Springfield, Massachusetts. The guidelines later were expanded to form the framework of the modern game.
The document sold for more than double Sotheby's $2 million presale estimate and did better than the anticipated star of the sale.
Little Bighorn Flag
A tattered, stained silk flag from General George Armstrong Custerís calamitous last stand in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn sold to an unidentified phone bidder for $2.2 million, at the low end of its presale estimated range of $2 million to $5 million.
The seller, the Detroit Institute of Arts, will use the funds for future art acquisitions, according to a Sothebyís press release.
Also eclipsing the Little Bighorn flag was a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln that sold for $3.8 million, well above the presale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.
The document, one of only 25 known copies, had belonged to Robert and Ethel Kennedy and hung in their Virginia home. Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War, setting the stage for the abolition of slavery.
The late Kennedy, a civil-rights champion who served as U.S. attorney general under his brother, President John F. Kennedy, acquired the document in 1964 at an auction.
courtesy: Eben Novey-Williams/Bloomberg New York