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1954 House of David Basketball Warm-Up Jacket and Pants (2)
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $593
The House of David, a religious commune founded in 1902 and based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is best remembered today for its renowned barnstorming baseball team featuring a lineup of hirsute ballplayers (the practice of shaving was forbidden by members of the order). Less famous, but equally successful, was the order's barnstorming basketball team. Like the baseball club, the House of David basketball team toured the country taking on all comers and also traveled to Europe on occasion. Offered here is an exceedingly rare House of David basketball warm-up suit dating from the team's final organized season in 1954. The zipper-front yellow satin jacket features a patriotic red-white-and-blue shield patch on the left breast that is lettered "All American 1954" in white chain-stitch. The large collar-flap on the reverse is lettered "House of David" in red on blue tackle twill. The uniform number, player's name, size, and added length measurements ("32 Bemoras 46 Reg plus 1") are chain-stitched in blue upon a yellow-satin strip tag located on the interior right tail. A "Wilson" label appears in both the collar and on the interior left tail. 1954 was the last official season of the House of David basketball team and was highlighted by a European tour against the Harlem Globetrotters. Ideally, the suit is accompanied by copies of five photos from that tour, two of which picture the players wearing warm-up suits that are identical to the one offered here. The team played a sporadic schedule the next two years before disbanding completely in 1956. The jacket displays excessive wear, including moderate-to-heavy staining and numerous tears throughout (many of which are significant), especially to the trimmed cuffs and waist. Included with the jacket is the matching pair of yellow-satin pants. The uniform number, name of the player and the size ("26 Bemoras 36-34 plus 1") are chain-stitched in blue within the waistband. A "Wilson" label also appears in the waistband. The pants also exhibit excessive wear, including a large hole in the rear, numerous tears, and heavy staining. Both the jacket and pants originate from the traveling trunk of George Anderson, who was the player/manager of the House of David basketball team during its final years (Anderson left the order sometime around 1958). These were stored in the trunk in a garage for over forty years. While we cannot state with certainty, it is very possible that this warm-up suit belonged to Irv Bemoras, who briefly played in the NBA for Milwaukee (1953-1954 season) and St. Louis (1956-1957 season). (It should be noted that being a member of the order was not necessary to play on either the baseball or basketball team.) As a point of reference, the only other House of David basketball warm-up suit we have ever offered (which was from 1954 as well, in similar condition, and also originated from the estate of George Anderson) appeared as Lot 1595 in REA's May 2008 auction, where it realized a final sales price of $1,410. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $593
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