In the realm of team-signed souvenirs, it’s difficult to fathom a gathering as impressive and as difficult as this representation: (12) single-signed Government Postcards compiled to represent the 1959-60 Philadelphia Warriors in almost their entirety (missing only one player). The souvenirs measure 5-1/2 x 3-1/4” and bear late-1950s postmarks. Ballpoint endorsements show (“9”) or better quality throughout and are accompanied by salutations and, in some instances, are personalized.
While championship rings and team accolades may not always convey the importance of an individual’s influence in a specific sporting arena, the numbers never lie. Even before he walked onto an NBA court, University of Kansas and Harlem Globetrotters product Wilt Chamberlain garnered the league’s undivided attention. Inked to a deal for an NBA-high $30,000 for his 1959-60 rookie campaign, Chamberlain was paid more than team owner Eddie Gottlieb’s 1952 purchase price ($25,000) of the Philadelphia Warriors franchise. So while Bill Russell, now in his fourth NBA season, was clearly the league’s marquee figurehead, Chamberlain was about to take over, and almost everybody anticipated it. En route to leading his club to the Eastern Division finals (where the Warriors were felled by Russell’s Celtics), Chamberlain was confidence and swagger personified. His first “test” came on November 7 as his 3-0 Warriors traveled to the Boston Garden. The Celtics prevailed that day, but Chamberlain won the individual “battle” with a game-best 30 points compared to Russell’s 22.
Of the aforementioned autographed heirlooms, the Chamberlain signed Government Postcard is dated “NOV 7 1959” the very date of his first-ever head-to-head matchup with Bill Russell! While even the novice hoops fan will cite Russell’s 11 NBA titles as an astounding feat, one only needs to glance at the head-to-head stats to determine true dominance. In their 142 career showdowns, Russell’s Celtics prevailed in 85 (compared to 57 for Chamberlain’s teams). But as for points and rebounds, it was Chamberlain, hands down, with 28.7 points per game (14.5 for Russell) and an identical 28.7 rebounds per game (23.7 for Russell).
Chamberlain’s signed Government Postcard in encapsulated with Autograph Assessed “Authentic” by PSA/DNA. The same can be said for the signed souvenirs of coach Neil Johnston (d.1978) and Guy Rodgers (d.2001). Also included are:
Eddie Gottlieb: (d.1979) 5x3” lined index card, encapsulated with autograph assessed “Authentic” by PSA/DNA
Paul Arizin: (d.2006) government postcard trimmed to approximately 4-1/2 x 2-1/2”
Tom Gola (d.2014) signed and personalized 5x3 index card
Andy Johnson (d.2002) signed in graphite pencil
Joe Ruklick (credited with final assist to Chamberlain in his 100-point game)
Woody Sauldsberry (d.2007)