Two Kansas University basketball fans paid more than US$4.3 million on Friday for the faded and soiled original rules of basketball drawn up by the sport’s founder, James Naismith, more than a century ago.
The auction price for Naismith’s “Founding Rules of Basketball” — two signed typescript pages spelling out the 13 original rules for the game — set a record for a piece of sports memorabilia.
The founding basketball rules, headed “Basket Ball” written in Naismith’s hand, were typed up in December 1891 on the morning he introduced the sport to the world.
The 25.4cm-by-20.3cm pages, bearing tape marks from -Naismith’s attempts to preserve them, had been expected to sell for about US$2 million. They were sold by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation
The rules were bought by David and Suzanne Booth, who said they hoped to bring them to the University of Kansas, home to a rich college basketball tradition.
The Canadian-born Naismith was Kansas’ first basketball coach.