Jack Dempsey’s Fight/Training/Sparring Worn Used Spalding Boxing Trunks(Family Letter ) PENS Evaluated
It’s a wonder how vintage memorabilia survives the ages and acclimates itself into a new generation. Take for example an article from the Daily News in 21, when a tremendous pair of boxing gloves made its way into writer Bill Gallo’s office.
“On Tuesday, Barbara Phillips, one of Jack Dempsey’s daughters, came carrying a little bag so small that it looked like it could’ve held a bunch of grapes. No grapes, but instead she pulls out two small – worn and aged – 4-ounce boxing gloves that smelled of ancient leather.
Put them on,” said Mrs. Phillips. I did. First the left and then the right. They felt like the mittens we used to wear as kids when we were packing snowballs. “My dad, Jack Dempsey, wore those very same gloves while successfully defending his heavyweight title against Tommy Gibbons in a 15-rounder 87 years ago,” she said.” (NY Post 11/14/21)
For our consigner, Barbara Phillips was up to the same bag of tricks. With a dash of coy and an expectation of awe that loosens a diehard boxing collector’s wallet, she revealed to him these faded light brown trunks with sky blue stripes worn by her father William Harrison (Jack) Dempsey. After what we can imagine an intense negotiation that would make her dad proud, she provided a letter with the trunks that explained the provenance.
“This letter is to confirm that you are in possession of my late father Jack Dempsey fight worn trunks. They were given to my late sister Joan “Dempsey” McNeil directly from our father after his passing in May of 1983. Eventually being handed down to myself a few weeks before her passing in February on 1994. These trunks were made by Spalding Boxing Equipment Co. as displayed on the trunks. They have a creme base color with an off sky blue around the edges with heavy wear showing throughout the trunks. These trunks were believed to be worn throughout his early professional boxing career and possibly used in a championship fight. I hope these trunks bring you much enjoyment to your already impressive boxing collection.”
Styling of the trunks date them to the late 192’s to mid early 193’s. Elastic waistbands slowly replaced the belt drawn boxing shorts making it easier and more comfortable for the fighters. Without the loops and belts their mobility was increased.
Presented for auction are Dempsey’s exhibition fight, sparring, and training trunks. Dempsey retired from boxing following the Tunney rematch, in 1928., however, he continued with numerous exhibiiton bouts. Due to the dating of the trunks circa 193’s, we can concur that these trunks were definitley used for his exhibition fights, sparring and training sessions. Trunks sport a skyblue colored elastic waist band which has faded to a dull pale gray/blue, measuring 2-1/2” wide, with the side stripes being 1” in width. Trunks are 16” long and 17″ across making them size 34 (approx.) .The Spalding logo is 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” at the center waistband. Material is a faded light brown cotton.
In 1933 Dempsey is seen wearing these style type of trunks in the ring with Max Baer. This is our photo style match in which we see the same style, size elastic waistband and same width stripes on the side of the trunks. Although Dempsey freely endorsed Everlast, he was not exclusive with Everlast. A.G. Spalding certainly wanted Dempsey to bear the Spalding logos as did other companies. Dempsey is seen wearing different brands of equipment throughout his career.
Heavy use, snagging, and wear insist that these were a favorite of the Champs. They were used well, often and for years. There is a small hole on the right back side of the trunks. Without question we have one of the rarest boxing finds in years, Jack Dempsey’s Fight Trunks he wore during his Exhibition bouts in the ring!.
100% Authentic Team, Family Letter