Fowler: David Thompson nets $164,000 from memorabilia

sfowler@charlotteobserver.comDecember 13, 2012 

N.C. State basketball legend David Thompson netted about $164,000 recently by auctioning off a lot of the basketball memorabilia he had collected over his hall of fame career.

I originally wrote about this in late November. In our interview for that story, the 58-year-old Thompson said he was selling some (but not all) of the stuff he collected through his dazzling basketball career because that while he “isn’t broke by any means” that he wasn’t particularly nostalgic and that much of his memorabilia was gathering dust.

And the money wouldn’t hurt, either, he acknowledged.

“Everybody needs money,” said Thompson, who makes his living these days with occasional motivational speeches and personal appearances. “Everybody has bills. A lot of the guys from my generation have done this, and I just felt like the time was right.”

A number of readers asked me to follow up and publish the results of the auction. So here are the highlights:

Of the 49 items Thompson put up for sale through, a California-based company, 45 received the minimum bid and were sold. The only four that did not sell were all relatively minor trophies or plaques.

Six of Thompson’s items sold for in excess of $10,000 (that includes the 20 percent “buyers’ premium” that bidders had to pay to purchase any item and that went to SCP – so Thompson actually received 80 percent of each price listed below). The half-dozen items that went for five figures were, in order of price:

1. His 1974 N.C. State national championship ring for $44,427.

2. His 1996 hall of fame induction trophy for $27, 971.

3. The game net from the 1974 N.C. State-Marquette national championship game for $17,365.

4. His 1976 ABA all-star basketball signed by numerous ABA greats for $13,045.

5. His hall of fame circular bust for $10,237.

6. The Crest (N.C.) high school jersey that he wore for three straight years for $10,038.

Thompson was not a national headline-grabber in the November auction, which featured about 2,000 items altogether from various sports greats. Ozzie Smith’s 13 Gold Glove awards from 1980-92 – sold in a group – went for a whopping $519,203. Babe Ruth’s 1922 team sweater went for $250,642. Oscar Robertson’s 1963-64 NBA MVP award sold for $177,632 and Paul Hornung’s Heisman Trophy sold for $173,102.

It is unclear who bought what, because the buyers in such auctions are granted anonymity unless they voluntarily come forward. Thompson said in our November interview he hoped some of the buyers would ultimately donate what they purchased to N.C. State’s newly established athletic hall of fame. He also said he planned to donate some of the money he earned from the sale to charity.

Fowler: Twitter: @Scott_Fowler;

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