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SI's 25 Lost Treasures
July 11, 2005
In an age when Ty Cobb's dentures have gone up for auction and even checkers has its own hall of fame, you might think every sports collectible had already been collected. But the whereabouts of some key items remain a mystery. A fortune awaits those who can find these Holy Grails
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July 11, 2005

Si's 25 Lost Treasures

In an age when Ty Cobb's dentures have gone up for auction and even checkers has its own hall of fame, you might think every sports collectible had already been collected. But the whereabouts of some key items remain a mystery. A fortune awaits those who can find these Holy Grails

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FIRST SUPER BOWL Tape

Although 77 million viewers tuned in at the time, it's believed that only a two-minute clip remains from the broadcast of Super Bowl I at L.A.'s Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 15, 1967. Both CBS and NBC aired the Green Bay Packers' 35--10 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs on kinescope, but the four reels of 16-mm film were recorded over shortly afterward. There remains a slight possibility that one of the networks' affiliates taped the game--and saved the recording. ESTIMATED VALUE: more than $1 million.

BABE RUTH'S PIANO

The stories about the upright piano that's supposedly resting at the bottom of Willis Pond in Sudbury, Mass., are legion. One is that in the winter of 1918, then Red Sox pitcher-outfielder Babe Ruth, while blotto during a party, pushed the piano off the porch, down a slope and into the water. Another: While hosting a sing-along for children, the Bambino tried to enliven the festivities by relocating both kids and instrument to the frozen pond, then left the piano there to sink in the spring. Three years ago underwater searcher John Fish looked for fragments using sonar equipment and a magnetometer. He, like others, turned up nothing. ESTIMATED VALUE: "If you can prove that something is a part of the piano, then it's one of those quirky type of things that could go for a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand," says Simeon Lipman, vice president of RM Auctions. "There's nothing really to compare it to."

MUHAMMAD ALI'S GOLD MEDAL

When Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) returned from the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, he was so disgusted by racism in his native Louisville that he stripped the light heavyweight gold medal from his neck and threw it in the Ohio River--or so he said in his 1975 autobiography, The Greatest. A short time later, however, he admitted that he had done nothing of the sort. In either case, the medal remains missing (though at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch did present Ali with a duplicate gold ). After Ali's oft-told tale about how he disposed of the original, it would be a significant find. ESTIMATED VALUE: $1 million.

HAMILTON TIGERS JERSEY

On the eve of their 1925 playoff series, 10 Hamilton ( Ont.) Tigers went on strike, prematurely ending the team's fifth and final NHL season. (The franchise became the New York Americans for 16 seasons, then the Brooklyn Americans for one before folding.) To the knowledge of the Hockey Hall of Fame's coordinator of cultural services, Izak Westgate, no Tigers sweaters remain today. He says that to find one--like that worn by star center Joe Malone (below)--"would be to find a true one-of-a-kind." ESTIMATED VALUE: $20,000 to $25,000.

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