Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

The Flagg Collection #8 – George Gervin “ICEMAN” 1978 Nike Basketball Poster

September 15, 2017

Presenting…the most-wanted acquisition of every serious sports poster collector! Here it is, the legendary 1978 Nike “Iceman” poster, featuring the great George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs reigning on his frozen throne.

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As Gervin himself would tell you – far more people have asked him for one of these posters, than ever saw him play live! That is why he drove around for years with cases full of small later-day tribute-editions to sign and give away to fans wherever he went. He ran out of originals long, long ago, though – original Nike posters from the 1970s are a very, very hard item to find!

What made this poster into such an icon? Gervin is a legend in his own right, to be sure. But there’s more to it than that. It’s the whole package – that cross-legged pose…that ’70s jump-suit. The prop ice-throne with icy basketballs palmed. the original Nike “Blazer” basketball high-tops on his extremely large feet. And then there’s that classic Nike swoosh logo, making one of its first-ever pro sports poster appearances.

If you are lucky enough to find one of these in decent condition, prepare to spend hundreds of dollars to pry it away from its owner. We were lucky enough to obtain a few of them several years ago as part of a closeout-lot of old Nike posters purchased from the daughter of a shoe salesman. The rest are gone and sold; but this one was transferred to canvas to preserve it in its nearly flawless shape forever, and now resides in its permanent place as part of The Flagg Collection of significant, collectible gems from throughout sports poster history. Don’t ask us “how much” – it’s not for sale!!! (Who am I kidding…we know you’re going to ask anyway…)

Here’s a couple of other George Gervin posters from the era – these, from the Marketcom Sports Illustrated white-border series:

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And here’s a couple of premium Photo File prints you can add to your collection right now from SportsPosterWarehouse.com; you’ll find them here in our San Antonio Spurs Collection:

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The rare 1987 Tony Gwynn “At the Beach” Rawlings Gold Glove Poster

August 31, 2017

How’s this for an oddball? We came across this one in a box of mixed stock we bought from a southwestern collectibles dealer recently. It’s a full-sized poster of the late, great Hall of Fame legend Tony Gwynn during his MLB prime with the San Diego Padres.
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It’s staged in the style of the timeless, cheeky Costacos Brothers  posters of the era, but this one was put out on behalf of Rawlings by a company called “Figgle International” (first we’ve heard of them…probably did one poster, then bust). Tony’s a SoCal native who played his whole career in San Diego, so being comfortable on the beach was completely natural to him! The Rawlings Gold Glove lying next to him in the sand like a conch shell is a nice touch.

Who knows how many of these ever made it up on walls back in the ’80s. It’s a mystery to us. Let us know in the comments if you had one of these up on your wall when you were a kid! And if you’re interested in owning this and happen to read this post in time, click over here to our eBay auction and give it your best shot.

The Flagg Collection #7 – Gordie Howe “Gordy” 1970 Sports Illustrated Poster

August 30, 2017

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters collected by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

The earliest full-sized photographic sports posters started appearing on the market in 1968, as the Renselaar Corporation of Norristown, Pennsylvania leveraged new large-format print technology imported from Japan to enter the sports fan memorabilia market. The posters, marketed under the Sports Illustrated brand through mail-order ads and store display sales, were simple in design and inconsistent in picture quality, but contained some of the greatest names in that golden era of sports.

By 1970, with Renselaar under new ownership and looking for ways to expand their market beyond NFL Football and Major League Baseball, dipped into the NHL market. For a brief period in 1970, a handful of the greatest NHL stars of all-time were published as part of the series: Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull, and, among a few others, this one here – the great Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings.

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It’s a great home-ice action shot of the aging Gordie at the old Detroit Olympia Arena, the home of the Red Wings for generations. Aging, yes – but still an entire decade away from retirement! The photograph used for this poster was shot by legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Tony Triolo, and it is a great one. Of course, at this primitive stage of poster and photographic technology, you can see some significant imperfections on this print – there was no photoshop back in 1970 to correct the contrast or saturation, or to remove the spots and flecks that were scanned in from the original film negative. Nonetheless, this is what posters are all about – imperfect, meant to be appreciated as a decorative piece from a distance!

Get up close and you’ll see one fun quirk that made it to the one, single, likely very small print run on this poster: the obviously hockey-illiterate staffers at Renselaar spelled his name as “Gordy” instead of “Gordie”:

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While some of the 1968 and 1969 Renselaar posters were overproduced and are quite plentiful on the market, these 1970 editions – particularly the hockey posters – were printed in very small quantities, primarily for the hockey-mad markets north of the border in Toronto and Montreal. This must have been part of the massively flawed business plan moved forward by the new owners of Renselaar, because by 1971, the company went belly-up, never to be heard from again.

Who knows how many of these have survived the past nearly five decades, but we’re sure it’s very, very few. This one, as well as a pristine Bobby Hull poster from the series, will remain key holdings of The Flagg Collection for a long, long time. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

 

The Flagg Collection #6: 1971 San Francisco Warriors ProMotions NBA Basketball Poster

June 29, 2017

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters collected by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a Golden State Warriors fan by any stretch – but that being said, I don’t think I’d part with this one for anything right now. Many poster collectors aren’t even aware that the ProMotions company, famous for their 1971-72 series of Major League Baseball team theme art posters, also produced posters of the NBA Basketball teams of the era. Certainly, their artist nailed it with this one – simply beautiful!

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This poster had to have been released late in the 1970-71 season, and would have been discontinued just months later, as the franchise announced after that season that it would be renaming the franchise to the Golden State Warriors (four years after moving to the Oakland Coliseum Arena – better late than never…) Nonetheless, the San Francisco theme shines through with the cable car imagery. The legendary “The City” uniforms of the day are faithfully reproduced in both home and away color schemes.

It’s been a long time since I added this one to the collection – probably obtained it in a larger purchase of old ProMotions posters 15 years ago. I’ve never seen one of these available since, so this is a prized acquisition, especially given its renewed relevance during this Warriors renaissance era. Stephen Curry himself would probably love to have one of these on his wall! Or perhaps, the families of some of the legendary superstars of that late-’60s/early-’70s era of Warriors basketball – Rick Barry, Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas, Jeff Mullins, Ron Williams, Al Attles and the rest.

As a an iconic keepsake of an era and a franchise, and as simply a brilliant work of basketball art, this one is an all-time legend. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format. Some day, a museum piece, to be sure!

The Flagg Collection #5 – Michael Jordan “Wings” (1987) Nike 6-Foot Wall Poster

June 1, 2017

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the fifth entry in this blog series, it’s one of the most famous sports posters of all-time – Michael Jordan “Wings”, the iconic black-and-white classic that turns, believe it or not, 30 years old this year. No serious poster collection is complete without this one, the all-time best-selling Nike poster, from the prime of the MJ era:

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From the Air Jordan III era, when Nike’s MJ-branded sneaker line was reaching its peak, it features the simple photographic image of the 24-year-old pre-Championship-era Michael extending his ripped arms to show off his incredible wingspan, palming the ball with his right hand as he did in game-action every night to hold on for miraculous slam dunks.

Proving the old adage that “less is more”, the designers at Nike were smart enough to keep it simple – the photo in black-and-white, simple block letters “W-I-N-G-S” along the top white border, and the Nike swoosh in the bottom border along with the verse of poetry that every MJ fan has memorized:

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This specific poster held in The Flagg Collection is from a mid-1990s printing of this poster. It went through many, many press runs throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was certainly one of the top-selling posters of all-time. The first printing, to our knowledge, was a full 24″x72″ edition. They later cut it down to 23″x71″, as this one is, to fit the store racks of the day. Beware of knock-offs out of Asia – unscrupulous counterfeiters have flooded the modern market with cheap, smaller illegal reproductions that you can find for just a few dollars. Originals like this, however, regularly sell for hundreds of dollars at auction. This one, as with most of the holdings of The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

The Flagg Collection #4 – “Mr. Hockey and The Great One” (Nike 1990) – Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky

May 23, 2017

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the fourth entry in this blog series, I’m bringing you a rare Nike classic with a controversial history. The content isn’t controversial at all – “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe and “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky, in uniform, together on the ice in a classic pose, what could be wrong with that?

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It was Nike’s use of the image that was the problem. According to a story I heard told way back in the late 1990s, this poster was discontinued and recalled by Nike soon after publication in 1990, due to a licensing issue with the picture. It seems the photo was part of a private shoot done for, I believe, the Coca-Cola company, and was not supposed to be released for any other use outside of Coke advertising. Apparently, the lawyers got to Nike, and the poster had to be discontinued and withdrawn from the market.

That didn’t stop a small quantity from getting out to the market, and we managed to obtain a stack of about 20 of them back in the day. They’re all long-gone, sold off to prime customers over the years, until we only had this last one left – and into the personal collection it went. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

The Flagg Collection #3 – Ken Griffey Jr. KENETICS 1991 Nike Poster

May 15, 2017

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the third entry in this blog series, I’m showing off a true classic for fans of 1990s baseball and the great Hall of Fame slugger Ken Griffey Jr. This is from the height of the legendary Nike era of sports poster dominance, when the shoe company was more famous for its TV commercials and ancillary products like posters, than it was for footwear! Characteristic of Nike’s design creativity of the time, this full-sized 24″x36″ poster portrays the young, dynamic phenom Ken Griffey Jr. in the context of a physics experiment – instead of “Kinetics”, it’s “Kenetics”, studying the motion not of ordinary human mortals, but of the sweet-swinging Seattle Mariners superstar.

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Check out the slim, baby-faced Junior in just his third Major League season here, displaying his picture-perfect swing mechanics for the camera (with a focus on his Nike cleats, of course). The graphics include blueprint-style geometrical calculations, and at the top-left, the following tongue-in-cheek text:

“Kenetics: a branch of baseball science that deals with the effects of the Griffey force upon the motion of the fastball, the curveball, the slider, the knuckleball, the forkball, spitball, scuffball, or mudball, inasmuch as that force is responsible for out-of-the-park trajectories of batted balls. Kenetics also explains how aerodynamic forces are overcome in order to raise the batting coefficient over .300.”

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It’s hard to tell how many of these ever made it to market, but I’m guessing it was very few. It is a 1991 release, and 1991 was the year Nike transitioned from 24″x36″ sized posters, down to 23″x35″, in order to have their posters fit in more store display racks throughout the retail landscape. Also, the Mariners only wore this style of uniform for one more season, meaning these would have had to have been discontinued by the end of 1992 at the latest. And, through simple observation over the years – you just never see these available anywhere! A very tough find. At one time, we had about a dozen in stock at SportsPosterWarehouse.com from a large warehouse stock purchase we made in the early 2000s; however, those are now gone, and this was the last one, now preserved for all-time as part of the Flagg Collection. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

As Griffey is now enshrined in Cooperstown, this poster is definitely a Hall of Fame-worthy showpiece. As someone who came of age as Griffey emerged into stardom, and who started in the poster business when Junior was still one of the top-5 superstars in the game, this one will always hold a special place in the collection!