July 16, 2001 – A collection of fight memorabilia featuring the legendary Bob Fitzsimmons has been valued at an astonishing $30,000 in New York. The collection, which was discovered hidden away in a cabin stove 30 years ago, includes some truly exceptional items which date back over a century.
The collection, which dates from 1896-1900, featured the American flag-styled belt worn by legendary 19th century champion; a photo of Fitzsimmons wearing the belt; the American flag that the English-born Fitzsimmons pulled from the belt and waved victoriously over his head after winning the title from Jim Corbett; a contract signed by Fitzsimmons; a speed bag owned and used by Fitzsimmons; news clippings and photographs documenting his career; and other related memorabilia.
“This collection of 19th Century fight memorabilia is extremely rare," said Simeon Lipman, Oak Brook Illinois sports memorabilia specialist who appraised the collection. “Fitzsimmons was the first professional fighter to win championships in three divisions, capturing the heavyweight championship from "Gentleman Jim" Corbett. The memorabilia documents that historic fight. It was, by far, the most incredible find that I had the privilege to appraise at the show.”
Lipman valued the collection for TV show Chubb’s Antiques Roadshow at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre, and was blown away with the collection.
Fitzsimmons, who had become an American citizen by the time he knocked out Corbett with his famed solar plexus punch, won the middleweight, light-heavyweight and of course heavyweight titles.