Recently I was asked to evaluate a Los Angeles Lakers purple road jersey purported to have been worn by Wilt Chamberlain. If authentic, the value is certainly north of the $65,000+ range, but with any problems present, the jersey is basically worthless.
Unlike baseball jerseys, the majority of pre 1985 NBA jerseys were produced without year tags. This particular example, Tiernan, was supplied by the Glendale, CA company.
In order to determine is this jersey was worn by Chamberlain, we had to ascertain
- Style – Was this style of jersey worn by Chamberlain, and if so, during what years? To determine this, MEARS examined the front font “LAKERS” and the trim (piping) found on the shoulders and neckline of the jersey. We also examined the body shell fabric, light weight durene and compared it to mesh fabric found on later era Lakers jerseys.
- Manufacturer – Did Tiernan supply the Lakers with jerseys during this era, and is the style of the tag correct for the period.
- Size – Other examples of authentic Los Angeles Lakers jersey that have entered the hobby and supplied by Tiernan from the late 1960s early 1970s were found without size tags. How could be determine if this jersey was indeed the correct size to have been made to be worn by Chamberlain during the era.
Finally, as standard protocol, MEARS recorded the degree of game wear, used a magnified light source to determine originality or any possible number/name changes, and we assigned the final grade based on the results of our research. All of our work was recorded via our worksheet and transferred to the final LOA (Letter of Opinion).
To determine the style, I examined digital images of the 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973 Los Angeles Lakers. My research concluded the following:
1966: Old style Lakers script
1967: Old style Lakers script
1968: Matching Lakers font
1969: Matching Lakers font
1970: Matching Lakers font
1971: Matching Lakers font
1972: Matching Lakers font
1973: Matching Lakers font, trim piping has changed, thus verifying the end range of the dating
Style: Offered for examination is a 1968-72 Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers road jersey. The purple road jersey is manufactured from a lightweight durene material. The neck and shoulders are trimmed in with purple, yellow, purple (pyp) piping.
The style was determined by an examination of game action photos. As noted in the accompanying diagram, 1967 found the Lakers wearing the old style script “Lakers”. The 1968 photo shows the Lakers switch over to the new Lakers team name design, thus allowing us for the beginning dating range of the jersey. In addition to the “Lakers” font, we studied the piping. This style was adorned by purple/yellow/purple shoulder and neck piping.
The piping changed in 1973 to a two color piping, yellow and purple, thus creating the back end dating of this style jerseys. The body shell was made from lightweight durene. 1973 also found the introduction of mesh jerseys to the Lakers team. Therefore, this body shell is consistent with pre 1973 Lakers materials.
In summary, the imagery analysis allowed us to verify the style of the jersey (1968-72), jersey material (light weight durene), and piping (tri color –p/y/p) were all correct.
Next, I had to determine if Tiernan was the correct supplier of Los Angeles Lakers during the time of Wilt Chamberlain’s career.
Manufacturer: Supplied by Tiernan of Glendale, CA, this company is documented as supplying the Lakers with jerseys during the era. Other documented examples of Tiernan jerseys to enter the hobby include:
Therefore, Tiernan is verified as being the correct supplier of Lakers jerseys during the same relative era as this jersey.
Regarding the Tiernan tag, it compares favorably to other examples that have entered the hobby, they are:
By comparison, this examples tag is consistent with respect to size and design to other Tiernan tag examples that have entered the hobby. I was confident the tag was original and the correct design for the 1968-72 era.
To continue with the evaluation, we had to determine whether or not the size was correct for Wilt Chamberlain during the late 1960s, early 1970s. This created a challenge since Tiernan did not include size tags on their jerseys during this timeframe.
In order to address this, we can apply the method of taking a chest measurement to determine the actual size of the jersey. Additionally, with the MEARS database, we were able to compare the chest and torso measurement to additional jerseys evaluated by MEARS. Our findings were:
Size (approximately size 44): Although not listed, the chest measurement is 22” across with a 28” torso measurement. This equates to an approximate size 42 or 44 jersey. MEARS examined a 1962 All Star Chamberlain game worn jersey, which was actually tagged as a size 42. This sized tagged example is consistent with this Tiernan version. Another example of a Chamberlain jersey was examined by MEARS, its measurements were:
1968-72, Chest 22”, 29” torso.
Therefore, this example compares quite favorably with respect to size to two other Chamberlain jerseys examined by MEARS.
Game wear: Jersey shows heavy game wear. Puckering is found on the lettering to the name “Chamberlain” and the numeral, “13”. The is staining in the area of the right shoulder (heavy) and left shoulder (lighter) that appears to be blood, but has not been tested. It is the authenticator’s opinion that it is most likely blood, would have occurred during a game setting, and does not require a deduction of points.
Final Grade MEARS A10: Evaluation of supplier, material, lettering, numbering, and game wear allowed for 10 base points to be assigned for their respective categories. Zero points were found for deduction.
Conclusion: Although some obstacles were present, by applying the techniques of imagery analysis, comparisons to the MEARS database, and physical observation of the actual jersey with the aid of a magnifying light source, MEARS was able to successfully determine this jersey was indeed worn by Chamberlain during the 1968-72 timespan.
MEARS is buying game worn Los Angeles Lakers Game Worn Jersey. MEARS is buying game worn Wilt Chamberlain game worn jerseys. MEARS is buying game worn jerseys of any caliber player.
Contact Troy R. Kinunen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (414)828-9990