Gene Tunney Boxing Memorabilia Up for Auction at Bonhams

An exceptional selection of memorabilia related to the American World Heavyweight Champion, Gene Tunney (1897-1978), including medals, tickets, clothing, telegrams, pencil drawings, and photographs, is being offered by Bonhams in Chester, as part of its sale of Sporting Memorabilia on February 24th, 2010.

Tunney made boxing history on September 22, 1927 when he beat the former World Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey for the second time (the first occasion was in 1926) at the 1927 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Bonhams is delighted to offer a Ringside ticket for the fight (known as The Long Count Fight) for an estimated £300 – £400.

Eight years earlier, in 1919, Tunney received his first major boxing prize, a bronze medal, which is also on offer in this sale (estimate £600- £800), as are a pair of Tunney’s boxing gloves (estimate £400 – £600).

A collection of around 35 photographs of Tunney also features in the sale (estimate £300 – £400), many of them with Jack Dempsey, as well as two with his close friend George Bernard Shaw, with whom the famously well-read Tunney once had a Shakespeare ‘quote-off’. Shaw wrote to an American friend about Tunney: “I have not been given to close personal friendships, as you know, and Gene Tunney is among the very few for whom I have established a warm affection.”

A Christmas card from another famous literary friend, Ernest Hemingway, is among items in a collection of written records, which also includes 17 telegrams from Tunney to Jack Dempsey (estimate £200 – £300).

An engraved gold pocket watch given to Tunney in 1922 by the Hotchkiss School (estimate £400 – £600), an American Legion cap (£200 – £300), and a collection of dinner menus from the Sportsmen’s dinner in Vancouver in 1966 signed by Tunney and Bing Crosby (£200 – £300) are also up for auction.