US Navy Atlantic Fleet 1911 basketball championship gold fob, antique “lace up” ball engraved W. BENDER L.F. Rare historic item in great overall condition, considering the age.
Vintage pre-World War I pocket watch gold fob with a named US Navy basketball trophy award shaped in a form of an antique “lace up” basketball. The “basketball” is about 15.25 mm in diameter; the front “shield” reads ATLANTIC FLEET 1911. The back is engraved W. BENDER / L.F. (could be Left Forward ??). The snap is marked F.&S. on the inside; I see no other markings. This elaborate multi-part fob chain also has 3 small “lucky charms” cubes on “rope” chain suspension. Each cube has 3 small garnets with one stone set on 3 of the sides. The entire length of the fob is about 4″ / 10.2 cm from the S- anchor to the lowest cube; the total weight is about 17.5 grams / 270 grains. This is a very cool-looking historical piece with original patina throughout. All parts are intact; chain links are in great condition, considering this fob is 110 years old.
The following was gathered from the official US Navy history informational source (www.history.navy.mil): At the turn of the century, Navy participated in four varsity sports: baseball, crew, fencing, and football. Track and rifle were added in 1904. Basketball was added in 1907; tennis in 1909; wrestling in 1910; swimming in 1911; and gymnastics in 1912. In the early days, back in the 1800s and early 1900s, championships, especially in boxing, changed hands at the drop of an anchor. “Champeens” sprung up overnight. They became champs by virtue of having bested all comers in their own squadron, division, or the ship. Ships’ boxers gave exhibitions ashore whenever possible. It was considered (as today) that such bouts did much to publicize the Navy among young men. Shore activities also conducted boxing championships. The Atlantic and Pacific Fleets enthusiastically conducted competitions, but All-Navy tournaments as we know them today were unheard of. Air transportation, of course, was still a thing of the future and our two fleets were separated not only by the North American continent but by some 14,000 miles of ocean via Cape Horn (the Panama Canal was not put into regular operation until 1914). The nearest thing to our present All-Navy championship in any of the early Navy sports events occurred during fleet concentrations. When the ships got together for maneuvers, the athletes got together to prove their mettle.
This antique and personalized US Navy Atlantic Fleet 1911 basketball championship gold fob has not been cleaned or tempered with in any way; these are the actual photos. Very cool-looking piece of US Navy history in great condition; don’t miss your chance to add it to your collection! I have more medals, badges, pins, and commemorative coins/medals available for sale, please check out Badges & Medals store section for additional listings.
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