Joe Louis (1914-1981) reigned supreme in the boxing world of the late 1930s and early '40s. Nicknamed the "Brown Bomber," Louis won the world heavyweight championship in Chicago on June 22, 1937, knocking out James J. Braddock in the 8th round. During his professional career spanning the years 1934-51, Joe Louis amassed 68 wins (54 by knockout) against 3 losses, taking on such opponents as Primo Carnera, Max Schmeling, Jack Sharkey, Billy Conn, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano.
Here are ten valuable Joe Louis boxing memorabilia artifacts that any fight fan or sports collectibles buff would love to own. Now entering thering once again the vaunted Brown Bomber – Joe Louis...
Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling 1936 Full Fight Ticket
On June 19, 1936, Joe Louis and German fighter Max Schmeling met for the first time at Yankee Stadium. It was Louis' 24th professional bout, with Schmeling knocking out the previously undefeated Louis in the 12th round. A certified PSA/DNA encapsulated full ticket from that historic fight sold at auction for $896.25.
Joe Louis 1938 WA&AC Churchman Tobacco Card
Card #26 in the popular 1938 British Chuchman's Cigarettes series features Joe Louis. One example in graded/certified PSA near mint 7 condition brought $74 at auction.
Joe Louis 1940s Figural Clock
Joe Louis was a living legend in the African-American community. An early 1940s Joe Louis copper-plated tin alloy figural electric clock – a United Self Starting model – bearing the inscription "Joe Louis World Champion" sold at auction for $191.20.
Joe Louis 1940 Wendell Willkie Political Pin
Some half-dozen different campaign pins were made in 1940 touting Joe Louis' endorsement of Republican Wendell Willkie in the 1940 presidential election against Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. One "Joe and I Want Willkie" pin in near mint condition brought $418.25 at auction.
Joe Louis Signed Index Card
Joe Louis autographs are always in demand. A simple white index card bearing Joe's blue ink signature sold at auction for $167.30.
Joe Louis Fight-Worn BoxingTrunks
Joe Louis fight-used equipment is the Holy Grail for many collectors. A pair of Everlast regal purple satin boxing trunks worn by Louis in the 1940s brought a top bid of $15,535 at auction.
Joe Louis Signed My Life Story First Edition Book
Joe Louis' autobiography My Life Story was published in 1947 by the New York City firm of Duell, Sloan & Pearce. A first edition with its dust jacket intact and signed by Louis sold at auction for $239.
Joe Louis vs. Arturo Godoy Fight Film Poster
On February 9, 1940, Joe Louis successfully defended his world heavyweight boxing crown against Chile's Arturo Godoy in a split decision bout that went 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden. A restored poster promoting the official fight film from that bout as shown in movie theaters brought $179.25 at auction.
Joe Louis 1940s Framed Chesterfield Advertisement
Strange as it may seem today, it was common practice for athletes to endorse cigarettes from the 1920s through the 1950s. Joe Louis made his pitch for Chesterfield cigarettes. One framed Chesterfield advertising piece from the 1940s fetched $155.35 at auction.
Joe Louis 1942 World War II Poster
Joe Louis enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, eventually staging 96 boxing exhibitions as a valued member of the Special Services Division. One surviving 1942 Army poster featuring Louis in near mint condition sold at auction for $478.
- All auction results courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas