(Heritage Auctions)

Obama's High School Basketball Jersey Sells For $120K

August 19, 2019 - 7:48 am
Categories: 

DALLAS (AP) - A basketball jersey believed to have been worn by former President Barack Obama while he was at a Honolulu prep school has sold at auction for $120,000.

Heritage Auctions said the jersey sold Saturday night in Dallas to a collector of American and sports artifacts who didn't wish to be identified.

Related: Obama High School Basketball Jersey Up For Auction

The jersey was offered by Peter Noble, who was three years behind Obama at Punahou School. Noble, now 55 and living in Seattle, said the jersey was destined for the trash when he picked it up. Years later he saw an old photo of Obama wearing a No. 23 jersey while at school.

"I took it because they were getting rid of it," Noble said. "It meant nothing else, really."

Noble grew up "idolizing" Punahou basketball, he said.

"I talk about Punahou and Punahou athletics perhaps the way an Alabama fan talks about Roll Tide," he said, referring to University of Alabama's rally chant.

"I got to thinking: Is there an opportunity to do something, perhaps good?" he said. "Perhaps have this a see a bigger, broader light of day than sitting in my closet."

Noble connected with Heritage Auctions of Dallas. 

The auction house said details on the shirt match the one Obama is photographed wearing.

Barack Obama playing basketball in high school (image courtesy: Heritage Auctions)

"We can see the multiple years of wear in the softness of the tackle twill identifiers and the 'Rawlings (size) 40' label at lower right front tail, and even a scattering of small stains consistent with blood, perhaps Obama's," says a description of the auction item. "A patched repair at lower front left likewise documents the long, rough-and-tumble history of the historic garment."

Punahou spokesman Robert Gelber said the school is "enormously proud" of Obama, but cannot confirm authenticity of the jersey.

"We simply cannot make comment on the authenticity of the jersey itself," he said. "It's not something we are able to do."

Obama, who mostly sat on his bench during his Punahou basketball days, couldn't be reached for comment.

The school will receive an undisclosed portion of the sale, Noble said, "because I owe so much to Punahou."

He joked that another jersey might have been more valuable to him, personally.

"In hindsight, I wish I had grabbed No. 5 because it was Darryl Gabriel and Darryl Gabriel was my favorite player," he said. According to Punahou, Gabriel led Obama and their teammates to the state basketball championship.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)