Wilt Chamberlain’s rookie uniform won’t be changing hands after all. The artifact’s shareholders on the asset investing platform Collectable rejected a $2 million offer Tuesday, with 82% of voters (weighted by their holding size) saying no deal. The price would have been the second highest ever paid for a basketball uniform.
Fractional shares of the 1959-60 full uniform—tank top and shorts together—have been trading on Collectable since this spring, rising from an initial value of roughly $1.25 million to more than $1.6 million this weekend. Collectable operates under the idea that sports memorabilia ought to be an asset class in addition to being wall decor. And this year has been kind to collectible investors.
The current record for an NBA kit belongs to a signed Kobe Bryant jersey that sold for $3.69 million in May. The previous high was $1.38 million, set by a Michael Jordan North Carolina piece. The Chamberlain uniform sold for $700,000 in 2019. Collectable said the uniform was likely worn for every home game during Chamberlain’s rookie year, when he averaged 38 points and 27 rebounds for the 49-26 Philadelphia Warriors.
The uniform’s largest shareholder is David Kohler, who retained 25% control when he sold it via Collectable. He was among the no voters, citing a Jackie Robinson jersey that sold for more than $4 million earlier this month while explaining his decision in an interview. He added that people’s ability to now buy fractions of items has brought more money into the category and contributed to the rising value. “People are appreciating some of these rare artifacts,” he said. “The masses are paying attention.”
Shareholders were notified of the offer Sunday and given 48 hours to decide whether to relinquish control of the uniform. It would have been the second largest exit via Collectable, behind a $3.1 million Mickey Mantle 1953 Topps card.
Collectable CEO Ezra Levine said close to 50% of buyout offers have been declined on the platform, which launched in 2020. “I do think $2 million, over time, is going to look really cheap,” he said. “These offers reset the market.” Levine said the bidder, who has not been named publicly, was not surprised to be rebuffed.
Collectable itself has capitalized on the surge in interest in sports memorabilia, netting a $5.5 million Series A funding round in May. The company also recently announced its foray into events, with a three-day collectibles convention to be co-hosted with IMG in Las Vegas this January.