Actual Billie Jean King “Battle Of The Sexes” Racquet Up For Auction
This is a legitimate slice of tennis history- a Wilson Billie Jean King Autograph racquet she used in her famous September 1973 Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs! It will be offered for sale at Bonhams New York in the Voices of the 20th Century auction. The sale will preview at Bonhams December 2-5 with the auction to be held December 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Women’s Sports Foundation. [Update 12/6: It sold for $125,000. It’s “believed to be highest price ever for a piece of women’s sports memorabilia,” according to Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times.]
According to the New York Post, “King donated the racket to charity in 1982 and it was bought by its current owner in 1996. It is one of only two rackets used by King during her epic match, and the only one whose whereabouts are currently known…”
“…and has been given a guide price of $100,000 to $200,000.” Frames were certainly low-tech back in the day compared to today’s feats of technology, but that in no way diminishes the historical significance of this racquet. This one will take you right back to the crazy setting of the Astrodome.
Billie Jean King is a former American tennis champion and considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Winner of 39 Grand Slam titles (12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles) and the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. This epic tennis event was recently featured in the movie Battle of the Sexes.
*Archival photos via Google Images; NY Daily News/Getty & SF Chronicle.