This man turned a childhood tragedy into one of the world’s great sports memorabilia collections. Now, the 82-year-old is banking on his collection to make him more money, and in a way, share it with others in a way that’s rarely done.
Joel Platt is offering the public a chance to take part in his collection. The Florida man is doing this by selling shares through IPOs for individual items via the sports-memorabilia investment site Collectable.com.
According to New York Post, for Muhammad Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” Championship belt, Collectable sold 12,800 shares at $10 each, generating $128,000. What’s more, the IPO sold out in 24 hours.
Johnny Unitas game-used jersey IPO sold out in 10 minutes, and Michael Jordan’s ’84 jersey IPO sold out in under 15 minutes.
Another way to cash in comes when an item sells and profits are divided among share-holders.
Platt’s initial public offerings have sold out. However, there are more to come later this year on Collectable.
The $100 Million Sports Memorabilia Collection
Joel Platt turned an unfortunate childhood incident that spawned a dream into a lifelong pursuit.
“In 1943, I put a lit match into a car’s gas tank,” Platt says. He was just four years old at the time, according to the New York Post.
The terrible explosion left him injured and bedridden for over a year.
“My parents bought me baseball cards and my favorite was Babe Ruth. I had a dream in which the Babe visited me and said, ‘Kid, don’t give up. You can get better and someday be a major league baseball player or build an international hall of fame for sports immortal heroes and greats.’”
This childhood dream has now turned into a multimillion-dollar collection. In 1995, the 82-year-old opened the Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton.
How Joel Platt Acquired the Signed Michael Jordan Jersey
Platt loves to share the stories of how he acquired the collectibles. He befriended team equipment managers and often showed up to player’s houses, sometimes unannounced, to try and charm them.
Like the time Platt let Maurice Lucas, a power forward. Platt let Lucas borrow his Cadillac for prom. He met Lucas when he was shooting baskets at night on a half-court that Platt had built behind his Steel City home.
As a matter of fact, the good deeds paid off.
“I would tell Maurice what I needed and, when he played against a particular team, he would ask the equipment manager or player for the item,” Platt recalls.
Moreover, Lucas got him Jordan’s signed, game-used 1984 Bulls jersey. “Jordan was a rookie that year and projected to be the next great one.
Some of Platt’s most prized possession is that 1984 Jordan jersey, a signed Wilt Chamberlain jersey, one of Jackie Robinson’s bats from 1949, Muhammad Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” championship belt, and a signed Johnny Unitas jersey.