Two pairs of bout-worn boxing gloves used by heavyweight champion of the world Joe Louis are coming to auction in the UK later this month.
The Everlast gloves - one pair maroon, the other chocolate brown - are to be sold in a single lot at the Runcorn-based Auction Centre on August 27, with a £1,000 estimate.
Known as the "Brown Bomber", Louis is regarded as one of the first African Americans to achieve nationwide hero status in the US, and in 2005 was named the greatest heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organisation.
Louis, who died in 1981, enlisted with the US army in 1942 as a fitness instructor. He was sent over to England to train men in readiness for the Normandy landings.
He was stationed at Oulton Hall in South Cheshire, where people in the local pubs used to pay money to punch him in the stomach.
The consignor's father, in charge of physically preparing the men of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry at Ditherington, near Shrewsbury, organised a morale-boosting exhibition match with the champion boxer.
"My father told me Joe gave him the gloves as a thank you for setting up the ring and attending to him when he came to fight in the exhibition match," said James Dorian.
We are assuming that Louis comfortably saw off all that the King's Shropshire Light Infantry could throw at him.
"My sister Angela and I used to play with them," added Dorian. "We used to put them on our feet and slide along the landing".
This confession may put a dent in the value of the gloves, but we feel these exceptional items of boxing memorabilia could easily surpass their estimate, especially if US collectors get wind of the sale; such is the iconic status of Louis.
Watch this space to find out how they get on.
- Click here to view our Memorabilia stock items for sale
- Learn how you can get pleasure & profit from sports collectibles
- Read all the latest Memorabilia news
Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today