What’s the one item you really
wanted but took the most time?
The old Buffalo Bisons’ American
Hockey League jersey, the one with the
Pepsi bottle cap on the front. If you’re a
true, hardcore Buffalo sports collector,
that’s one of the big, kind of monumental items you need. They’re extremely
hard to find [he has two].
Has there ever been one item that
you really wanted but it got away?
I came across a Buffalo Federals
[professional baseball] pennant from
1914 on Craiglist about five years
ago. Unbelievably rare. The guy want-
ed $60. I shot him an e-mail and said
“I’ll be there. Just don’t sell it.” Well, a
guy stopped by his house and bought it
that morning. I was mortified. About a
month or so later, I’m leafing through
an auction house catalog. There it is:
the Buffalo Federals pennant, 1914. So I
bid $1,000, then $2,000, then $3,000…
I was out; I just don’t have that kind of
disposable income. Final bid price? It
sold for $21,500. I could have had it for
sixty dollars. But, those things happen.
So, what’s next?
I never know. I have some holes I
want to fill, but that’s what makes it
fun, the chase, the idea that you never
know when or where you’ll find something. Who knows, maybe something
great is in the attic of an old woman’s
house in Kenmore. Honestly, for me, it’s
not about the money, never has been.
It’s about the chase and the history.
Tom Koller is senior associate athletics director at
The collector (shown with one of his heroes, Joe Ferguson, at right) and his collection