Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press
A basketball jersey believed to have been worn by former President Barack Obama while he was at an elite Honolulu prep school has sold at auction for $120,000.
Heritage Auctions said the No. 23 Punahou School jersey sold in Dallas to a collector of American and sports artifacts who did not want to be identified.
Obama wore that number during the 1978-79 school year.
The jersey was put up for auction by Peter Noble, who was three years behind Obama at Punahou School. He said he grabbed the jersey the summer before his senior year because it was destined for the trash. He said he took it because 23 was his number on the basketball team.
Noble, now 55 and living in Seattle, said years later, after Obama’s first election in 2008, he saw an old photo of the 44th president wearing a No. 23 jersey while a guard on the school’s 1979 Hawaii state championship team.
“I took it because they were getting rid of it,” Noble said. “It meant nothing else, really.”
Noble said he grew up “idolizing” Punahou basketball.
The auction house says details on the shirt match the one Obama, who mostly sat on the bench during his Punahou basketball days, is photographed wearing.
After seeing the photo, Noble said he thought it was interesting and showed the jersey off to friends out of pride for Punahou. Mostly, the shirt remained in his closet, following him during moves to various cities.
Noble says a portion of the sale will go to Punahou School.
“I got to thinking: Is there an opportunity to do something, perhaps good?” he said. “Perhaps have this see a bigger, broader light of day than sitting in my closet.”