Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Vintage 1966 "Tour of Japan" Sandy Koufax "Volpe" Tumbler

This item I ran into a couple of weeks ago is just awesome.  In fact, I made a serious run at winning it on eBay.  Unfortunately, it was not to be. Other, more aggressive buyers got into a bidding war.  It closed at $104.49.

Featured here is a 1966 thermal tumbler/cup featuring the artwork of Nicholas Volpe.  Sports collectors may know his work from a series of American made tumblers made from the mid to late 60's and portrait drawings in later years distributed by Union Oil. 

This particular tumbler is totally unique to me.  The featured Sandy Koufax tumbler was created especially for the Dodgers "Tour of Japan" in 1966, and appears to have been given out by Maruzen Oil.  I do not know if other players exist. 

At a selling price of over $100, it sold at quite a premium.  You can get his American 1960's tumblers for about $10 to $20 a piece.  In 1965 a set of 12 Dodgers were produced and sold as premiums at Union Oil.

Nicholas Volpe won the Tiffany Foundation Art Scholarship Award out of college.  He then studied at New York City's Leonardo da Vinci Art School and became Dean of Arts at Jacksonville College in Florida.  Soon, he began painting portraits and this is where he really started to become well known.  He moved to Hollywood and did work on movie sets, and commissioned work for Union Oil doing drawings of various sports teams.  He even won a lifetime commission from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create Oscar portraits.  Volpe passed away in 1992.  His work was often mass produced and is therefore very affordable.
(Auction Link)

Since we are on the topic of the Volpe tumblers, I thought I would mention something about the Dodger tumblers sold by Union Oil in 1965.  I do not have a complete set of my own, but do have a couple sitting in my collection.  One of these days I'll have to seek the rest of them out.
(Auction Link)

The complete Dodger set consist of 12 tumblers.  See them in the photos above and below.  Players include Sandy Koufax, Tommy Davis, Willie Davis, Ron Fairly, John Kennedy, Jim Lefebvre, Ron Perrankoski, Claude Osteen, John Roseboro, Maury Wills, Wes Parker and Don Drysdale. Only the Drysdale is missing in the photos shown here.  You can check out this lot of Dodger tumblers on this eBay auction, right here.
(Auction Link)

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1 comment:

  1. I'm the guy that bought this on ebay (sorry to outbid you!) I ran across your site (great site btw) trying to find more about these, but haven't had any luck. Just to add, this one is smaller that the US Volpe tumblers. It's only 4 1/4" tall and almost fits inside the US version. If anyone has any others please comment so we know what's out there.


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