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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Blog Kiosk: 8/10/2013 - Dodgers Links -

Andre Ethier was at The Grove yesterday to greet 150 inner-city youth scholars.  Pic via twitter @Dodgers.
  • I shouldn't be shocked, but I am.  Via Ross Gasmer at Dodger Nation, "Dodgers News: Jack Clark Accuses Former Dodger Shawn Green Of PED Use". 
  • Did you know that Kenley Jansen recently recorded 27 straight outs?  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Kenley Jansen & his perfect game".
  • Panini America just release nearly 100 preview photos of their upcoming 2013 Pinnacle Baseball set that will be released next week.  Check out 3 Dodger cards below.
  • The Pedro Guerrero bio at the SABR Biography Project is phenomenal.  Read it here.  (Hat Tip: JP Hoornstra at Inside the Dodgers)
  • The just returned Dodger beat writer Tony Jackson recently spoke with MikedupRadio.  Listen to it here.  BTW, if you didn't already know, Tony Jackson has returned to write about the Dodgers.  Check out his new site here:  He will be the first independent Dodger writer/blogger to try out a business model consisting of a paywall (that will be implemented next Spring).  It'll be fascinating to see how that works out.  I've seen it done for politically minded blogs, but I'm unsure if there are any sports blogs/websites doing it.  Is there a market for this?  One thing I would suggest is that you would really need to offer both free and exclusive content in order to both establish and grow your market (like, Talking Points Memo)
  • "Paco Rodriguez: The most underrated Dodger?"  Via Mark Saxon at ESPN.
  • "Wilson perfect in second rehab outing for Dodgers," via Austin Laymance at

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