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1975 Sports Superstars Ceramic Tiles Ain't Poor-Sellin

Ceramic tiles might be the last items you would have thought to be produced when considering all the collectibles manufactured during the 1970s, but they were. These 4 ½" square porcelain tiles feature 12 incredible sports stars, one allocated per month for 1975. Some of the stars  included in this set are the likes of the "Sultant of Swat" - Babe Ruth, " The Galloping Ghost" - Red Grange, and "Mr. Hockey" - Gordie Howe, just to name a few.







The manufacturer of these sports tiles was Wenczel Tile Co., which operated two locations in the United States: one in the north, in Trenton, New Jersey, and the other in the south, in Tampa, Florida. During the 1970s, Wenczel was one of the biggest producers of tiles in North America, giving them the means to produce a wide range of uniquely themed tiles, one of which is this eye-catching set of twelve different sports calendar tiles.







Traversing through this group of tiles, starting off in January with Gold Medal winning downhill skier Barbara Cochran. Joe Louis, who is arguably one of the best boxers of all time, didn't have to fight his way into this set for February. Running through to the month of March is Jesse Owens, certainly one of the best track and field athletes from times long gone by. Billy Jean King, who dominated the tennis of the 1970's holds court for the month of April. 







Championing the month of June is Bobby Jones, the unbelievable golfing sensation of the 1920's. Jockeying his way into the seventh spot of July is Eddie Arcaro, the first to win the Kentucky Derby five times and the Triple Crown twice, nuff said. Although August has no name printed on the tile, however the seven gold medals shown could only belong to one phenomenal swimmer, Mark Spitz.    

Not every one of the 12 famous sports figures tiles is made equally; some have a brief biography, some have just their name, and two have no name at all, including Mark Spitz for August and an unknown lady bowler for the month of September. Despite this, an action scene and a facial image are applied to every tile.



 





Bill Russell jumps into November, and even though his tile just reads "Olympics-Professional Star-Manager," it was so fitting that he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

The first three tiles:  May- Ruth, October - Grange and December- Howe are bypassed through this article's monthly sports star review however, these three definitely need no explanation.


Though this writer can only vouch for one complete set he purchased approximately eighteen years ago, and has only noticed the occasional single that has entered the marketplace since. There likely might be some survivors, still mounted behind a bar on a wall in an antiquated basement somewhere? 


With the star power scarcity of this set, don't be surprised what some might pay to have their favourite star baked on ceramic, either way it will probably be the most expensive tile you will ever purchase for your home. 


Further information on this and other rare collectibles can be found on needuum.com


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