By Debbie McArdle
Over a period of 35-40 years, sports and collecting buffs Ron and Chris Maki (a father and son team)
have amassed an amazing collection of Wisconsin sports memorabilia from the earliest possible dates up to the 1960s. They will be exhibiting their rare and varied collection at the upcoming 65th Fall Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association Show and Sale at the Waukesha County Expo Center, Friday and Saturday, October 7 & 8, 2016. The Makis will be on hand to answer any questions and to share their Wisconsin sports knowledge with other enthusiasts.
Unique Items of Badger State Sports History
When Chris Maki is asked to list their most unusual items, a November 1901 football program comes to mind, the cover photo featuring a LIVE badger (named Billee, by the way) on a leash led by “Babe” Spencer, both of them UW mascots. Other favorites? Press badges and pins from the 1957 Milwaukee Braves / Yankees World Series and 1955 All Star Game held in Milwaukee. Plus, a Milwaukee Braves “real face” paper mache sports nodder. As well as old nodders from Milwaukee Braves and Wisconsin Badgers
Chris added, “Everyone loved the Braves, they were immediately successful and Wisconsin – especially Milwaukee – was crazy for them. Attendance records were set. It’s not often that a new team comes along and is so immediately embraced. The Milwaukee Braves represent a time gone by because the Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season.”
One wonders how Chris and Ron have managed to find so many rare items in great condition. Chris explained that when you go to a rummage sale in Milwaukee, you never know when you will find a box of sports programs or pennants from the 1940s or earlier. “We don’t find these things on eBay,” says Chris. “We have to hit the pavement. The fun of it is finding these things at a reasonable price – not paying top price at auction.” So they participate in the perpetual “hunt” the good old-fashioned way!
One time Chris bought some bats at a sale near the county stadium. The name on one of the bats was Bob Botz. A search in the white pages (before the internet) turned up a Mrs. Botz. It was soon discovered, was the mother of the former pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves. Long story short, the chance purchase evolved into lunch with Bob Botz at which time Ron returned Bob’s 1950s bat. Good karma.
WADA Antique Show Offers Something For Everyone
From vintage Christmas to antique cupboards, wander the three large rooms at the show featuring the Midwest’s top dealers from 6 states, each offering a choice variety of authentic & affordable antiques. The Waukesha County Expo Center’s Forum Building, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188, is the home of this semi-annual event. Show hours are Friday, 10-8 and Saturday, 10-5. Enjoy a traditional Wisconsin Fish Fry will be served late Friday afternoon and evening.
Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society will also collect items for their biennial “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction”. Tax deductible receipts will be provided to all donors. The Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association is proud to serve as the founding & continuing sponsor of this event and has donated the booth for collection of objects for the fund-raising auction.
The Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association, founded in 1948, is a not-for-profit organization that produces two antiques shows annually. Admission is $7.00 and funds college scholarships as well as grants to Wisconsin historic and heritage groups. A $1.00 discount coupon for admission to the Antiques Show is available at www.WisconsinAntiquesDealers.com