Collector Les Wolff Talks on His Experiences with Many Boxers!
By Ken Hissner: Les Wolff is a trusted name in the hobby, having established relationships with many of the greatest names in sports over the years like Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali.
A hobby pioneer, Les was the first to conduct a sports auction via the phone and fax, and live (before the internet became widely available). His company name was Sports Auctions of New York.
That was in the late 1980s, and unlike many other dealers who’ve come and gone since, and he’s still around, providing exceptional service.
He revolutionized the business, with auctions being the first. He is one of the country’s main suppliers to the card companies for vintage and rare autographs. If you want to sell something, always think of Les first. Every autograph Les sells is guaranteed for life.
Wolff has Ali Golden Gloves tix stubs from March 25, 1959, very rare. He has Ali, and Frazier autographed Ron Lewis lithographs with JSA certification.
Les met Ali while in Jamaica High School. He cut school after Ali lost to Joe Frazier and got his autograph. Years later, he sold the jock that Joe Frazier wore to beat Ali in this fight with iron-clad provenance.
KEN HISSNER: What is your opinion over the years of all the different sports athletes you meet?
LES WOLFF: Most boxers are some of the nicest athletes you could ever meet.
KEN HISSNER: Who were some of the greats you met?
LES WOLFF: I met Joe Louis at Hotel Commodore. He was such a nice guy and was so happy to sign autographs and talk boxing.
KEN HISSNER: What are the most expensive items you have?
LES WOLFF: Most expensive boxing autograph I have for sale now is a four-page typed letter signed by Robert Fitzsimmons mentioning Jim Corbett JSA certified. Fitzsimmons is a very rare heavyweight champion autograph.
KEN HISSNER: Who are some of the most interesting you have met?
LES WOLFF: When you meet and talk to the King of boxing, Mr. Bob Arum, you know you are meeting a classy man. Mr. Arum knows more about boxing than most fighters know. I really enjoyed Mr. Arum’s stories.
I am honored to say that Mr. Arum is a friend along with his right-hand man Lee Samuels. My good friend and boxing Hall of Famer Lou DiBella is one of my closest friends in boxing. I wish every person involved in boxing treated boxers like Lou does with class and dignity. Lou really cares about his fighters and everyone he knows.
KEN HISSNER: Have you ever met Alexis Arguello?
LES WOLFF: Yes, I met Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti, along with Mickey Ward and countless others. These great fighters would always sign autographs and reminisce about their fights.
KEN HISSNER: Do you have other favorites?
LES WOLFF: One of my other favorite boxers was Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He would always take time to sign his name and talk boxing with you—what a true champion as a boxer and a human being.
KEN HISSNER: How about other sports favorites you met?
LES WOLFF: My other sports favorites, along with my idols, were Muhammad Ali, who was a friend of mine. I even did a TNT show with him in 1996, showing off my Ali collection to him and the world.
That was such an honor. Mickey Mantle was a super nice guy to me when I met him. I can still remember crying when they both passed away. My childhood memories of these greats are etched in my mind. My first football idol is and will always be Joe Namath. I used to be a Giant fan until I met Joe. Now when I see him, I ask, will the Jets ever win the Super Bowl again?
KEN HISSNER: What are your thoughts on when you meet most boxers?
LES WOLFF: I am always honored to meet the great boxers and wish one day they would have a pension set up to help them.
KEN HISSNER: This has been a very interesting interview, and I want to thank you for taking it.
LES WOLFF: Thank you, Ken. It was a treat to have one of the world’s greatest boxing writers interview me, Les Wolff. I am the collector that had to become a dealer in order to afford my addiction. Check out my website and remember (www.leswolffsportslic.com) to watch my video on how to collect, invest, protect and preserve your collection.
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