Antique Tennis Collection For Sale

The following tennis antiques belong to Janet Newberry Howe, a former professional tennis player, who began collecting in 1971. The collection is being sold as a whole, price is $275,000 plus insurance and shipping.

If interested, please contact Jeff Winkler, Attorney at Law, Nationally Ranked Age Division Player and Member of the IC (International Club) phone (727) 825-3610 or

Below are two pictures of the collection. Click on the tabs above to see a close up picture and details for each item.

Oil on Canvas of 1880 Staten Island tournament

Panoramic, vintage oil on canvas of Staten Island tournament – the first international tennis tournament played in the United States in September 1880. Size 78 inches (6 and ½ feet) wide by 54 inches (4 and ½ feet) high. The painting shows the opening day of the historic Staten Island tournament with men playing singles on seven courts. Quoting from “The Tennis Players from pagan rites to strawberries in cream” by T. Todd, “ in the early summer of 1880 the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club decided to promote an Open Championship of America on the club grounds at Camp Washington, St. George, near New York. The tournament started on September 1 in fine weather conditions before a large gathering of spectators. The entry was a large one, 40 in the singles and 18 pairs in the doubles, although not all played. A reporter from the New York Times was present every day.” Three (3) articles from the New York Times dated August 15, September 4 and 7, 1880 were written to advertise and subsequently report on the tournament. It’s obvious from the articles about the event that everything about the game, i.e., the rules, scoring, height of net, size of balls, was in its infancy in America. The great historical significance of the Staten Island tournament is that it led directly to the formation of the United States Lawn Tennis Association. “In an endeavor to get an agreed code of rules for the game E.H. Outerbridge, at the conclusion of the 1880 championships, suggested the desirability of forming a national association. He later recalled “This event (the 1880 championships) led me to suggest immediately after the tournament closed that there ought to be a National Lawn Tennis Association that would promulgate uniform rules for all tournaments held under its auspices. This meeting was held at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York on May 21, 1881. Thirty-three clubs were represented, and many matters were brought up to show that if the game was to succeed in the United States some definite rules must be adopted which would fully cover all such points regarding the weight and size of the balls, the height of the net, and various other questions which had come up during the season of 1880. After some discussion, the rules of the Marylebone Cricket Club and All England Lawn Tennis Club were adopted bodily for the ensuing year, and a constitution and byelaws were immediately drawn up”. Provenance. The original wood engraving of this painting appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in September 1880. It was drawn by H.A. Ogden whose ultimate fame was for depictions of military dress. With Ogden’s expertise in this area it’s logical to assume that the outfits in the painting are accurate with the gentleman in the foreground wearing knickers and high socks while his opponent is in long tennis whites. The painting has been in a collector’s possession since 1979 when it was purchased from dealers at an antique show in Saratoga Springs, New York. The dealers had acquired the painting from the sale of artifacts from Toots Shor’s restaurant in New York City. Toots Shor and his namesake restaurants were famous from 1940 to 1969 for catering to athletes, actors, politicians and celebrities – but most of all Toots loved the athletes. “The Wonderful World of Toots Shor” written by John Bainbridge in 1951 describes Toots Shor’s famous eating and drinking establishment on 51st Street, Manhattan, as the country’s unofficial sports headquarters. Chapter two of the book gives details of the interior of the three story building, “another dining room, seating two hundred and fifty and accessible from the lobby by an elevator and a wide staircase, occupies the second floor; its walls are decorated with murals, or what Shor calls “hand-painted pictures”, depicting historic sporting events”. This would date the painting to approximately 70 years old. Rare piece of Tennis Americana.

Pair of bronze statues of early court tennis players - Pre 1869

French. 11” high. These statues are signed Barye. Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) was a French sculptor most famous for his work as an animalier, a sculptor of animals. Court or Royal or Real Tennis was the original game of tennis. One of the charming, unique features of these statues is that the men are interacting together. Barye has integrated his love of animals into the composition by showing one of the gentlemen playfully about to serve a cat (instead of a ball) while the other gentleman player is laughing at his friends antics. Very difficult to find a pair of statues of this age still together and in good condition. The only other pair I’ve seen are in the Wimbledon Museum.

Pen and Ink Sketch of Frogmore Hall - Dated 1879

Signed G. Hudson. Dated 1879. 7 inches high by 10 inches wide. Charming original drawing showing a mansion in the background, a lawn tennis net in the foreground and a couple with racquets holding hands (it looks like the lady is wearing a tennis apron) while their chaperones, perhaps, rest under a tree. This picture reinforces one of the main reasons for the popularity of lawn tennis – it was a socially acceptable way for young men and women to spend time together. The original house was built in 1863 and was the residence of G.B. Hudson (perhaps the artist) who was a member of parliament for the Hitchin Division of Hertforshire. Obviously someone with the wealth to build this mansion was also up to date on the latest social fads, i.e., lawn tennis. This is a small piece but it’s the earliest dated original piece of artwork I’ve come across showing the new game of lawn tennis. Rare.

Statue of a Lady Tennis Player - Circa 1880’s

20” high. Spelter. The lady is holding a ball in one hand and an early sphairistike racquet. Normally a player with this type of racket would be hitting a shuttlecock. She is a very early non-ceramic figure of a lady tennis player.

Painting of Ladies Playing Doubles - Circa 1880’s

13” wide by 9” high. One lady is picking up balls while the other three ladies are chatting at the net. The ladies’ attire, the ball pocket on one lady’s dress, and the white center service line extending the length of the court depict an early, charming, sociable lawn tennis outing. Very hard to find original tennis art work of this age.

Lop headed tennis racket - Circa 1870/1880’s

25” long by 8” wide. Bar Harbor, Maine. Strings intact. No warping. Wonderful simple construction. One can see how the racket was made out of one piece of bent wood. Very rare to see a racket where the stringing extends down into the throat. Handle is lovely and smooth from play. The racket came out of a wealthy Bar Harbor estate. Bar Harbor, Maine in the 1880’s was a charming, get away summer resort for the well-to-do (Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller was born there) along the lines of Newport, Rhode Island. Extremely rare. Earliest strung racket I’ve ever seen with American provenance. Great piece of Tennis Americana.

Wicker rocker with tennis racket and tennis ball motif - Circa 1900’s

36” high by 24” wide. Beautiful natural condition. It was probably made by Heywood/Wakefield. The two companies were the premier wicker manufacturers in the United States in the late 19th century and became a joint business in 1897. Rare.

Oil on canvas of beautiful lady hitting a backhand with a convex wedged racket - Circa 1910’s

Painting is 18” in circumference. The size is 24” overall with the original frame. The painting was either purchased from and/or framed by art dealer William Clausen whose label is on the back of the frame. The label reads W. Clausen, 381 Fifth Avenue, New York, Paintings, Etchings, Engravings. There are articles in the New York Times describing painting exhibitions at Clausen’s Art Gallery at the 381 Fifth Avenue address as early as 1902 and 1905. The beautiful woman has a look of a Gibson or Harrison Fisher girl but I’ve never seen this original painting reproduced as a print. It’s a little amazing to see how risqué she is but perhaps she was representative of the emancipation of women, i.e., the battle for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote in August 1920. Rare.

Boxed set of Panama rackets - Circa 1916

Set includes the wooden box , four (4) Panama rackets and a net. The rackets have the name on the throat and the date 1916 on the top of the frame. Obviously, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1915 – connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – was such an important, historic event that companies named their items “Panama” in order to promote their products. The world was growing and expanding. This set is in the same time frame when the U.S. Championships out grew Newport, Rhode Island and moved to the West Side Tennis Club in 1915. It’s also the first year, 1916, that Bill Tilden played in the U.S. Championships.

Garniture Clock and Statue Set - Circa 1920’s

Clock is 22” high by 14” wide. Statues are 18” high by 8” wide. Circa 1920’s. Spelter. Man is dressed in long pants and the woman is wearing a knee length dress and bandeau, a la Suzanne Lenglen. Extremely decorative set but the clock is not in working condition. A garniture is a group of decorative objects made as a set to be prominently displayed on a mantel or buffet table. Sets always come in odd numbers where the centerpiece might be a clock, for example, surrounded by a pair of similar themed objects. It’s hard to find a garniture all together (with breakage or disbursal of estate items to different family members) so it’s always more impressive and valuable to have a complete set.

Original oil on canvas of spectator at Forest Hills - Dated 1976

22” wide by 20” high. Signed Dwyer. Although the painting is dated 1976, the artist must have based his art work on sketches done when the tournament was still on grass. The West Side Tennis Club had a large stadium but this painting is the perfect depiction of a spectator watching a match on an outside court. It captures the exact feel of being there with the low green fence, the distance from the fence to the court on some of the field courts and the single, wood, fold up chairs for seating. This was the end of an era for the U.S. Open (before it changed the surface to clay for a few years) but also, more importantly, when the popularity of the game necessitated a move to a larger venue at Flushing Meadows.

Original Virginia Slims Tennis "Ginny" - Circa early 1970’s

5ft. high by 2 ½ ft. wide. Two sided. Painted metal. “Ginny” is dressed in a yellow and black outfit and holding a tennis racket. “Ginny” is the image and logo that Philip Morris created to promote women’s professional tennis - the Virginia Slims circuit. “Ginny” was on everything, including the players’ dresses created by Teddy Tinling for Virginia Slims. This “Ginny” was used by a promoter of the Virginia Slims tennis tournaments in Florida. In the history of the sport, there are two things that represent and symbolize the rise of women’s professional tennis – Billie Jean King and “Ginny”. Rare piece of Tennis Americana.

Pair of Mixed Doubles Tennis Motif Chairs - Circa 1990’s

French style. Down filled. Very comfortable. Not antique but very fun and appropriate for a reception area, meeting room, library or living room of anyone who loves tennis. The main reason the chairs are included is to show the size of “Ginny”.

In addition, the collection consists of a variety of other objects.

  1. Ted Tinling Dresses. Circa 1970's. Collection of the tennis dresses by the most famous tennis dress designer, Ted Tinling. When Virginia Slims first sponsored women's tennis, the company hired Ted to make dresses for the women on the tour.
  2. World Team Tennis Suitcase. Circa 1974. Boston Lobsters red suitcase for team travel during the inaugural year of team tennis.
  3. Bronze Tennis Lady. Circa 1920. Lady hitting a running forehand.
  4. Multiple Ceramic Tennis Figures. Circa 1900. Including a pair of Heubach boy and girl players mounted as lamps.
  5. Painting of the Clubhouse and Grounds of Merion Cricket Club. Merion was one of the premier tennis events leading up to Forest Hills.
  6. Helen Wills Photo and Drawing. Photo of Helen Wills wearing visor that includes a little picture Helen drew of herself in profile with visor.
  7. Two Tennis Lady Pillows. Circa 1920's. One lady in hat and one wearing a visor.
  8. Two Tennis Fans of Lady Players. Framed. One circa 1910 in sepia tones and one circa 1920 in color serving.
  9. Silhouette of Lady Player. Framed. Circa 1920's.
  10. Two Calendars. Framed. One of pretty lady player circa 1909 and one from 1912.
  11. Fabric picture of two ladies playing. Framed. Circa 1910.
  12. Fabric of mixed doubles players. Framed. Circa 1920's.
  13. Lawn Tennis Costume print. Framed. Circa 1890.
  14. Trifold Fashion Illustration. 1887. From the La Moda Elegante Illustrada. Madrid.
  15. Multiple Magazine Covers featuring lady players. Framed. Circa 1890 to 1920.
  16. Wood Racquet Press for Multiple Raquets. Circa 1900.
  17. Tape Measure. Circa 1890. For laying out a court.
  18. Wood Carved Figure of Lady Player. Circa 1940's.
  19. Group of Valentines with Tennis Motif. Framed. Circa 1900-1920.
  20. Sunday Wimbledon Program. 1997. Rare for Wimbledon to play on the middle Sunday. Signed on the front by the player who would be the Champion that year, Martina Hingis, the youngest champion since Lottie Dod.
  21. Small Bronze Figure of Lady in Bandeau Hitting A Smash. Circa 1920's.
  22. Pencil box. Circa 1890. Children playing with diagonally strung racquets.
  23. Hagenauer Figure. Little but charming - about 3" high. Circa 1920's. Lady in visor hitting a backhand.
  24. Cameo. Circa 1910. Lady holding a racquet.
  25. Serena and Venus Williams Dolls. Circa 2000. In their boxes.
  26. Group of Old Racquets. About forty (40). Olympics, All Comers, Davis Cup, Dreadnought Driver, Fishtail, Dayton Steel, Yale, Forehand/Backhand.
  27. Barber Bottle Set. Circa 1900. Mary Gregory cobalt blue three piece set including two single bottles with a boy and girl and the large jar featuring the boy and girl hitting a ball over a net.
  28. Napkin Ring. Silverplate. Circa 1900. Crossed racquets.
  29. Inkwell. Circa 1900. Young girl with racquet.
  30. Lustreware. Circa 1820's. Lady and child with battledores and shuttlecock.
  31. Photo Album. Circa 1910. Pretty lady with racquet on cover.
  32. Watercolors of two lady players in circa 1900 tennis costumes. Probably later as lady wearing the hat was on the cover of an early magazine, perhaps the Ladies Home Journal.
  33. Framed signed Edmund Magrath print dated 1909 of attractive male and female with racquets.
  34. Framed French poster circa 1890's of young woman with strung racquet and a shuttlecock.
  35. Two charming petite framed embroideries circa 1900 of man and woman hitting the ball to each other.