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Guest commentary: Sports Art For Less Than $100,000

by Russ Cohen

There is an eBay auction that caught my eye specifically because it had some “vintage” New York Rangers included in it. This 1968 Leroy Neiman oil painted masterpiece is valued at around $200,000 but the 89-year-old painter will let it go for $89,000.

The players involved are pretty special. That “No. 1” for the Rangers was Eddie Giacomin and his number has been hanging from the rafters from Madison Square Garden since 1989. It was the second number retired by the franchise. I love the way he’s playing so deep in the net (without a mask), very few goalies do that these days.

No. 15 “The Chief” Jim Neilson was a steady blueliner for the Blueshirts for a dozen seasons. No doubt he was keeping the crease clear for Giacomin.

Now No. 26 is a mystery because the Rangers didn’t have a player with that number on the roster that season.  What probably happened was the artist misread the player’s number and that’s how you get 26.

After further review I believe that’s No. 16, another defenseman, Rod Seiling. A very solid player and that player in the painting looks to be six feet tall.

No. 4 on St. Louis was Noel Picard (later in his career his famous trip of Bobby Orr gave him flight on that famous game-winner in the 1970 Stanley Cup) and No. 7 Gordon “Red” Berenson, who went on to be a famous NCAA coach for the University of Michigan. He has led that team to 10 Frozen Four Championships and two National Championships. During that ’68 season Berenson potted six goals against the Philadelphia Flyers.

If one has the cash, they shouldn’t let this one get away …

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