Massive personal collection of Black history memorabilia to hit the auction block

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New York, Feb. 7 (BNA): A massive personal collection that traces the history of Black Americans and ranges from rare civil rights posters to Muhammad Ali's shoes is set to hit the auction block in late February.


For over 60 years, 90-year-old former teacher Elizabeth Meaders has amassed the collection that fills her Staten Island home. The items document the African-American experience.


"This collection was designed as a patriotic healing and teaching instrument, and it's vitally critically needed because as a further insult to a people, our history was actually left out of the history books of America," said Meaders, who says she traces her ancestry back to one of the first Black families to live on Staten Island.


"So, this collection is a gap filler," she said, according to Reuters.


Guernsey's Auction based in New York is selling what they say is over 20,000 items of Black history memorabilia and artifacts.


"There are several detailed appraisals of this collection produced over the years by highly qualified individuals... and they ranked this collection in the sort of $7 to 10 million range," said Guernsey's President Arlan Ettinger.


"People far more knowledgeable than I have been amazed at the extent of this collection made all the more remarkable, given the fact that Ms. Meaders put it together as a teacher, on a teacher's salary," Ettinger said.


Other objects include items relating to the horrors of slavery, such as branding tools and shackles, newspapers and memorabilia celebrating civil rights demonstrations, letters from segregationists, and sporting, military and other awards won by Black Americans.


The online auction for the collection, which is being sold as a single lot, is set for February 28.


H.F.