What we have here are some the personal artifacts of jockey great Thomas (Tommy) Jefferson Luther, (1908 through 2001) late of Saratoga Springs, NY. This remarkable man, who started his equine career in 1925, did more than just race horses - but more of that in a bit. This collection spans the time frame of 1927 through 1968 and includes clothing, sporting goods, literature, awards, and racing memorabilia, among other items. What first caught my eye was his beautiful - and tiny - racing uniform, called "silks". Check out the beautiful purple shirt with yellow stars. According to racing tradition, the colors of the silks are chosen by the owner of the horse when he registers his ownership of the horse, so perhaps Tommy's horse at the time was simply heavenly!
Here's what Tommy's collection includes:
- His uniform, consisting of his silk shirt, hat, and cotton pants
- Several leather goods, including his signed brown leather saddle and his black leather riding boots trimmed in brown
- Sporting goods, including his riding crop, two pairs of goggles, and a lined fiberglass helmet
- A 103-page illustrated softcover book, "Jockeying for Change", written and signed by author Ron Farra, about Tommy Luther's history
- A group of 26 images, some framed, of early horse racing finishes; many are ambrotypes, an early form of photography in which a glass negative appears positive when displayed on a black background
- A 1928 jockey license ad 17 clubhouse passes
- Racing association memorabilia including rare pins and written correspondences
You can read Tommy's obituary here.
The provenance of this collection, valued at $4,400, is the estate of Tommy Luther.
Many thanks to Stephen Snow of Snow Auctions for allowing me to share this great story with you.
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