[AFRICAN AMERICANA - SPORTS]. Harlem A.C. 2nd place medal.1923-1924.

Gold filled medal, 1 1/2 in. dia., obverse reads, "2nd Place Basketball / P.B.C.," reverse inscribed, "Stanley Piela / Center of Harlem A.C. / 1923-1924" (some surface tarnish and soiling). 

Medal likely belonged to Stanley A. Piela, Sr. (1906-1962), originally from Lodi, Bergen County New Jersey, located across the Hudson River from Harlem, New York. Piela appears to have been an outstanding athlete. His obituary states that as a high schooler and college player he excelled in baseball, basketball, football, and track. He went on to pitch in the Minor Leagues in the late 1920s/early 1930s and was a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals before becoming a teacher, coach, and athletic director at Lodi High School. Piela may have received the medal while playing center for the Harlem A. C. (Athletic Club) of Lodi.

In 1920s Harlem, basketball loomed large as the most popular pastime especially among the burgeoning African American community, with leagues formed by athletic clubs and religious institutions. Teams from nearby communities - both white and black - participated in Harlem leagues sometimes crowding into the local gymnasiums for a chance to see a game. So popular was the sport in Harlem that the nation's first all Black and African American owned professional basketball team, the New York Renaissance (aka "the Harlem Rens"), formed there in 1923.


Estimate: $150 - $300
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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