I’ve had a few people read The Original Black Panther reach out to me asking about purchasing memorabilia. I’ve parted with a few items as of late, but what I have in hand right now is being saved in the hopes that (a) I can put it on short term display in the Louisville area at some point, and (b) it can go on permanent display in a wrestling hall of fame or African American museum.
That said, there is ONE major piece of Black Panther memorabilia that has yet to be purchased from the original owner. Actually, it’s not one piece. It’s thousands. It’s Jim Mitchell’s pipe collection.
Mitchell loved his pipes. He collected them from all over the world. Some he purchased, some were gifted by friends, and some were gifted by fans. In the personal photos he saved, he is rarely seen without a pipe in hand or in his mouth. Even the art work he saved depicted him with his ever-present smoking pipe.
The gentleman who bought Jim Mitchell’s estate still has the whole collection in storage. He’s waiting on the right price. (No, he won’t even speculate on a figure.) If anyone wants to reach out to him and discuss, please email me at email@example.com. I’ll be happy to share the photos I have with you and relay any offers to the owner.
This is history that needs to be saved and displayed. Spread the word. Let’s do this for “Mitch!”
In 2003 a man named Dave Marciniak was eating out with his girlfriend when he heard a woman mention a home for sale in an historic district in Toledo. Marciniak had been flipping houses for a few decades, and on a whim, he gave the home a look. He paid $11,000 for the house after only seeing the outside, and he went to work.
As fate would have it, the house turned out to be the residence of long-lost wrestling legend, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell. Mitchell had passed away in the 90s, and his widow had only recently passed, leaving the home vacant. Marciniak was not a wrestling fan, but he knew the personal items he found might be worth something. He began saving everything he could, including wrestling boots, letters, licenses, personal photos, souvenirs, programs, suitcases… and the Black Panther’s legendary pipe collection.
Mitchell was an avid tobacco enthusiast, and he collected smoking pipes everywhere he went – from the US to Canada to Japan to Australia to Europe. His fans and friends sent him pipes as well, and in 1962, his collection was appraised at $25,000.
Marciniak has put the collection up for sale to the right bidder. Some photos are posted below. If you’re interested, please contact me (John Cosper) at this website, and I’ll put you in touch!
This is a remarkable collection rife with history. Our hope is to preserve the entire collection and send it some place where it can be treasured and enjoyed by others.