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Colchester Rubber Co. Sneaker Trademarks for Auction

The Colchester Rubber Co. has a significant place in basketball history as the creators of the first basketball sneakers. These sneakers, crafted specifically for Dr. James Naismith—the inventor of basketball who taught the game just 50 miles from the Colchester Rubber factory—played a crucial role in the early development of the sport. Now, their legacy is available for acquisition, as their five vintage trademarks and intellectual property are being auctioned as a package. This presents a unique opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of sports heritage.

In 1891, Dr. James Naismith needed specialized footwear to accommodate the dynamic movements of basketball. Colchester Rubber Co. rose to the occasion, designing and manufacturing the first-ever basketball sneakers. These shoes not only provided the necessary support and flexibility but also set the stage for modern basketball footwear, influencing what would become the Keds and Converse brands.

In September 2017, a grassroots effort launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring back these iconic basketball sneakers based on a 125-year-old design. Discovered at an estate sale and extensively researched by historians, the resulting Colchester ‘National Treasure’ Sneakers showcase elements of the original prototype made for Dr. Naismith. Crafted from vulcanized rubber and hand-dyed canvas, these sneakers were the first of their kind, offering protection for feet during running, jumping, and pivoting on gym floors. Updated for modern casual wear, the Colchester National Treasure shoe model now features a built-in arch, cushioned insole, and metal eyelets, blending vintage style with contemporary comfort. The company also introduced a Low-Top version, both made available in unisex whole sizes 5-14 and vintage colorways.


Additionally, the package includes five trademarks and intellectual property, featuring the “Harry in the Hall” campaign. This campaign advocated for the induction of Harry Lew, recognized as the first African-American professional basketball player, into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Lew joined the New England League’s Pawtucketville Athletic Club in 1902 and fought for racial equality alongside his family. Over his more than 20-year career, Lew played and managed basketball teams, paving the way for future generations in the sport.

Owning these vintage trademarks provides a direct link to the origins of basketball, representing a piece of history that predates the rise of modern athletic brands. The trademarks come with valuable intellectual property that can be utilized in numerous ways, such as launching retro product lines or tapping into the growing market for vintage and nostalgic merchandise.

Investing in the Colchester Rubber Co.’s vintage trademarks is a way to honor and preserve the legacy of a company that significantly influenced the development of basketball. Don’t miss this rare chance to own the trademarks of the first basketball sneakers ever made. The auction concludes on June 21st at midnight, with all five trademarks/IP sold as a package. Secure these trademarks and become a steward of an invaluable piece of sports heritage.

For more information, head to or contact Dtorkelson@cordesco.com for a sealed bid form. USA Registration Numbers for the trademarks and IPs are: 5363613; 3182789; 3847869; 5640822, EU 018285800

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