All colleges have an undeniable level of school spirit and pride. Students and alumni take pride in their time at the college, viewing it as a formative experience in their lives, and often what set them on the life path they took. The friends they made and the times they had are intimately connected to the name of the school and the school sports team. Very few colleges, however, have as strong a history of school spirit and pride as Yale University in New Haven. Yalies have always had an attachment to their school, its history, and its traditions. In consequence, Yale memorabilia is something that always fetches high price at auction. As a Connecticut auction house, Nest Egg Auctions has handled a variety of pieces of Yale memorabilia, from yearbooks and prints to ceramics and even a crew oar. Yale’s history is part of Connecticut’s history, and we at Nest Egg Auctions are proud to have a place in that history.

Yale stained glass window. ca. late 19th - early 20th century.

History (and Boola Boola)

Yale has its origins way back in colonial history. In 1701, the Connecticut legislature established a college in the tradition of European liberal arts universities. It was renamed Yale College in 1718 after Elihu Yale, a British merchant, donated a significant amount of money and books to the school. Yale men fought in the American Revolution and signed the Declaration of Independence. It quickly grew to be among the most prestigious schools in the United States, with many alumni among the rich and powerful of the young country. It was an academic powerhouse from the very beginning, and even awarded the first Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in the United States. In addition, Yale was a place of sporting excellence and invention: the modern game of football was invented on Yale’s campus by noted Yalie Walter Camp in 1880, and the famed Yale-Harvard Regatta, an annual rowing race between the two Ivy League schools, was first rowed in 1852.

Yale Felt Pennant. ca. early to mid 20th century.

Two lasting traditions of Yale emerged around the turn of the century. The first was the adoption of a mascot in Handsome Dan. The bulldog is still Yale’s mascot, and is one of Yale’s most lasting calling cards. The second is Yale’s fight song, Boola Boola. Written by Yalie A.M. Hirsch in 1901, this tune is perhaps America’s most famous fight song. These two pieces of Yale’s history are among the most famous, and are readily recognized by those in the New Haven area and beyond.

"Well Rowed Yale" Lithograph of Handsome Dan. After 1890 original painting. ca. late 19th - early 20th century.

Famous Yale Alumni

Yale has had a great many famous alumni, stretching back to the colonial period. Noted American Patriot Nathan Hale, a spy of the Americans against the British in the Revolutionary War, was a graduate of Yale College. So was Jonathan Edwards, the famous Congregationalist minister of the colonial era who delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Five United States presidents have studied at Yale, the first being William H. Taft and the most recent George W. Bush. Of the current Supreme Court, four justices are graduates: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Brett Kavanaugh. Countless other politicians, artists, writers, and more graduated from the school, making Yale’s alumni among the most powerful group in the world.

Graham Peck, "Yale College". Hand colored lithograph. 1914.

Yale Memorabilia

Because of its long history and its proud graduates, there is a special market for Yale memorabilia. Yale memorabilia takes a variety of forms, from fine china sets to sporting memorabilia and works of fine art. Nest Egg Auctions has had the opportunity to sell a variety of very interesting pieces. Three are highlighted in particular here.

Photograph of 1888 Yale Bulldogs Football team. From 1888 Photo Year Book.

One particularly intriguing piece we have sold was a photo year book from 1888. This was a magnificent piece, full of pictures of various sports teams and organizations around campus. This was a rare find, and a piece of historical importance. It sold for an incredible price of over $4,600!

1948 Yale Crew Oar and Photo.

Another interesting piece is a commemorative oar from the 1948 Yale Crew team. It has the names of the nine men who rowed in the lead varsity boat (8 rowers and a coxswain). Rowing is a major sport at Yale, and has a history dating back to the mid 19th century. Like the 1888 photo album, this was a tangible piece of Yale history.

Finally, Nest Egg has also sold an early colored lithograph of Yale’s buildings. This is an early, mid 19th century testament to Yale’s history. In addition, its coloring allows a vision of Yale to appear more closely to as it would have appeared at the time.

Selling Yale Memorabilia at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions has sold many pieces of Yale memorabilia, and they often bring a premium at our auctions. This is due to our location in Central Connecticut. We are not far from New Haven; one could probably leave our facility and be on Yale’s campus in half an hour. As such, we see a great deal of Yale memorabilia around us, and we are where people turn to sell or buy Yale memorabilia. Given the University’s illustrious history, we are very proud to facilitate the sale of these wonderful pieces.

Selling Yale Memorabilia at Nest Egg Auctions

Have Yale memorabilia that you'd like to sell? Nest Egg Auctions would love to sell it for you for the highest price!