DePace Sports Museum opens, offers world-class collection

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Five years in the making, the DePace Sports Museum in Collingswood, New Jersey, is finally opening and sports nuts are going to love it. (WPVI)

Five years in the making and with a treasure trove of sports memorabilia packed inside, the DePace Sports Museum in Collingswood, New Jersey, is finally opening and sports nuts are going to love it.

"When they walk in here, I would like them to feel a sense of awe and inspiration," said Nick DePace Jr., DePace Sports Museum.

Assembled by renowned collector, Dr. Nicholas DePace, a local cardiologist, the collection is valued at more than $30 million.

"My dad was Joe Frazier's cardiologist since the 1980s up until he died back in 2011," said Nick DePace Jr. "We have his and Mohammed Ali's trunks from the fight of the century."

Pennsylvania legend Jim Thorpe's leather football helmet is on display from when he played for the Canton Bulldogs, and there's Mike Schmidt's locker from the old vet stadium. It's considered a world-class collection that includes all sports.

"That or either the best-known example or the only known example. There's a Negro League piece here, it's a trophy. It's the only one on the planet," said Eric Katz, museum curator.

Some of the items have never been seen before and will please sports fans of every age, says the man who got the collection started with a few baseball cards.

"Especially the older people, they love this stuff," said Nicholas DePace Sr., grandfather.

The DePace museum will be open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A $10 donation from adults is requested.
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