Rocky Statue Up For Bid

Image courtesy and © Schomberg Studios.

Harvey AbramsPresident of the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History sent me the following press release


ROCKY can be yours!

The bronze statue of Rocky Balboa, the boxer made famous in the Sylvester Stallone movies ROCKY III and ROCKY V, is available to any benefactor who is willing to donate at least $5 million ($5,000,000) to a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation by June 18, 2003.

Don’t bother bringing your moving van to Philadelphia, though. The statue that stands in front of the First Union Spectrum isn’t the one available. It’s the other one that’s available. Actually — it’s ROCKY # 3 that’s available.

The monumental bronze statue of ROCKY is world famous and once stood atop the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The statue was made in 1982 for the Sylvester Stallone movie ROCKY III. After the filming was over, Stallone graciously donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia. What followed was a firestorm of debate.

The Art Museum didn’t want the statue on their steps because they claimed it wasn’t art, but rather just a movie prop. The media and public jumped into the debate. In the end, the statue was moved. The Philadelphia Art Commission, the people responsible for public art in the city, moved the 1,500-pound statue to a new location. Today it stands in front of the First Union Spectrum in South Philadelphia, where other sports art can also be found.

But in State College, Pennsylvania — the hometown of Penn State University — a new organization was seeking sports art from around the world to decorate its planned sports museum. The International Institute for Sport and Olympic History (IISOH) was planning to open a Library and Museum devoted to the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games.
The IISOH, a non-profit educational, literary and research corporation, originally was planning to purchase a 25,000-square-foot building to begin operations in 2005.

But plans changed. Now the group is planning to build a 25,000-square-foot library, 100,000-square-foot museum and a theatre/auditorium, restaurant/cafe, outdoor sculpture gardens, and lots of sports fields and facilities on a campus up to 300 acres in order to enhance its educational mission.

Then along came ROCKY #2 and ROCKY # 3. The president of the IISOHHarvey Abrams, found that the artist had actually made the ROCKY statue in a limited edition of three. So the IISOH signed a contract to buy the remaining statues that have been in storage for 20 years. In fact — they are not even statues — they are still only in the original mold and would be cast in bronze as ROCKY #2/3 and ROCKY #3/3.
The Institute decided that ROCKY # 2 will grace its museum in central Pennsylvania and ROCKY # 3 will be given away as a gift to a major donor. The benefactor has to donate a minimum of $5 million dollars. The IISOHis raising money for the Institute‘s Boxing endowment and Operating Fund. The benefactor is donating money to the non-profit Institute and will eligible for a tax write-off less the actual cost of the statue which will only be revealed after the donation. IRS rules prevail, of course!

The bronze statue is the creation of artist A. Thomas Schomberg, whose monumental bronzes grace museums and estates worldwide. Schomberg created ROCKY in 1982 for Sylvester Stallone and the movie ROCKY III. The statue has been used in other films such as MANNIQUIN (Andrew McCarthy) and PHILADELPHIA (Tom Hanks) as a backdrop. It was used again in ROCKY V and for that film the statue was moved to the Art Museum for filming, then returned to the Spectrum permanently.

Why does the benefactor have until June 18? Well — according to Abrams — a donation of $5 million creates the Boxing Endowment and will also allow the Institute to make the land acquisition and start the design process with architects. Hey — what’s $5 million these days? The IISOH still has to work on the larger $25 million donations that will endow the Library, the Museum and the Theatre.

So — boxing fans — ROCKY can grace your estate if you have the money.
Then after you get it you can build 72 steps so you can run and jump to your heart’s content.

Contact Information:

International Institute for Sport and Olympic History
PO Box 175
State College, PA 16804
tel: (814) 237-8331
fax: (814) 237-8332

Harvey Abrams, President
Bruce Lorich, Treasurer


The International Institute for Sport and Olympic History is a Pennsylvania non-profit educational, literary and research corporation under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The IISOH is organized to operate a Library and Museum devoted to the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games.

I wonder if anyone will make a donation.

– Craig Zablo