OCEAN, N.J. – Joshua Leland Evans, founder and chairman of the board of Lelands sports memorabilia auction house, passed away on December 27 after a lengthy illness. He was 59.
Known to his many friends simply as “Josh,” Evans grew up around antiques and collectibles and learned the trade from his mother and father, Maxine and the late Stuart Evans. Josh’s parents were staples on the antique show circuit and, in the pre-Internet days, operated a successful toy and collectibles auction business called Tiques.
A tribute on Lelands’ website describes Josh’s legacy and how it evolved from his love for sports memorabilia:
“Josh was a pioneering visionary, a passionate industry advocate, and a highly respected expert. We have lost and will dearly miss a larger-than-life personality who was omnipresent at industry events and touched countless lives during his 50+ years of buying, collecting, and selling the “stuff” (as he lovingly referred to collectibles). [He] came of age in an early era of sports collecting where money was not the motivating factor. Instead, it was a reverence and love for the stuff and those who made sports history that drove his and fellow enthusiasts’ passions.’
“When he founded Lelands after graduating from college in the mid-1980s, Josh did not know that trading cards and sports collectibles would someday develop into a multi-billion-dollar industry. But he did know there were countless fans who shared his passion and that a marketplace to buy and sell the stuff would afford him the opportunity to make a living while enjoying his daily work.”
Josh is survived by his mother, Maxine, and sister, Andrea. A memorial service will be scheduled in the future to allow for a safe gathering. Josh is in the care of Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels in Ocean, New Jersey. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Josh’s memory to the Kidney Transplant Fund at St. Barnabas Medical Center. To make an online donation, click here. Select “Kidney Transplant” as the designation and select “Tribute Gift” in memory of Joshua L. Evans.
To make a memorial donation by mail: Write on the check or enclose a note with the message “Kidney Transplant Fund in memory of Joshua L. Evans” and send to:
St. Barnabas Medical Center
95 Old Short Hills Road
West Orange, NJ 07052
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