Regular price $65.00

Mary Ann Kostecki (August 11, 1934 – May 12, 2008), better known by her stage name Penny Banner, was a professional wrestler. She was best known for her time spent in the American Wrestling Association. She was also the Commissioner of the Professional Girl Wrestling Association (PGWA) from 1992 until her death. Kostecki began her career in wrestling as a way to learn how to defend herself outside of the ring. She came up with the name "Penny Banner" because she admired Charlton Heston, who used the surname Banner in a movie, and the first name Penny was also significant to her. She held many titles in her career, including the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship three times between 1956 and 1960 and the AWA World Women's Champion in 1961. In 1959, a match with NWA Champion June Byers, which ended in a draw, although Byers had consistently beat her in matches for three years prior. She was then booked into a match with Byers in Indiana for the newly formed American Wrestling Alliance (AWA) in August 1961, but Byers no-showed. Instead of their scheduled match, the AWA booked a battle royal, which Banner won to become the first AWA Women's Champion. She vacated the title when she moved to North Carolina with her husband and child. During her career, Banner had her nosed ripped up and her elbow dislocated. Banner claimed that she retired in 1977 after June Byers, who owned the NWA Women's Championship, retired because of a car accident, and that Moolah had corned much of the national women's wrestling scene with her trainees and herself, which left Banner with nobody to wrestle in the Carolinas. In her last twenty years of wrestling, Banner was only defeated twice: once by Moolah and once by Belle Start, both of whom used the ropes for leverage while pinning Banner. Banner went on five dates with Elvis Presley between 1956 and late 1958. He also frequently saw her wrestle in Memphis. Their last date was one week before he left to join the army, and they never saw each other again. She was married to Johnny Weaver for 35 years before divorcing him in 1994. She had one child, a daughter named Wendi, whom she was pregnant with in 1959. In late 2005, Banner was diagnosed with cancer. In February 2006, the cancer had shrunk considerably after a doctor's check-up. In late 2007, Banner suffered several health crises, including pneumonia, resulting in severe weight loss. She died in her sleep at the home of her daughter, Wendi, in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 12, 2008. Offered here is a signed photograph of Penny Banner.
This is a black & white promotional photograph of Penny Banner in her most famous pose. Boldly signed at bottom in blue sharpie. Bold, clear image. Clean front and back. Not creased or torn. LOA from Power Play Sportscards of Las Vegas who performed the private signing session with Banner. 8" x 10."

Size: 8 x 10

Condition: near mint