Or your den, living room, or memorabilia room, with the fantastic array of memorabilia we’re offering in this weekend’s auction.
Our favorite is not even sports-related. It’s an advertising poster from the Duke’s Cigarettes 1889 N70 Actors & Actresses “in the costumes of all nations” set. The set was extremely popular, and while the cards and picture albums are relatively plentiful (and widely collected) today, the advertising banner is extraordinarily rare, with just a few existing copies known. The banner was considered by Burdick to be important and rare enough to have its own ACC designation (G40), and remains highly sought-after today.
The colorful banner measures approximately 14″ x 28 1/2″ and features images of each of the cards in the set, surrounding a color image of one of the era’s leading actresses, Lillian Langtry. Exquisitely printed with rich colors and gold inks, the banner is framed on a green background with an ornate gold frame to 18″ x 33″.
While displaying incredibly, the piece is in fair condition with various elements of wear throughout. Still, it looks fantastic, with few of the flaws visible at a distance, and none detracting from the immense eye appeal of this amazing piece. In this case, the metal top and bottom reinforcements are completely intact, as is the loop at the top meant for hanging. This is an extraordinary piece with exceptional eye appeal, one of few examples known to exist, a document of an important and popular 19th Century non-sports set.
Of course we’ve got sports too, highlighted by this framed, typed and handwritten letter from Ty Cobb. The letter, written in late June of 1957 (partially typewritten with an extensive handwritten postscript in Cobb’s customary green ink), seeks helps for tax purposes. The letter, written to sportscaster Joe Clement of KLIX in Twin Falls, Idaho, asks Clement to help Cobb prove to California state tax collectors that he was actually a Nevada resident and should not owe taxes in California. The entire piece, framed alongside a color copy (so that both front and back can be read) and two pictures of Cobb, measures approximately 24″ x 31″, and makes for an exquisite display, particularly in an an attorney or accountant’s office (or a member of the IRS).
Few framed pieces that we’ve seen have been more interesting or attractive than this cloth tapestry, depicting a batter and catcher, awaiting a pitch. Expertly framed (in a modern but very attractive ornate wood frame) to approximately 25″ x 29″, the piece is a sort of textile that features a repeating pattern of the two ballplayers and a floral arrangement.
Whether the piece was intended to be some sort of wallhanging, a curtain, a bed sheet, or something else is of little concern to us – the craftsmanship is wonderful and in its frame makes for a beautiful display. A wonderful example of expert 19th Century craftsmanship coupled with the explosive growth of baseball as our national pastime at the dawn of a new century.
Equally interesting are the pieces of folk art that serve as examples of how baseball seeped into all aspects of people’s lives during the ascent of the game’s popularity in the early 1900s. Framed to approximately 23″ x 22″ (in a modern frame), this folk art bear “Cub,” wearing a cap and holding a bat, was likely intended to be a decorative pillowcase or pillow topper for a young baseball fan. In apparent VG/EX condition (we cannot view the reverse of the piece due to the frame), the stitching is still in decent shape, and the cloth itself, while stained in places, is attractive and the embroidery intact.
Of course if you’re interested in more modern memorabilia, we’ve got plenty of that as well. This attractive, limited edition giclee on canvas by contemporary artist Karen O’Neil Gancie (KONG) was derived from her original oil painting in 2001. Somewhat of a Renaissance woman, Ganci was a contestant on the 2004 reality television series Big Brother 5, has received a music production deal, has been a spokesmodel for Hush Fragrances, and, of course, is a well-known sports and entertainment artist. Her work has been commissioned for Michael Irvin, Roger Clemens, David Wells, and the cast of The Sopranos.
The painting itself, depicting Yankee captain Derek Jeter, is surrounded by images of New York, with two images of Jeter. The giclee features the Steiner and MLB Authentic holograms, indicating the authenticity of the Jeter signature, which is clearly visible against the white of Jeter’s uniform.
Elegantly framed on a black background, the famous Chicago Bulls #23 jersey has been emblazoned with the most highly sought-after signature of any modern player: that of Michael Jordan. Jordan’s exploits with the Bulls are legendary; he’s often called the greatest basketball player of all time and at least belongs in the discussion among those fans that won’t give him the title outright.
The jersey is in incredible condition, signed and framed shortly thereafter, with no signs of use whatsoever, The paper on the reverse of the frame has been peeled away in one corner – by us – so that we could remove the 1986 Fleer rookie card that was once part of this display. The card had fallen from its spot in the upper left side of the frame, and we felt it best to remove it altogether and offer it as a separate item (you can find it in the Featured Items section of this auction).
We’re also offering this gorgeous light blue UNC jersey, emblazoned with Jordan’s name and number, framed on a black background in an oversized frame to approximately 33″ x 39″, with Jordan’s signature in the white #2.
Jordan memorabilia remains extraordinarily valuable and highly sought after by collectors. Jordan’s signature is also one of the most frequently forged in the hobby, even today being considered one of the “most dangerous autographs” by PSA. With authentication from Upper Deck Authentic, this jersey, in excellent condition, could benefit by being re-framed (this frame has significant chipping around the frame itself), but remains an outstanding display piece.
Another lovely display, featuring 22 Negro League superstars, this artist proof from famed sports artist Ron Lewis was conceived as a tribute to superstar Leon Day. The 24″ x 30″ lithograph features the images of 20 Negro League greats underneath the angelic images of Day and Satchell Paige, old rivals meeting each other once more. The print, beautifully matted and framed to a size of approximately 31 1/2 x 39″, has been signed and numbered by the artist (6/150), and additionally signed in blue ink by each of the 20 living Negro League stars depicted in the painting, which includes such names as Buck Leonard, Monte Irvin, Armando Vasquez, Buck O’Neil, Wilmer Harris, Joe Black and more.
Few baseball names are more recognizable than that of Yogi Berra, and this oversized (33 1/2 x 42″) giclee on canvas of the Yankee great, posed with the “tools of ignorance” has been signed in silver by Yogi. An outstanding piece, marking the greatness of one of baseball’s elder statesmen and most popular figures.
It’s every minor leaguer’s dream: a trip to “The Show.” Throughout the turn of the century, countless minor league, town, factory, and other amateur teams dotted the landscape, filled with players with the same dream. Some made it; some didn’t.
Our “Opening Day” auction recognizes that the minors are as much a part of baseball as The Show, a colorful and timeless piece of Americana that is a huge component of baseball history. A few highlights:
This beautiful Type 1 photo features one of New Jersey’s earliest minor league teams, the Jersey City Skeeters. The team joined the Eastern League in 1902, the first season they moved to the brand-new West Side Park, an 8,500-seat ballpark near the Jersey City train station. The team became immensely popular very quickly, and the team won the Eastern League championship in 1903.
Pictured here is the 1902 team, a team that featured multiple future major leaguers (and eventual subjects in the T206 set). Though a kind former owner took the liberty of identifying the players depicted, not much additional research is required to identify the members of the team. Using the pencil markings at the top as a guideline, players are as follows:
FRONT ROW (L-R): John Barnett, John Butler, Stephen Griffin, George Pfanmiller, Jocko Halligan, and Gene McCann. BACK ROW (L-R): Billy Shindle, Frank McManus, Edward Fertsch, Charlie Carr, Walt Woods, George Schoch, Wally Clement, and Mickey Doolin.
Also from 1902, this cabinet photo of the Little Rock Travelers identifies Jim Delehanty, one of five baseball-playing brothers, who had a 13-year major league career. While Delehanty is identified on the grading label, this team composite cabinet photo includes many other players who got a trip to The Show, including:
- Frank Martin (top left), who played 20 major league games with three teams between 1897-99 including the 1897 Louisville Colonels, Honus Wagner’s team.
- Jack Gilbert (top center), who played in 3 games with the Senators and Giants in 1898, and 25 more with the 1904 Pirates.
- Whitey Guese (bottom center), who pitched in 6 games with the 1901 Reds.
- John Skopec (bottom row, second from right), who went 6-3 with the 1901 White Sox, and 2-2 with the 1903 Tigers.
- Connie Murphy (top right), who pitched 7 games with the 1893 and 94 Reds.
- Pat Wright (middle right), who played one game at second base and had three at bats with the 1890 Chicago Colts.
- Charlie Moran, who played four games with the 1903 Cardinals, and 21 more with the 1908 team.
In several cases, it is our opinion that the player images depicted on this cabinet may be the cleanest existing photographs of the players depicted. For those counting, that’s 14 players depicted and eight major leaguers. This Southern Association team competed several rungs below The Show, talent-wise, so such a high percentage of players making it to the majors is certainly unique.
Of course, occasionally we find a postcard that contains a minor league photo of a baseball Hall of Famer, like this composite photo postcard of the Lancaster Red Roses of 1909, featuring Stan Coveleski. Coveleski was also one of five baseball playing brothers, who broke in with his brother John in Lancaster of the Tri-State League in 1908. He won 127 games against a 2.48 ERA in seven minor league seasons, but it was his 14-year major league career that attracted more attention. Winning 20 games five times with four teams and posting a 2.89 lifetime ERA, he was known for his control, once throwing seven innings of a game where every pitch was a hit or a strike. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans’ Committee in 1969.
The 1909 Red Roses included a number of others who would eventually make the majors. Team Captain Snake Deal played one season with the 1906 Reds. Ed Fitzpatrick was a utility player for three seasons with the Boston Braves. Butch Rementer played one game behind the plate with the 1904 Phillies. Shortstop Roxey Roach played parts of four seasons with the Highlanders, Senators, and Buffalo Blues of the Federal League. Manager Marty Hogan played two seasons in the majors, with the 1894 Reds and the 1894-95 Browns. But it was Coveleski that had the longest and most successful career.
Of course we can’t resist writing one last time about our favorite item in the auction, this small pin featuring the 1912 Lawrence Barristers team, from their first championship season of 1912. The Barristers featured four major leaguers: Swede Carlstrom, Ray Keating, Alex Pearson, and Red Hoff. Hoff can be seen in the front row, second from left. As we’ve stated before, Hoff is the longest-lived professional athlete ever. He was the last surviving player to have played in the dead ball era. You can read his fascinating New York Times obituary here. No major leaguer lived longer than Red Hoff, and aside from this pin, the only other collectible of Hoff that we’re aware of is his 1912 T207 card (featured elsewhere in our auction).
We remain fascinated by deadball era minor league ball, and we’re proud to offer such a great assortment of history in our auction. We hope that the winning bidders on all four items recognize that they are, in some cases, in possession of the only available collectibles featuring these players that, a Century ago, had big dreams of making The Show. Most went on to work in factories, offices, farms, or elsewhere – but a hundred years later, in your hands, they are baseball players.
GREAT MEADOWS, N.J., April 1, 2013 – Marking the opening of the 2013 baseball season as well as the opening of the Spring hobby auction season, Love of the Game Auctions’ “Opening Day” sale is slated to close this Saturday, April 6.
The sale features sports and non-sports memorabilia from the late 19th Century to the present, along with an outstanding selection of rare prewar baseball cards. In contrast to many of the hobby’s established auctions, Love of the Game attempts to present rarities to collectors in smaller, more affordable lots.
“What’s great about this auction is that we created lots that are high-quality, yet affordable to collectors,” explained auction director Al Crisafulli. “Anyone interested in acquiring that tough T206 front/back combination, or a hard-to-find Turkey Red cabinet card doesn’t have to mortgage their house to afford the giant lot it’s buried in. This is also great for consignors, because their items get plenty of individual attention and are less likely to get lost in the auction.”
A smaller, boutique auction, the sale contains less than 300 quality lots, each specially curated to cater to the advanced collector, with the clear images and detailed, informative lot descriptions that have already become a hallmark of the fledgling company. Specific auction highlights include:
High-End T3 and T9 Turkey Red Cabinets: A continuation of a collection of Turkey Reds offered in their Winter, 2013 auction, this auction contains a large grouping of cards that are among the highest-grade copies available. The group contains low-population, high-grade examples of Cy Young (PSA EX 5), Frank Chance, “Out At Third”, Red Dooin , Bobby Wallace (PSA EX/MT 6, the highest-grade example known), Orval Overall, Jordan/Herzog (PSA EX 5.5, with only one graded higher), Admiral Schlei, Wildfire Schulte and a large selection of beautiful Hall of Famers including Nap Lajoie, Walter Johnson, Willie Keeler, and more.
Rare N172 Old Judges: Offered as individual lots, the auction features an original owner collection of N172 Old Judges including several rarities and seven Hall of Famers. The rarities include the second-known example of the Charlie Parsons (Pitching, Ball in Left Hand) pose (Graded GOOD 2 MK by PSA), as well as the difficult-to-find Amos Rusie (PSA GOOD 2 MK) and Pud Galvin (PSA VG 3 MK) cards. The Hall of Famers include two different poses of Buck Ewing, plus Ned Hanlon, Tim Keefe, and Tommy McCarthy. For good measure, the auction also includes a rare N173 proof of John Doran, from the Vermont find of original glass-plate negatives, in a pose not found in the Old Judge issue.
Ty Cobb Signed, Handwritten Letter with Legal Content: Perfect for a law or accounting office, this gorgeous, framed display features a letter written by Ty Cobb to broadcaster Joe Clement of KLIX in Twin Falls, Idaho. In the letter, Cobb asks Clement for documentation to help him prove to California state tax authorities that he is a Nevada resident, and should not be responsible for state taxes in California.
A Selection of Rare, Baseball Postcards: The auction includes several rare postcards, including a rare 1905 Souveneir Post Card Shop postcard of the Cleveland Indians, a rare 1910 PC796 Sepia Postcard of Walter Johnson, a difficult “Pre-Rookie” postcard of Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski with the minor league Lancaster Red Roses, a difficult 1909-16 Max Stein postcard of Hall of Famer John McGraw, and more.
Interesting and Rare Memorabilia: Love of the Game’s growing memorabilia offering is topped by a number of rare pieces including a rare, unopened 1953 Red Man tobacco package, a first baseman’s mitt signed by Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, two different baseball-themed pencil boxes from the late 19th Century, two framed replica jerseys autographed by Michael Jordan, an early 20th Century “Yankee Boy” tobacco tin, and a number of attractive and rare display items.
An Assortment of T206 Rarities: Love of the Game is becoming known for difficult-to-find T206 cards and front/back combinations, and this auction is no exception. Notable rarities include George Mullin with the ultra-rare Uzit Cigarettes back, a grouping of difficult Cycle 460 backs, and individual cards with American Beauty 460, Carolina Brights, Cycle 350, Hindu, Piedmont 42, Sovereign 460 backs, and more.
Scarce T207 Cards: Highlighted by Ward Miller, one of the issue’s key rarities, the auction includes an extensive selection of difficult T207 “Brown Background” cards. In addition to the Miller, the sale contains a number of scarce Broadleaf backs, as well as a Lena Blackburne with the rare Anonymous back and an Arthur Phelan with a super-rare red Cycle back.
Autographs: Several autographs of Michael Jordan are included, as well as baseball Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Johnny Mize, Larry Doby, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Whitey Ford, Bill Dickey, Ralph Kiner, Lou Boudreau, Early Wynn, Phil Rizzuto, as well as group-signed items from the 1941 Yankees, the 1970s “Big Red Machine,” the 1972 Baseball Hall of Fame induction class, the 1974 Dodgers, and a group of 20 Negro League stars.
The final date to bid in this auction is Saturday, April 6. To register for the auction and review the selection online, visit http://www.loveofthegameauctions.com. Love of the Game is in the process of assembling its Summer, 2013 auction, which will prove to be its biggest and most exciting auction yet. For more information, or to consign your valuable material, contact Love of the Game at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 452-9147.