RIP Ted Patterson

Ted with the most important athlete in American history

I’m heartbroken to report the news of the passing of Ted Patterson.

Dave Yoken, the original founder of Collectable, called me one day in 2015 to tell me he’d met a former broadcaster down in Baltimore that had a great collection, and was looking for a new auction house to consign with. Dave was kind enough to talk up Love of the Game, told Ted I’d be calling, and the next day, I gave him a ring.

The first thing about Ted that I noticed was his voice. It had a richness to it, a smoothness in the casual conversation that we had, it was immediately clear that he made his career with his voice and with his communication skills. It was a pleasure to listen to him speak, and once he grabbed you with that voice, he’d reel you in with a story. We made an appointment, and the following week I met with Ted in his house in the suburbs of Baltimore.

When I got there, he greeted me warmly, and then took me on a tour of his collection. It had astonishing breadth – cards, uniforms, advertising displays, publications, scorecards, tickets – anything tied to the game, and in multiple sports. It lived in every room in his house – even the kitchen. Of course I immediately wanted him to consign all of it, and of course he immediately decided I was getting none of it.

Instead, we just sat and talked. I wound up staying with him for three or four hours that day, listening to stories about the early days of the organized hobby, stories about Major League clubhouses, stories about his years of research. I would ask him a question, and he’d have a story.

“Was Thurman Munson as surly as they say he was?” I asked.

“Oh, no,” he said. “He was as friendly as could be. He just didn’t like talking into the microphone.”

“Who was the nicest baseball player you ever interviewed?” I asked.

“Besides Brooks and Bob Feller?” he responded. Brooks Robinson and Bob Feller were Ted’s personal friends, and his sports heroes. “Besides them, Reggie Jackson.”

He loved Reggie Jackson, and Ted’s stories about him have completely changed my perspective about what kind of a person Reggie is. I’ve never met him, but when I think of Reggie Jackson I think of a warm, friendly guy with a giant smile and a healthy respect for other people who are good at their jobs. I think of a guy who was, during his playing career, misunderstood. And if it’s possible, really, really underrated. That’s because of Ted.

After that first visit, I was an hour away from his house, on my way home, when he called me and asked “When can you come back? I’ve decided to consign some stuff.”

I told him “How about I turn around and come back right now?”

He laughed and said no, he was tired, but he wanted me to visit again soon. So I came back the following week, and he gave me a small pile of boxing memorabilia, some Novelty Cutlery postcards, an E120 Ruth. Before I left, we agreed that I’d come back again.

That began a ritual where he’d call me every week or so and we’d chat on the phone, and eventually he’d ask me about specific items in his collection, and whether they were “good” for the auction. Then we’d set up a visit. I’d go down to Baltimore every couple of months, and sit and listen to him tell stories. Then he’d take me through his collection and hand over the items he’d put aside for auction.

When he called, he introduced himself the same way, every time. “Hey Al,” he’d say, “It’s Ted. From Baltimore.” He loved Baltimore.

During one of my visits, he wanted to show me his collection of press pins, which he had displayed inside a glass-top end table. The table was piled high with stuff that he casually brushed off with his arm. One of the things that fluttered to the floor was an E105 Christy Mathewson. I gasped. “Oh, that’s worth something?” he asked. “Go ahead, put it in your auction.” It sold for $7,600. That’s what kind of collection Ted had.

Sometimes he’d play me tapes of interviews he did with players. Or he’d tell me about a time he met some legendary hobbyist. He always had a story.

Ted began his career with a fascination with sports broadcasting that never went away. One of his life’s goals was to write the definitive history of the topic. He’d correspond with former sports announcers, and then file the letters away. He’d have dinners with announcers, and ask them questions. He was like an encyclopedia of sports broadcasting – any sport, he could tell you about its history.

Ted began his pro broadcasting career working for Curt Gowdy’s Inside Sports radio program in Boston. After a few years, Ernie Harwell tipped him off about a broadcasting job with WBAL radio in Baltimore. There, Ted became the host of Baltimore’s first regularly scheduled sports talk radio show. He covered sports on the evening news for WMAR television, and worked alongside Rex Barney announcing Orioles games in 1982 and 1983.

At various points Ted was the voice of the Orioles, Colts, Ravens, Navy Football, Towson State and UMBC basketball games, and Morgan State football games. He broadcast Baltimore Blast and Baltimore Spirit indoor soccer games. He was an ESPN Radio correspondent for NFL Game Day. Between 2000 and 2011, he was Sports Director of WCBN-AM radio. He wrote several books on Orioles history. He had an incredibly full career, and was beloved by sports fans in Baltimore. Once, I had to speak with a service provider in Baltimore who was helping Ted with something. I asked him “Do you know who this person is?” He responded “Oh yes. He’s the voice of my childhood.”

A few years ago, Ted was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He’d been having trouble with his balance, and found that the slight tremor he had was getting much more pronounced, so he went to the doctor and got diagnosed. While they were trying to get the dosage of his medication correct, his tremor got really bad. During this same time period, he developed some eye issues – glaucoma, if I recall – and needed to have eye surgery.

During one of my visits, as soon as I walked into the house, he said “I need you to help me with my eye drops. I can’t get them in my eyes.”

I looked at him like he was insane. I have a condition called Essential Tremor, which makes my hands and face shake uncontrollably when I try and do something precise. Example: if you pour me a beer, and you pour it right to the rim of the glass, I simply cannot drink it. I can’t even hold it. I won’t just spill it, I’ll throw it, the shake gets so bad. But if you leave me a half inch of space between the top of the glass and the beer, I can drink it just fine. But something like putting eye drops into someone’s eye? That’s just dangerous.

So here I am, holding this tiny squeeze bottle of eye drops, trying to keep my hand steady while I squirt eye drops at a guy who’s tremor is so bad that his whole body is shaking. He was sitting on his couch, with me standing over him, pressing his head against the back of the couch with one hand, trying to keep him still, trying to hold my other hand steady enough to get a couple of drops into his eye, both of us laughing at our combined ineptitude. I got eye drops in his hair, on his face, on his forehead – but eventually, I got a few into his eye.

He was quiet for a minute, and then he says “It’s the other eye.”

Of course he was kidding. The two of us laughed for about ten solid minutes. From then on, he called me his “tremor buddy.”

I am unbelievably fortunate to be able to work in a business where I get to become friendly with my customers. I get to learn their stories, and they become a part of my life. I’m proud to have called Ted my friend, and I’m proud to have been his “tremor buddy.”

A wise man once said that you’ve lived a great life if your experiences have given you lots of stories to tell. Ted Patterson had several lifetimes’ worth of great stories. I’m going to miss him.

Here’s a link to his obituary in the Baltimore Sun.

-Al Crisafulli

Site outage

The company that provides our hosting service is experiencing technical issues that are forcing our website offline. While we await service to be restored, we will continue assembling packages and manually processing payments from our November auction. Tracking numbers and check payments will be posted to the accounts of winning bidders when service is restored. During the outage, if you have any questions, we can be reached at (845) 750-6366 or at info@loveofthegameauctions.com.

Thank you for your patience.

1952 Topps “Mystery Find”

Finding quality consignments is hard work.  Doing it well demands discipline, tenacity, and an ability to locate quality material, amidst cutthroat competition.  It’s not as if quality consignments fall in your lap.

Except one day this past spring, that’s exactly what happened.  A quality consignment fell in my lap.

I received a text message from my mother, with a blurry cellphone photo of a ’52 Mantle and a question: “How much is this worth?”

After a number of questions and a lengthy back and forth, the story became clear: my cousin’s friend’s family found a ’52 Mantle in a stack of cards belonging to a deceased relative.

Thus became my first post-Covid consignment trip as I “masked up,” packed a lunch and took a long drive out to southwestern Pennsylvania.  There I met with an absolutely lovely family that, in the process of cleaning an attic containing the belongings of their deceased father, discovered a small pile of baseball cards tied together with string, in a box of his childhood toys.

The family is not a collecting family, and the father did not even like baseball.  How he obtained the cards – and why he would have kept them – was a mystery.  There were 78 cards in total, each from the 1952 Topps high number series – and only one duplicate (Ed Wright, one of which the family elected to keep).  They had no idea what the cards were worth, if they were authentic, or who most of the players were. The one thing they did know was the cards must have belonged to their father, since they were the original owners of the house, and all the items inside it belonged to the family.

The cards were pristine.  Clearly untouched for decades, the cards were blazers, with sharp corners and edges, and brilliant color.  Aside from a few cards that had been damaged by the string, and a few others that had been subject to corner dings and surface wear, the cards were simply gorgeous.  And the keys – Mantle, Campanella, Mathews and Robinson – were fantastic.  My only concern, beyond the typical Topps centering of the era, was that some of the cards appeared narrow.

After discussing it with the family, we elected to submit the entire collection to PSA for grading.  Quickly, we learned the result of the first four: while Mathews and Robinson attained decent numerical grades, Mantle and Campanella, according to PSA, exhibited evidence of trimming.  PSA encapsulated the Mantle in an Authentic holder, and returned the cards to us.

Of course, this made no sense to us.  Having spent hours with the family it was clear: nobody had any idea where the cards came from, and certainly nobody would have trimmed them.  The issue seemed simple to us: it would make no sense for some of the cards to be trimmed, but not all of them – yet two of the first four received numerical grades.  At the same time, the evidence was undeniable: the Mantle was a full 1/16” narrow (the Campy is much less narrow, but thin nonetheless).

Seeking a second opinion, we submitted the two cards to SGC.  Upon review by their grading team, they agreed that the cards were too narrow to attain a numerical grade.  However, the graders at SGC did not feel the cards were trimmed – they simply did not meet the minimum size required for a numerical grade.  SGC elected to assign an “Authentic” grade but for minimum size reasons.  After consulting with the family, we elected to keep the Mantle in the PSA holder but also include the “MIN” grading tag from SGC with the sale, to provide the purchaser with evidence that SGC did not feel the card was trimmed.  We asked SGC to holder the beautiful Campanella, which they did as “Authentic.”

Ultimately, PSA rejected about two dozen of the remaining cards as “evidence of trimming.”  As we did with the Campanella, we submitted those cards to SGC with full disclosure that they came from the same collection. SGC elected to assign numerical grades to 15 of them, and holder the rest with an “A” designation.  It is important to note – every one of the 1952 Topps cards from this collection in SGC holders has already been submitted to – and rejected by – PSA.  We agree with SGC that they are not trimmed, but are offering them in our Summer, 2020 auction with full disclosure.

Ultimately, the cards are beautiful – a once in a lifetime find of pristine, virtually untouched 1952 Topps high numbers.  Still, some of them do not measure up to the standard size for 1952 Topps cards, a true mystery that will never be solved.  Regardless, they include some of the finest examples of individual cards from the set that we have ever encountered (just look at that Campanella!), and it is our pleasure to work with a wonderful family to bring these cards to you.

Love of the Game Auctions’ Spring, 2020 Auction to Include Complete 1914 Cracker Jack Set

 

Kingston, NY (Feb 26, 2020) – Love of the Game Auctions is honored to announce the pending sale of one of the hobby’s most popular and enduring baseball card sets: the 1914 Cracker Jack issue.  Cumulatively, the set ranks #5 on PSA’s Current Finest Set Registry.

Each card from the set, almost entirely graded by PSA, will be offered individually, in the company’s Spring Premier Catalog Auction.

“The 1914 Cracker Jack set is considered one of the most beautiful and desirable of all the prewar card issues,” remarked Al Crisafulli, auction director at Love of the Game.  “We’re thrilled to have been chosen to handle such an important set.  This will be the third time we have handled a significant collection of 1914 Cracker Jacks, but this is the most complete collection we’ll have sold.”

The set not only includes the complete 1914 set, but it includes the 32 additions that Cracker Jack made to the checklist in 1915, along with all seven changes to poses or player images that the company made in its second year.

One of the most attractive baseball sets ever produced, the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack sets feature a color portrait or “action” pose set against a deep, red background.  Printed on flimsy paper, the 1914 set is plagued by condition issues and caramel staining due to the cards being inserted directly into Cracker Jack boxes.  Loaded with Hall of Famers and deadball era stars, this is among the most popular prewar baseball sets ever produced.

“We’ve had great results with Cracker Jack cards in Love of the Game Auctions,” continued Crisafulli.  “In our Fall auction, a Joe Jackson graded PSA 2 sold for $60,000, just one of several record-breaking sale prices we’ve achieved with Cracker Jack cards.  We love them; they’re beautiful and historically significant, and among the most treasured cards in the hobby.”

The collection is entirely graded by PSA, except for one card – that of Ty Cobb.  “We have a ‘no cannibalism’ policy at Love of the Game,” explained Crisafulli.  “Unlike a lot of auctions, if we receive one scarce and desirable item on consignment, we will not offer another example of that item in the same auction if we feel that it will hurt our consignors.  We already had received a beautiful Cobb for this auction, so we could not take the Cobb from this set – instead, we helped the consignor sell it privately.”

The Spring Premier auction is slated to launch in late March, with a tentative close date of April 11.  Other highlights include:

  • A 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb with rare Ty Cobb back
  • The finest game-worn jersey from Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, graded A10 by MEARS
  • More than 30 game-used bats from the Ted Patterson collection, including clubs wielded by Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken, Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Carl Yastrzemski and more
  • A Carlton Fisk game-worn jersey from the Red Sox’ heartbreaking 1975 season
  • An extraordinary 1933 Washington Senators panoramic photo signed by all 28 players (including Hall of Famer Goose Goslin twice)
  • A large collection of autographs, tickets, and programs related to the 1919 “Black Sox.”

Interested collectors can register to bid on the company’s website

 

Statement from Love of the Game Auctions

Like many collectors, we are disturbed by the recent allegations of altered cards being sold in great quantities at auction, and we are grateful to those hobbyists who discovered the magnitude of the problem and brought it to light.  It is our hope that those responsible are prosecuted.

The hobby places a premium on cards in exceptional condition because the cards have ostensibly survived that way since their date of issue.  Cards that have developed flaws in condition over the years are typically discounted accordingly by the hobby.  It has long been our belief that any process designed to disguise or remove wear or degradation that has happened to a card should be called what it is: an alteration.  We understand that some alterations are considered acceptable by many hobbyists, and that some alterations are virtually undetectable.  However, we still consider them alterations.

Love of the Game Auctions has long wished to conduct a reputable auction with reputable collectors and consignors.  As such, we reserve the right to refuse to approve bidders for any reason.  While our bidder and consignor lists are strictly confidential,  we have, since our inception, refused bidder and consignor privileges to those proven to be actively engaged in card alteration, or in actively facilitating fraud in the hobby.  It is important that we reiterate this commitment at this time.

Sadly, this latest round of allegations necessitates that we adjust our own policies to provide our customers with further assurance of our dedication to the hobby and its long-established standards.  Therefore, effective immediately, Love of the Game Auctions will institute the following procedures:

  • Any graded card valued over $500 will be reviewed carefully by LOTG under magnification, along with halogen and long-wave ultraviolet lighting.  Should we discover any issues with which we are uncomfortable, the card will be resubmitted to the grading company for review or returned to the consignor at their request.
  • Any individual card sold in our auction will be scanned at high resolution (300 dpi or greater) and watermarked versions of those scans will be made available for download during the auction so that collectors can review the largest scans possible.  Should any hobbyist discover compelling evidence that a card in our auction has been altered, we will withdraw the card immediately.
  • Love of the Game Auctions frequently receives consignments of ungraded cards that we feel are “fresh” to the hobby, either due to having never been graded or having been graded many years ago.  Cards of this nature that we submit for grading ourselves will be clearly marked in our auction, so that collectors are aware that they are bidding on a card that has been relatively uncirculated in the hobby.

While it is unfortunate that we have no choice but to add layers of scrutiny to the auction process due to the unethical behavior of others, we also feel it is the best thing to do for the hobby.  While we can never eliminate 100% of undisclosed alterations, and would never pledge to be able to catch them all or be mistake-free, we can establish procedures that help us identify and remove such items from our auction.  We hope the hobby can soon move past this regrettable phase.

Breaking News!

We’ve uncovered some interesting new information relating to our Lot# 67, Rare 1910 Philadelphia Athletics World Champions Blue Ribbon Pin w/White Elephant.

1910 Athletics Pin FrontIn our description for Lot #67, we make the comment “the souvenir pin was likely a presentational piece that served as a World Championship medal given to players and team officials in celebration of the team’s 1910 World Championship.”  Our feeling has been that the quality of the workmanship, coupled with its extraordinary rarity (we are aware of just three surviving examples), are indicators that few were made, and they were likely not made available for sale.

During the course of the auction, we have continued to research the piece.  We are now entirely convinced that this pin was given to players and other dignitaries during the weeks following the 1910 World Series, the first-ever World Championship brought to the Athletics.  Here’s why:

The 1910 Championship, being the team’s first World Series title, resulted in enthusiastic but haphazardly-planned celebrations.  Twobanquets were held for the team – the first, on October 27, was held at the prestigious Majestic Hotel.  Guests of honor included the players, mayor John Edgar Reyburn, Director of Public Safety Henry Clay, former ballplayers like Cap Anson, and members of earlier AL Championship Athletics teams.  Speeches and toasts were given, and the celebration carried on into the night.

Meanwhile, the city and the team quickly planned a much more formal celebration.  Initially postponed due to rain, nearly a million spectators watched 20,000 people parade through Philadelphia on November 6, ending at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel at an event Ban Johnson called “the greatest tribute ever paid to baseball.”  At the subsequent dinner, athletes and dignitaries were presented with a number of souvenirs and awards.

The Athletics not only won the Championship in 1910; they won it in 1911 as well.  By 1911 they were old pros; as part of the team celebration that year, they hosted a dinner on November 6, once again at the Majestic Hotel.  The dinner was a regal affair conducted at the end of a parade; the dinner was attended by players, sportswriters, and “friends of the club,” during which many speeches were given by the likes of Mayor Reyburn, crosstown rival Horace S. Fogel (president of the Phillies), Athletics players Harry Davis, Chief Bender and John Coombs.  Fourteen rows of tables were arranged, with a variety of souvenirs presented to each attendee.

Specifically noted in the description of the event that appeared in the November 11 issue of Sporting Lifemagazine as written by Francis C. Richter:

…each guest as he entered the dining hall was presented with a blue ribbon badge bearing the words ‘Philadelphia Athletics, World’s Champions, 1911’ with a metal white elephant for a pendant.

 The blue ribbon badge described in the November 11 issue of Sporting Lifeis clearly an identical badge to that which we are offering in Lot #67.

The 1910 badge was manufactured by the Caldwell Company, who made the very first World Series Press Pin the following season, 1911.  The type printed on the ribbon, as well as the ribbon itself, is virtually identical as that of the press pin, and the workmanship of both pins are of extraordinarily high quality.

While we have learned as researchers never to jump to conclusions without having facts, the quote from the 1911 Sporting Lifeleads us to believe it is entirely likely that the Caldwell Company reproduced their 1910 pin again in 1911, and it is entirely likely that the pin we are offering in lot #67 was given to players and other attendees at that first 1910 banquet, October 27 at the Majestic Hotel.

Check out our new interactive catalog!

While we’re big fans of printed matter and the way it feels to have a book in your hands, we’re also big fans of technology.  Our new interactive catalog gives you some unique advantages that the printed catalog does not:

  • You get it earlier than the printed books, which go in the mail today.
  • You can view the interactive catalog on any device – your desktop or laptop computer, your phone, or your tablet.
  • From within those devices, you can zoom in and enlarge any photo.
  • We can (and did) embed videos and links within the interactive catalog that are not available in the printed book.
  • You can search the catalog.
  • The individual lots in the catalog link right to the respective auction pages – just click the title, and it’ll open a new window right to that item in the auction, so you can bid immediately.
  • The interactive catalog lets you make notes on individual items or pages.
  • You can download the entire catalog to your desktop.
  • You can share the whole catalog or individual pages on social media.

It’s pretty versatile.  Plus, we can embed it right into our blog, so you can read it right here!

 Love of the Game Auctions Fall, 2018 Catalog

We’re coming to Seattle with PSA!

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 5.40.03 PM

When: Saturday, September 8
Where: Hilton Seattle
1301 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA  98101
Time:  10am til 6pm

Love of the Game Auctions is teaming up with PSA/DNA on an autograph authentication/consignment event at the Hilton Seattle on Saturday, September 8.

Autograph experts will be on-hand to authenticate your previously signed autographs.  Turnaround time varies with demand, and two-hour service is available for an additional fee.  Letters of Authenticity will be issued by mail within two weeks.

Love of the Game will be accepting consignments in-person at the event, for our Fall, 2018 auction.  Representatives from our Seattle and New Jersey offices will be at the event, accepting consignments and discussing whether your material might be right for inclusion into our fall auction.

Come on down, say hi, and take advantage of in-person autograph authentication or consignment!

 

Don Zimmer’s 1955 Dodgers World Series Ring Returns to New York Area

Love of the Game Features Rare Offering, Additional New York Sports Team Memorabilia in Summer 2018 Auction

Zimmer Ring Face

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., July 23, 2018 – The 1955 World Series Champion ring given to Don Zimmer as a Brooklyn Dodgers player has returned to the New York area as a featured item in Love of the Game Auctions’ (LOTG’s) upcoming summer auction.

“The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers is one of the mostly widely collected post-war teams,” noted LOTG’s Al Crisafulli, president of the Hackettstown-based, internet sports auction house. “That was first time the Dodgers won the World Series – and the only time as a New York team. After losing the Series to the Yankees five times, the Dodgers finally beat them in seven games. The win was so powerful that the team is still one of the most popular of all-time.”

With a major league career spanning more than six decades, Zimmer was a player during the Dodgers’ famed 1955 season and later served as a manager and coach for numerous American and National League teams – including the Mets and Yankees. “Don Zimmer is one of baseball’s most beloved figures and a true New York sports icon,” Crisafulli said.

World Series rings come to market infrequently in the sports memorabilia arena, which adds to their value, according to Crisafulli. In June 2018, a 1955 World Series ring originally belonging to a clubhouse attendant sold at auction for $45,000. Last year, the ring presented to 1955 Dodgers Team Manager Walter Alston sold at auction for $70,000.

“We expect the Zimmer ring to garner significant interest,” Crisafulli said. “It previously was sold by a Zimmer family member to a private collector, who consigned it to an auction 14 years ago. It has since made its way to a private collector in Florida, who consigned it for our summer auction.” Crisafulli added that, based on increasing market value for like items, the ring’s upcoming sale price is expected to meet or exceed $65,000 – besting its 2004 auction price of $45,000.

LOTG’s summer auction will open in late July and run through August 11. The Zimmer ring will share the spotlight with an impressive lineup of memorabilia from New York sports teams. This includes the oldest-known photo of Babe Ruth (from 1914), Gil Hodges’ 1959 Gold Glove award, and a Roger Maris game-used bat from the 1963 season, along with a variety of New York – and other – player trading cards, signed baseballs, autographs and more. For more information, visit loveofthegameauctions.com.

LOVE OF THE GAME AUCTIONS NAMES JEFF PRIZNER CONSIGNMENT DIRECTOR

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ – NOVEMBER 10, 2017 – Love of the Game Auctions, an internet-based sports auction house catering to the passionate collector of cards and memorabilia, has named hobby veteran Jeff Prizner as Consignment Director.  The announcement was made by Al Crisafulli, founder of Love of the Game.

Prizner, a University of Texas graduate residing in Seattle, is a longtime collector who has held various buying and planning roles with a number of major retailers during his career.  During his career, he has taken an active role in the hobby, researching and authoring several articles in hobby publications, and extensively networking with collectors of prewar baseball material.

“Jeff is a long-time associate who has been supportive of our mission since Day One,” said Crisafulli.  “His extensive hobby knowledge and his wealth of business experience make him a great addition to our small, but growing team.  We know Jeff will be a tremendous asset to Love of the Game as we position the company for growth in the years to come.”

“I wanted to work with Al at Love of the Game not only because of his integrity, which is really second to none, but because of his genuine appreciation and passion for the material as well,” Prizner added.  “Love of the Game will continue to grow into something really special, a customer-centric and well-curated auction house with the most interesting and coolest items.  I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Prizner’s responsibilities will include the acquisition of quality consignments, as well as helping build customer relationships.  To compliment Love of the Game’s East Coast presence, Prizner will continue working from his Seattle location.

About Love of the Game

 

Press Contact: Al Crisafulli, info@loveofthegameauctions.com