Love of the Game Auctions’ Winter auction is open with sports and non-sports cards and memorabilia from the late 19th Century to the present, highlighted by a fresh-to-market 1930 Boston Post Old-Timer’s Day Multi-Signed Poster. The poster was created by participants in the 1930 event, to be given to former Red Sox catcher Lou Criger, who was unable to attend the game due to illness. The hand-lettered poster, measuring 20” x 29”, offers well-wishes to Criger, and was signed by 49 deadball era figures, including Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Ed Walsh, “Nuf Ced” McGreevy, Johnny Evers, and more.
The poster, along with other memorabilia from the game, were presented to Criger in 1930 by broadcaster Fred Hoey (who also signed the poster). It has remained in Criger’s family until now. Players from the game received replicas of the piece, some of which have filtered into the hobby, but this auction is the first time the original has ever been seen. The minimum bid is $10,000.
“The piece is an incredible discovery,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “The condition is amazing, and it is huge, so most of the signatures are about three inches long, clear as a bell and include many rarities, like Jimmy Collins and ‘Nuf Ced’ McGreevy.”
Another auction highlight is a 1929 Lou Gehrig Game-Used Bat. The Hanna Batrite model is another newly discovered bat that was found in an antique store several decades ago. The bat has been examined by PSA/DNA and assigned a grade of GU 7. Roughly 20 Gehrig game-used bats are known. This is the second Gehrig bat to be sold by Love of the Game, both of which were new hobby discoveries.
“The consignor of the bat read about the Lou Gehrig bat that sold in our last auction for $437,000,” explained Crisafulli. “You would imagine that after a sale like that, the phone here was ringing off the hook with people who claimed to have valuable bats. Of course most of them turned out to be store-model bats – but you can imagine my astonishment when the consignor handed us this one, and it was obviously authentic.”
Another important piece of lumber in the auction is a Roy Campanella 1952 All-Star bat. One of just two such bats made for the heroic Brooklyn catcher, it has been graded PSA/DNA GU 9. Campanella had just two at bats in the game (a walk and a pop out), which was rained out after five innings.
The sale also features a number of “blue chip” baseball cards, including a 1934 Goudey #37 Lou Gehrig graded MINT 9 (OC) by PSA, a copy of the red-hot 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, an extremely rare 1915 Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods Ty Cobb pin graded NM 7 by PSA, a 1968 Venezuelan Topps Nolan Ryan rookie card graded PSA VG-EX+ 4.5, and a rare 1911-16 T216 Mino Cigarettes Honus Wagner.
“We’re thrilled with the selection in this auction,” continued Crisafulli. “It’s our largest auction ever. Even though it’s highlighted by more than 800 lots of rare and valuable baseball cards, we’ve also got over 100 lots of vintage baseball memorabilia, and nearly 100 lots of baseball postcards. We have more than a dozen high-end game-used bats. Best of all, we’ve got over 100 lots of autographed items, and every single one of them displays just beautifully. I couldn’t be happier with this auction, and I think our bidders will feel the same.”
Other auction highlights include:
Game-Used Bats: In addition to the Gehrig and Campanella bats mentioned above, the auction features a large assortment of high-end Hall of Fame bats. One of the highlights is a 1928-29 Jimmie Foxx Game-Used Hanna bat. The 35-oz. stick exhibits evidence of heavy use, with many cleat impressions and a handle crack that has been repaired with nails. Graded PSA/DNA GU 5, the bat is one of three Hanna bats in this auction.
Also offered is a 1965-68 Louisville Slugger used by the great Willie Mays. The bat has been graded GU 8.5 by PSA/DNA.
Among the other bats in the auction include a 1966-68 Louisville Slugger used by Al Kaline and consigned by a former Tigers bat boy (PSA/DNA GU 8.5), a 1927-28 Tris Speaker Hanna bat (PSA/DNA GU 6), and a 1954 Louisville Slugger used by Ralph Kiner (PSA/DNA GU 6.5).
Two other interesting Hall of Fame bats include very early Louisville Sluggers used by Gary Carter (PSA/DNA GU 8) and Ozzie Smith (PSA/DNA GU 8). The Carter bat dates to 1973, just before he broke into the majors, and appears to have been used both with his AAA and major-league teams. The Ozzie bat is a 1978-79 model, a rookie-era bat from the popular Padres and Cardinals infielder.
Rare Baseball Cards: The auction includes our largest-ever assortment of 19th Century cards, highlighted by a group of six 1887 N173 Old Judge cabinets, including three with rare brown mounts. The brown mounts include the highly desirable California Brown, along with Tom Deasley and Fred Pfeffer.
The auction also features two rare, higher-grade 1887 N175 Gypsy Queen Cigarettes cards (Jim Donnelly and Larry Twitchell), two rare 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats (including a beautiful Arthur Irwin graded PSA VG+ 3.5), an 1888 S.F. Hess California League Tom Buckley, and an 1886 Lorillard Team Cards Detroit Wolverines, graded PSA GOOD+ 2.5.
Another important rarity is a 1921 Pathe Freres Babe Ruth (with accompanying record and print ad), a card given away by a French record company as a premium to people who bought the record “Babe Ruth’s Home Run Story.”
Other rare cards featured in the auction include a 1911-16 T216 Mino Cigarettes Tris Speaker, an ultra-rare 1910 T209-2 Contentnea B.E. Thompson, a 1911-16 T216 Kotton Tobacco Ty Cobb, a super high-grade 1912 T207 Cycle Ward Miller (graded PSA NM 7), a 1919 T213-3 Coupon Cigarettes Larry Doyle (graded PSA EX 5, the highest-graded example), a PSA-graded 1923-24 Billiken Cigarettes Cristobal Torriente, a 1959 Bazooka Mickey Mantle graded PSA VG-EX 4 (one of very few Bazooka Mantles to attain a numerical grade), and many, many more.
Vintage Baseball Memorabilia: The company’s largest-ever memorabilia section includes the highest-graded 1941 Lou Gehrig Memorial ticket (graded PSA NM-MT 8). The ticket is the only example to attain a grade even remotely this high, with the next-highest unqualified grade being a PSA 5, which sold for $17,000 in 2011.
Tickets are well-represented in the auction, including a complete set of 1980 Olympic Hockey “Miracle On Ice” PSA-graded tickets, a pair of ticket stubs to Jackie Robinson’s final game (which happened to also be Game 7 of the 1956 World Series), a beautiful full ticket to Red Grange’s final college football game on November 21, 1925, and a full ticket to the “Game of the Century” – the 1946 Army-Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium.
The auction also includes a very large assortment of vintage photos, including many framed images of turn-of-the-century minor league and semipro teams containing future big leaguers. Two later examples include a 1952-53 Santurce Cangrejeros team composite photo featuring a pre-rookie Roberto Clemente, and a 1953-54 Caugas team photo featuring a pre-rookie Hank Aaron.
Autographs: A series of four player endorsements for the Bradley Sweater company highlights LOTG’s autograph section. In 1923 and 24, the textile company exchanged free sweaters for entire pro ball clubs, in exchange for their manager’s endorsement. The auction features the endorsements from Ty Cobb, George Sisler, Bill Killifer and Art Fletcher. Each of the signatures were carefully reproduced for the company’s famous print ads.
The auction also features a number of team-signed baseballs, including the finest 1954 Giants ball LOTG has ever offered, a 1928 Athletics team-signed ball with Ty Cobb, a 1958 Minneapolis Millers team-signed minor league ball with Jimmie Foxx, and a 1971 American League All-Star team-signed ball with Thurman Munson. Also featured is a collection of team-signed baseballs from the Pacific Coast League, representing 11 different teams between 1946 and 1961.
The sale also features a host of single-signed bats, vintage baseball cards and postcards, photos, and handwritten letters, including one from Honus Wagner.
The final date to bid in the auction is Saturday, January 30. 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 Spring, 2016 catalog auction. For more information, or to consign your valuable material, contact Love of the Game at [email protected] or (973) 452-9147.