One-of-a-kind and rare items from the career of Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson are among the headline items in the newly-opened Fall 2016 catalog from Love of the Game Auctions.
Set to close Saturday, November 19, the auction features and memorabilia from the late 19th Century to the present, highlighted by the remarkable “Stockton Find” of 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack baseball cards. The collection includes difficult cards featuring Joe Jackson, Christy Mathewson, and Del Pratt, and more than 150 additional Cracker Jack lots, all graded by PSA.
The auction includes Mathewson’s military garment bag from World War I, as well as a collection of historically significant documents related to his military deployment. As a member of the Chemical Warfare Service, the Hall of Fame pitcher was involved in a training accident that resulted in accidental exposure to poison gas; the resulting lung damage hastened his demise as he died from tuberculosis in 1925.
The auction also features an original painting by acclaimed artist G
raig Kreindler. Titled “Winter’s Bane,” the 9” x 12” oil-on-linen original work depicts Mathewson in his 1909 New York Giants uniform. Kreindler, one of the best-recognized names in baseball art, produced the painting by private commission in 2010, and it is just the fourth example of his work to be sold at public auction.
Love of the Game recently met with a consignor who had acquired a group of 1933 Goudey including an example of the Nap Lajoie card, one of sports collecting’s most elusive and desirable cards. Freshly-discovered examples rarely surface and the PSA 3.5 example should attract plenty of attention.
“The auction is filled with incredible finds, rare cards and memorabilia, and vintage autographs,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “In terms of variety, rarity, and quality, this is easily the best auction we’ve had yet.”
The selection of memorabilia is headed up by a host of important tickets and ticket stubs, including a rare Hilltop Park ticket stub, a 1908 Hilltop Park season pass, and a 1913/14 New York Yankees Polo Grounds season pass. Tickets and stubs to important games include a full ticket to Game 7 of the amazing 1934 World Series, as well as ticket stubs from Gil Hodges’ four home run game in 1950, Jackie Robinson’s final regular-season game in 1956, Stan Musial’s final game in 1963, Sandy Koufax’ perfect game in 1965, Hank Aaron’s 3,000th hit in 1970, and more.
The auction offers a wide array of rare baseball postcards, including an assortment of 1907-09 Novelty Cutlery cards graded by PSA, topped by a tough Walter Johnson (graded VG-EX+ 4.5). The auction also features a rare 1911 Monarch Postcards Eddie Plank, along with rare real photo postcards of Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, and Martin Dihigo.
19th Century baseball cards are also plentiful, including a higher-grade 1887 N172 Old Judge of Ed Delahanty. Graded EX 5 by PSA, Delahanty is one of the more difficult Hall of Famers in the N172 issue. Other difficult 19th Century issues represented in the auction include 1887 N175 Gypsy Queen Cigarettes, 1888 E223 G&B Chewing Gum, 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats, 1888 N333 S.F. Hess Newsboys League, and more.
Prewar Baseball: In addition to the 19th Century material, the auction features nearly 500 lots of prewar baseball cards, including some of the most rare type cards in the hobby. Rare minor league issues like the D380 Clement Bros. cards of 1909 and the E222 A.W.H. Caramels issue of 1910 are represented, as are more obscure regional issues like 1910 E105 Mello-Mint and 1911 T208 Cullivan’s Fireside.
More popular prewar issues are also well-represented, led by the widely-collected T206 set. In addition to a wonderful near-set (515 of 524 present), the auction features more than 100 different T206-specific lots, including Hall of Famers, print errors, cigarette packs, group lots, and higher-grade examples. Rare T206 backs are also well represented, including Broadleaf 350, Broadleaf 460, Carolina Brights, Drum, Brown Hindu, Red Hindu, Brown Lenox, Black Lenox, and Uzit, often with multiple examples of each.
Postwar Baseball: Postwar baseball cards are also well-represented in the auction, including a host of complete sets from our “Texas Find.” The find, which was announced this past summer, included a complete run of Topps and Bowman sets from 1948 through 2007, many of which were featured in the Summer, 2016 Love of the Game Auction. Sets included in this auction are 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, and 1955 Bowman, plus 1952 (low number run), 1955, 1958, 1963, 1966, 1967, and 1969 Topps. Each of the sets is an original-owner collection, built in the year of issue and stored away in a photo album, so each of the cards are remarkably clean.
Baseball Autographs: Among the more astonishing aspects of the “Texas Find” is the large collection of signed 1952 Topps baseball cards. The collector accumulated hundreds, many of which are featured in this auction. Single cards to have been authenticated and encapsulated by PSA include tougher subjects like #14 Bob Elliott, #36 Gil Hodges, #114 Willard Ramsdell, #126 Fred Hutchinson, #392 Hoyt Wilhelm, and others.
The most important signed 1952 Topps card, however, is card #307, the signed “black star” variation of Frank Campos’ card. Authenticated by PSA/DNA, the card is an extreme rarity to begin with; this signed example is currently the only example known to exist.
Also included is a very rare 1961 New York Yankees team photo, signed by 34 different subjects in the photo. While the Mickey Mantle is, unfortunately, a clubhouse signature, the photo itself includes a number of rare subjects, including trainers, bat boys, and tougher players.
To register for the auction and review the selection online, click here.
Love of the Game is in the process of assembling its Spring, 2016 catalog. For more information, or to consign, contact Love of the Game via their website or (973) 452-9147.