Stolen Items Part of ’99 Halper Auction

More old baseball imemorabilia is now under scrutiny as matches are found to items taken from the files of big city libraries.

The Boston Herald reported in its Thursday edition that an 1889 Boston baseball team photo sold in the auction of memorabilia from the famed collection of Barry Halper ten years ago was stolen property.

The Boston Red Stockings photo shows up on a Boston Public Library list of 40 items that turned up missing years ago. The photo sold for $6,235 in the much-publicized sale conducted by Sotheby’s.

Several pieces of vintage baseball memorabilia have surfaced recently that appear on lists of items stolen from libraries in New York and Boston years ago. There is no evidence thus far to tie any current or former hobbyists to the thefts.

The FBI began investigating how stolen memorabilia wound up in the auction market after letters tied to baseball pioneer Harry Wright were discovered among the listings at this week’s All-Star Fan Fest Auction. The letters were reported to have been among items reported missing from the New York Public Library.

Last week, the Herald also reported that E.B. Sutton’s 1879 baseball contract was among papers sold in the 1999 Halper auction that are on the list of pilfered items.

According to the newspaper, Halper had also claimed in news articles that he owned the will of Sox Hall of Famer Tommy McCarthy. The will was one of several stolen from a probate court.