He would become synonymous with the number 7, but for the first three months of Mickey Mantle’s career, he wore a different digit on the back of his Yankee uniform. A one-of-a-kind contact proof image of the teenage star and his earliest big league uniform from the files of noted photographer Bill Jacobellis has sold at auction for $21,000.
The 4×5 image carrying PSA/DNA Type I authentication sold through Huggins and Scott’s Spring Auction late last week. It was one of several photos in the auction that originated with the New York lensman who snapped countless photographs for Topps and Bowman to use on their trading cards. A Jacobellis contact proof of Roberto Clemente dating to his 1955 rookie season, also measuring 4×5, sold for $6,400.
The auction also offered some of the first items from the long-time collection of Chuck Evers including a cut signature of Christy Mathewson that included a “New York Base Ball Club” inscription. The signature sold for $11,750. An Ed Walsh single-signed and inscribed baseball obtained during Hall of Fame weekend during the 1950s sold for $8,880 while a Babe Ruth cut signature from 1943 netted $8,340.
Card collectors chased thousands of sets, lots, singles and unopened product. A complete set of 1979-80 Topps hockey on uncut sheets including the Gretzky rookie card, soared to $12,600, while a 1975 Topps baseball wax box realized $14,700. Bidding for an SGC 92 1911-12 C55 Imperial Tobacco Georges Vezina reached $34,000 but did not meet the reserve.
Other items sold included Barry Sanders’ 1997 Mackey Award as the NFC’s leading rusher, which netted $4,920 and an April 11, 1955 issue of Sports Illustrated, graded 96 by CGC and featuring the baseball “card” pullout insert which ended at $5,520.