A previously unknown bronze bas-relief plaque adornment cast from the same mold as Lou Gehrig’s Baseball HOF plaque has been discovered and consigned to an upcoming auction.
The bronze likeness of Gehrig, with baseball bats and a laurel branch, was designed and cast by artisan George Seaman at the Steinmeier Bronze Tablet Co., in 1939, the year of Gehrig’s retirement.
The bronze sculptural depiction of a smiling Gehrig in a tableau adorned by two baseball bats and a laurel branch, measures 7 inches high by 12 inches wide. It is mounted on a wood plaque. Auction officials say they’ve placed a “conservative” estimate of $3,000-$5,000 on the item.
Sterling Associates, a New Jersey based auction company, will offer the plaque March 23.
“The Steinmeier foundry in New York City produced the Lou Gehrig bronze for the actual Hall of Fame plaque. To the best of our knowledge, this was the only additional casting ever made from that mold,” said Sterling Associates’ owner, Stephen D’Atri.
As stated in the letter of provenance that accompanies the lot, Seaman made the sculptural work as a gift for his young son, who idolized Gehrig. The son, who is now quite elderly, kept the bronze his entire life.
Gehrig was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association in December of 1939, after it became clear that his playing career was over due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He never had a formal induction ceremony but is considered a member of the Hall’s 1939 class.
All bidding in Sterling Associates’ auctions is conducted remotely, but the company is a brick-and-mortar establishment and interested bidders can inspect items at auction during scheduled times. The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ. For information, call 201-768-1140, e-mail [email protected] or visit the company’s website.