The name Lou Gehrig evokes so many different thoughts — his streak, his speech, his bravery.
He is revered by collectors and casual fans alike, making him one of those rare players with appeal inside and outside collecting circles.
The wide-ranging interest and fascination, high-demand by collectors and non-collectors as well as very few items which bare his likeness – all put Lou Gehrig memorabilia into a different stratosphere.
If you’re hunting for a 1934 Goudey or a signed baseball, you will pay handsomely for either item. But, if you’re OK with more obscure items, there’s more Larrupin’ Lou memorabilia to be had than you’d think.
Lou Gehrig Cards
Lou was active from 1923-1939. His career missed tobacco cards and ended before the appearance of pre-war issues in the late 30s and early 40s. His only mainstream issues – 1933 and 1934 Goudey – are easily attainable but still not cheap. If you compare pricing and overall eye appeal, you can find a nice-looking card for under $1,000.
Affordable alternatives include an assortment of strip cards like the W517 strip card, but an even more reasonable option are the Wheaties cards of the mid-1930s. Great color, graphics and price are a decent trade for weird sizes. While their popularity has increased, you can still find lower grade Gehrig Wheaties cards from the 1930s for $200-$500.
Like all things Gehrig, if it has his likeness on it, sellers and collectors both assume it’s valuable. Case and point are magazines with Gehrig on the cover. Sellers ask for the moon, but if you’re patient there are many affordable examples of Gehrig’s mug on a mag.
The most poignant cover is the one from 1939, with the classic cover photo of Gehrig, his streak over, watching the Yankees warm up as he looks on from the dugout.
If you’re going to add any pin to your collection, be careful. They are about the simplest piece of memorabilia to counterfeit. As far as Gehrig pins and buttons are concerned, there isn’t a ton to choose from but what’s out there is affordable.
The most affordable Gehrig pin comes from 1938 and it really isn’t a pin, but a less desirable lapel tab. Our National Game issued a set of 30 lapel tabs that year that are still easily found and very affordable.
Cracker Jack issued a pin set in 1930 that includes a Gehrig. They aren’t plentiful but when you do see them, they’re not expensive.
The continued influx of game-used memorabilia cards into the market has brought down the price of many of these cards – even for players of Gehrig’s caliber. There are many examples of game-used Gehrig items, many of which fetch no more than $50-$60. This nice example from 2003 Topps Tribute is all over eBay as are several other Gehrig bat cards. Jersey cards like these are little more expensive but readily available and–if you’re OK with cutting up vintage memorabilia–pretty cool.
One of the most underrated bits of memorabilia out there are advertisements. What else features prominent players, have great color and visuals and are almost suspiciously affordable? Baseball players were used to pitch virtually everything in Gehrig’s day and Gehrig was a Madison Avenue darling, hocking everything from razors to cigarettes to cigarettes and cigarettes.
Just $10 to $15 and a picture frame and you can add a really good looking piece of memorabilia that in some cases is close to 80 years old.