A collection of letters from the estate of baseball pioneer Harry Wright have now been removed from the All-Star FanFest auction as the FBI works with Hunt Auctions to determine whether they were stolen from the New York Public Library.
A group of letters to and from baseball pioneer Harry Wright have been removed from next week’s All-Star FanFest auction.
Wright, who built the country’s first professional baseball team in Cincinnati, had saved the letters and they were later donated to the New York Public Library, where they turned up missing over 20 years ago.
Hunt Auctions pulled them from the upcoming sale last week, hoping any questions about provenance could be cleared up, but that clearly became impossible once the FBI became involved.
The letters were expected to fetch tens of thousands of dollars.
"Hunt Auctions has been working closely with the FBI throughout the
investigative process, and since many questions still remain unanswered, it
is our belief that the items should be removed from the auction," president David Hunt said in a statement. "This proactive step is being taken in order to insure that all the facts can be determined; at which point an appropriate course of action may be set. Hunt Auctions is fully committed to insuring that all materials within our auctions are being sold in the proper fashion with regard to ownership."
FBI spokesman Jim Margolin told the Associated Press that investigators are trying to determine “whether those items were among the items apparently stolen from the public library collection.”