One of the earliest known and rarest Negro League pennants will hit the auction block in February.
Heritage Auctions will offer a 1917 Hilldale “Champions” pennant in its February Platinum Night sale.
Originally created as a boys’ team in the Philadelphia area, Hilldale became a professional club in 1916. Hilldale was founded by Negro League marketer Ed Bolden and captured a title in its first year. The team boasted Spot Poles, whose speed drew comparisons to Cool Papa Bell and Ty Cobb, and first baseman Bill Pettus, another early Negro Leagues star.
Six years after the date of this pennant, the team became a charter member of the Eastern Colored League, winning the first three pennants and appearing in the first two Colored World Series, losing to the famed Kansas City Monarchs in 1924 but winning the next year. At times throughout its existence, the club featured stars such as Martin Dihigo, Oscar Charleston, Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey. Johnson, in fact, spent most of his professional career with the team.
There’s a State of Pennsylvania historical marker at the site of Hilldale’s ballpark at Chester and Cedar Streets in Yeadon.
The pennant measures 10 ½ x 29 ½ inches and carries the manufacturing tag of a Philadelphia company on the back.
It’s expected to sell for $5,000 or more. Bidding is slated to open February 1.