His rookie card is well known to collectors. Now, they’ll have a chance to bid on a copy of the photo used by Leaf Trading cards to make it more than 70 years ago.
Heritage Auctions says it will offer the 5×7-inch black and white image in its Winter Platinum Night Auction, scheduled for February 20 and 21. The posed head and shoulders photo of the young baseball pioneer is expected to sell for at least $80,000.
The photo being offered has been examined and authenticated by PSA/DNA and given a Type I designation as a period original. This particular copy was used by the Associated Press in news coverage of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ upcoming series with the St. Louis Cardinals and is dated May 9, 1947. It includes a caption, still attached to the back which discusses comments by Cards’ manager Eddie Dyer regarding rumors of a potential boycott by his players over Robinson’s arrival in the major leagues.
“Reported talk of a strike against Jackie Robinson, negro player of the Brooklyn Dodgers, by the St. Louis Cardinals players, was denied today by Manager Eddie Dyer of the Cards. He said that if Brooklyn ‘thinks he can be of value to the club that certainly is all right with us’.”
Whether the boycott talk actually occurred has been the subject of some doubt following research by baseball scholars who believe it may have been more conjecture than fact. However, its existence as part of news coverage of the day illustrates the climate surrounding what was an historic and sometimes uneasy moment in what had been a segregated sport.
The back of the photo also includes a news clipping of the image as it was used in a newspaper at the time and various editorial markings.
The auction also includes another photo that will look familiar to avid fans of pre-War baseball cards. A circa 1920 image of a young Babe Ruth measuring 7 1/4″ x 9 1/2 inches is identical to the one used to create Ruth’s 1933 Buttercream card.
The photo originated with Baseball Magazine. A hologram with the provenance from the collection of the long-running publication is attached to the back.
The Ruth photo is expected to sell for $20,000 or more.
The auction is set to open January 29.