A hand-written postcard from New York Giants manager John McGraw touting his team’s World Series victory in 1905 is among the items from the collection of a long-time history aficionado that are now on the auction block.
Eric Caren, who began collecting as a very young boy more than 50 years ago, has consigned 115 items from his collection of more than one million pieces to Sotheby’s Fine Books and Manuscripts online auction. “How History Unfolds on Paper” runs through July 21.
Caren has been referred to as the “Babe Ruth of historical collecting” by both trade and mainstream media.
Included with paper items and signed documents from the likes of George Washington and John Hancock and a letter signed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson is the postcard. It features a composite of the ’05 World Series champs and is penned in McGraw’s hand. A year earlier, the Giants had also won the National League pennant, but refused to meet Boston in the World Series because McGraw felt the American League was a “minor league.”
Postmarked October 18–just four days after the last game of the Series– the postcard was sent to H.A. O’Tooley in Chicago. The central portrait of McGraw is signed “Your sincere friend Mac,” while the longer text is written in the margins of the front of the card and exalts in the Giants’ victory: “Proud of our champs? Well I should say yes. Harry old man stand up. Here’s to the ‘Giants’—Champions of the World. Here’s another to Matty [Christy Mathewson] and don’t forget Mugsy.”
“Mugsy” was McGraw’s nickname.
Bidding on the card opens at $4,800.
A few other sports-related items from Caren’s collection are in the sale, including an original copy of the New York Sun from 1834, containing what PSA calls “the earliest procurable newspaper mention of baseball” and a 19th century supplemental poster from the “Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference.”
The items in Caren’s collection were all certified by John Reznikoff, PSA’s historical and political autograph authenticator, who believes the auction could be groundbreaking.
“Though PSA is more known for sports, they have the resources and talent in the historic field where I believe the excitement that currently exists in sports could potentially be achieved in historical items as well,” he stated.