Rare 19th and early 20th century display pieces and photos, complete sets from the pre-War era and other memorabilia from virtually every era of baseball are up for grabs this month in Love of The Game Auctions’ Spring catalog.
Already underway and set to run through Saturday, March 24, highlights include a significant number of “pre-rookie” items from past greats, vintage Type 1 photos, rare and popular baseball card singles and sets and a large assortment of pre-war baseball postcards.
The Hall of Fame “pre-rookie” collection is highlighted by a gorgeous, framed 22 x 19 ½” 1871 Stratford Base Ball Club team photo that includes an early image of “Orator” Jim O’Rourke who would go on to a Hall of Fame career.
The auction also features two complete pre-war sets: a 1934 Goudey offering that ranks among the top 30 on the PSA Set Registry and an 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions complete set of 50, with all the cards graded.
The auction also features two 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle cards.
“There’s no question that as we head into our sixth year presenting auctions, this is our finest,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “Love of the Game is known for its unique assortment of scarce collectibles – the kind of stuff you just don’t see every day – and this auction has the largest array of that sort of material that we’ve ever offered.”
A strong market for early baseball advertising will absorb a 1912 Boston Garter Advertising Display Sign that features Hughie Jennings and Johnny Kling, a 1916 Stag Sweaters Boston Red Sox advertising cabinet photo with Babe Ruth, and a 1917 Timothy Murnane Day “All-Star” Team Photo with Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson and more. The 1934 Tour of Japan is also well-represented, with one of just three known photos of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx to be signed by all three, and a baseball signed by the members of the team, plus a Hawaiian All-Star team that played against Ruth, Gehrig and the other legends in Honolulu on October 25, 1934.
Hall Of Fame “Pre-Rookie” Cards
You may know their traditional rookie cards but collectors who like something a little more challenging will uncover some “before they were stars” items such as a 1901 Terre Haute (IN) Hottentots team cabinet photo featuring Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown.
The auction features “pre-rookie” postcards from the likes of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson, Casey Stengel, Harry Hooper (also Hal Chase), and more. Other pre-rookie offerings include Zach Wheat, Lefty Grove, Bob Gibson, Don Sutton, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, and others.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame pre-rookie offering is highlighted by a large run of rare Diamond Matchbooks that includes the ultra-rare 1934 Walt Kiesling – one of just two known examples, and possible the most desirable of all the Diamond Matchbooks. Almost as rare as the Kiesling is the 1934 George Musso, also featured in the auction. A salesman’s sample of the 1933 Turk Edwards is also featured.
Other Football pre-rookie Hall of Famers featured in the auction include a 1926 Sports Co. of America Ernie Nevers, a 1927 W560 Ken Strong (PSA NM-MT 8), Diamond Matchbooks offerings from Cliff Battles, Mel Hein and John “Blood” McNally.
Vintage Baseball Photography
One of the hottest segments in the hobby continues to be that of original vintage photography. LOTG will offer more than 60 lots within that category, highlighted by a 1909 original news service photo of Christy Mathewson by George Grantham Bain. The photo may be the only in existence, and is accompanied by a full LOA from PSA/DNA.
Other PSA/DNA-authenticated Type 1 photos include an early 1920s photo of Babe Ruth by Underwood & Underwood, a 1928 portrait of Grover Cleveland Alexander by Charles Conlon, a 1930s portrait of Lou Gehrig by George Burke, and a 1922 photo of Ty Cobb at the batting cage. Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Walter Johnson and other Hall of Famers are also represented.
Autographed cards take center stage here, highlighted by yet another group of PSA/DNA-graded 1951 Bowman cards (261 in total). The auction also features a 1953 Bowman Color #59 Mickey Mantle, with the signature graded MINT 9 by PSA/DNA. Other Mantle autographs include an Upper Deck Authenticated New York Yankees “Number 6” autographed replica jersey, one of very few known to exist. Also featured is a 1951 Kansas City Blues replica jersey from the noted Barry Halper Collection, featuring Mantle’s signature in the back collar, fully authenticated by PSA/DNA. A number of additional Mantle signatures are featured, on various photos, prints, a vintage autograph book, a vintage baseball, and more.
Possibly the most notable signature in the auction, however, is an original photo of Ty Cobb, autographed and inscribed to his good friend Helene Champlain. The photo is matted and framed to a finished size of 13 ½” x 16 ½”, a large display with a full LOA from PSA/DNA. Additional signed Cobb items include a 1920 agreement to appear in an exhibition game in Rhode Island and a 1922 response to an autograph request, on Tigers letterhead.
The company is also breaking up two extremely difficult sets –1906 Ullman Postcards set (including the highest-graded example of the Christy Mathewson card) and the 1923 Maple Crispette set (including one of the highest-graded examples of Jim Bottomley’s rookie card).
Other rarities include a 1922 W575-1 Henry Johnson Confectioners card of Babe Ruth (the highest-graded PSA example), a rare 1908-11 Bregstone Postcard of Rube Waddell, and a 1879 Buffalo Bisons cabinet photo with Pud Galvin and Jim O’Rourke, possibly created by the “Father of Political Cartooning” Thomas Nast. The auction features rare card types like an 1888 N321 SF Hess California League Jack Hayes, an 1888 N403 Yum Yum Tobacco Billy Nash, an 1889 Number 7 Cigar Mike “King” Kelly, a 1910 E104-1 Nadja Harry Davis, and more.
To register for the auction and review the selection online, visit LOTG’s website.
Love of the Game is in the process of assembling its Summer, 2018 catalog auction. For more information, or to consign, contact Love of the Game at [email protected] or (973) 452-9147.