Collectors will get to devour some baseball history along with the Thanksgiving leftovers when Love of the Game’s latest catalog auction comes to a close.
Set to wrap up on Saturday, Nov. 26, the company’s current sale offers over 460 lots, highlighted by some seldom-seen sports cards and memorabilia. Complete sets, high-end Cuban cards, original baseball photography and even items from the estate of a former deadball era pitcher are part of the auction.
Headliners include a T206 complete set of 520 cards with complete Polar Bear and Old Mill Southern League subsets, a rare 1923-24 Billiken card of Oscar Charleston, and the highest-graded PSA example of the 1921 Exhibits card of Babe Ruth.
Collectors will also get a chance to own postcards and photos from the career of pitcher Barney Pelty
Nicknamed “The Yiddish Curver,” Pelty was one of the first Jewish players in the American League and was an important player for the St. Louis Browns from 1903 until 1912.
“The Pelty collection includes some fantastic photos, including an original Carl Horner cabinet, several Conlon photos and a gorgeous panoramic photo of the 1912 Browns with Rube Waddell,” explained LOTG’s Al Crisafulli. “It also includes a great collection of rare postcards, including 1908 Bregstones, 1906 W601 Sporting Life team composites, and a number of great team postcards. We’re thrilled to be offering them in our next two auctions.”
As is the case with most Love of the Game auctions, the auction features a large assortment of cards, with a heavy focus on prewar baseball. One of the most notable cards is a scarce 1921 Exhibits card of Babe Ruth, graded EX-MT+ 6.5 by PSA. The only example graded by PSA at this level with none higher, it’s onet one of many difficult prewar cards featured in the auction.
There’s a large grouping of baseball photographs, highlighted by a signed example of one of the most iconic photos of Joe DiMaggio. Authenticated by PSA/DNA, the original Type 1 photo dates to 1941, the year of DiMaggio’s incredible 56-game hitting streak.
Additional highlights include a number of important photos of Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, and Lou Gehrig, taken by noted photographers Charles Conlon, George Grantham Bain, and others.
The auction also features numerous memorabilia pieces with some interesting stories behind them including the fully-executed 1945 contract with Happy Chandler to become commissioner of baseball (with the signatures of 19 team and league representatives), one of fewer than ten known copies of Robin Carver’s b1834 book “The Book of Sports” (containing the earliest American publication of the rules of baseball), and a scrapbook chronicling a Yankees superfan’s quest to locate Babe Ruth’s sister – and her gift of a signed photo of her famous brother.
Vintage Card Sets, Singles
The T206 set is the fourth of its kind LOTG has offered in the last two years—this one containing a complete 250-card subset of all the known cards with Polar Bear backs, as well as a complete Southern League subset with Old Mill backs – a highly-disciplined, focused set.
Other complete or near-complete prewar sets include 1909-11 E90-1 American Caramel (needing just 15 cards for completion), 1933 Goudey, 1936 R312 “Pastel,” and 1939, 1940 and 1941 Playball. Postwar complete or near-complete sets include 1951 Bowman, 1952 Mother’s Cookies PCL, 1952 Bowman, 1954 Bowman, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958,1959, and 1960 Topps, 1969 Topps basketball, and several others.
Among the single cards is a PSA 1 copy of the W600 Honus Wagner, featuring the famous Carl Horner image used for his T206 card, a PSA 6 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie, a PSA 7 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie, an SGC 9 (mint) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rookie and a 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson (PSA 2).
Tickets and Stubs
The catalog includes a complete run of ticket stubs from every New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers World Series game.
“The Yankees and Dodgers rivalry of the 1940s and 1950s was legendary,” Crisafulli remarked. “Some of the most important World Series highlights happened in these games – Mickey Owen’s dropped third strike, Jackie Robinson’s World Series debut, Cookie Lavagetto’s game-winning pinch hit, Don Larsen’s perfect game – the list seems endless. I’m thrilled to offer these stubs as individual lots to help collectors complete their sets – and as an added bonus, for customers who receive our printed catalog, we’ve included a great article by Mark Armour of SABR about the rivalry.”
The auction marks LOTG’s tenth year in business, having launched in 2012 as a smaller, collector-focused company.
“It’s hard to believe that it was ten years ago that we were shipping the winnings from our first auction out of an unlit basement office in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” he recalled. “It’s always been our goal to present interesting auctions filled with unusual sports artifacts, and I’m incredibly thankful to our loyal customers and consignors for helping us do that for an entire decade.”
Registration and the complete catalog are online now. Physical copies are also available.