What is believed to be the only autographed version of the famous Lou Gehrig Day photograph sold at auction early Saturday for $108,169. An original print from 1939, the photo carried an inscription from the Yankee slugger who had been diagnosed with the disease that would take his life just two years later. Gehrig signatures following his diagnosis in 1939 up to the time of his passing are quite rare. The photo generated 41 bids from interested collectors and closed at $90,518 before the buyer’s premium added by an east coast auction house.
The photo has undergone professional restoration but does have some creasing. It is dated at the top in pen but the ink has faded. Signed “To Patsy, With Kindest Personal Regards, Cordially, Lou Gehrig”, the photo and white frame measure 11.5×14″.
“Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” served as a final farewell for the Iron Horse to Yankee fans still stunned not only by the end of his record 2,130 games played streak but the grim outlook for someone who seemed indestructible while manning first base throughout the latter half of the 1920s and throughout the 30s.
Gehrig had been diagnosed with ALS (a disease that would come to be known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”). Nevertheless, he insisted that day he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth”, a speech that brought tears to many.
Also sold in the auction was a 1959 Harmon Killebrew game-worn Washington Senators jersey which brought $37,504 and a 1950-51 Toleteros Josh Gibson card, graded PSA 7, that sold for $32,101.
An auction conducted by Goodwin and company saw what may be the finest Dick Butkus rookie card in existence sell for $7, 467. The card is the only SGC 96 (mint) copy in existence and none rank higher on the SGC or PSA population reports.
A PSA 8 graded T206 Sam Crawford with a rare Uzit back, topped all bids at $57,159. It was the highest graded Uzit-backed card known.
A 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53, graded PSA 8, sold for $48,135 while an E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson rookie card, graded 2.5, sold for $23,448.