You may have seen a 1948 Leaf Sammy Baugh–but you’ve probably never seen one quite like this. A football card turns out to be the star of Hunt Auctions’ March sale.
It isn’t often that rare football cards trump their baseball memorabilia counterparts in a major auction, but it happened over the weekend when a mint condition 1948 Leaf Sammy Baugh card (graded 96 by Sportscard Guaranty) brought $33,000 in a live sale conducted by Hunt Auctions. With the company’s 15% buyer’s premium, the final realized price was $37, 950.
Hunt Auctions’ president David Hunt reports the card was part of a single owner collection of 1940 and 50s Bowman, Topps and Leaf baseball and football cards which the owner had purchased about 20 years ago.
“The cards had , literally, remained in a single loose leaf binder for all of those years until just recently when they were submitted to us for consignment and we went to SGC to have the finer examples within the collection graded,” Hunt explained. “The majority of the collection was in this auction but there will be a second offering later this year with the balance of the cards.”
The auction also included a variety of historic pieces, including several items from the collection of former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, property from former Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Joe L. Brown and others from the family of Negro League executive Syd Pollock.
A hand-written letter from Hank Aaron to Pollock, penned in November of 1951 brought $24,150. The letter was Aaron’s acceptance of an offer to play for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952 and included a reference to the deal being “entirely satisfactory” to his parents since Aaron was still a teenager. After his short tenure with the Clowns, the Boston/Milwaukee Braves would buy Aaron’s contract for $10,000 and help launch a Hall of Fame career. Pollack famously gave Aaron a suitcase when the future home run king left Indianapolis for the Braves’ Class C minor league team in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
A collection of Clowns archive material including letters, contracts and other documents sold for $26,450 and a baseball signed by the first African-Americans to play in the Major Leagues ended at $20,700. The ball was autographed by Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. It, too, had been part of the Pollock collection.
Aaron and Babe Ruth memorabilia dominated the auction. One of Aaron’s last uniforms, or
iginating from his 1976 Milwaukee Brewers’ teammate Ed Sprague, sold for $24,150.
Several Ruth autographed baseballs were part of the auction including one signed by both the Babe and Lou Gehrig, which brought $25,300. A 1940s official American League ball bearing Ruth’s autograph on the sweet spot, went out of the door for $24,150.
A Ty Cobb professional model bat with side writing, sold for $22,425 while Kuhn’s personal collection, consigned by his family, sold for a total of $162,575.50. A commissioner’s ring highlighted the holdings of the late executive. It brought $8000.
Over 1100 lots were placed for bid in the sale, which was conducted online and live at the Inn at Chester Springs in Exton, Pennsylvania.