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1925 Exhibits Henry L. Gehrig PSA EX+ 5.5....

2009 October Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction #716

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Auction Ended On: Oct 1, 2009
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1925 Exhibits Henry L. Gehrig PSA EX+ 5.5. It's nearly impossible for a modern collector, who's been brought up in an environment of securely wrapped packs and boxes, plastic top-loads and, in general, careful handling of one's cards, to grasp the extent of difficulty in locating nicely preserved arcade cards from the 1920s. Shortly after printing, stacks of Exhibit Supply Co. products were stuffed into corrugated boxes at the company's Chicago factory. From there, bouncing along in a truck bed as they went, the cases were shipped far and wide. Upon reaching their destination, the cards were grabbed in bricks, which, in turn, were unceremoniously crammed - sometimes in a mix with cards picturing cowboys, boxers, jokes, or puzzles - into tight-fitting metal chutes by an amusement park worker (who was doubtless rushing along to finish a variety of similar tasks). Then, at the time of sale, the card was extruded from a slot - Ouch! More contact with metal! - and pulled from a narrow opening, probably by a caramel-, cotton candy-, or cola-soaked hand. If the card was a "keeper" - featuring a subject deemed worthy of future attention - it avoided being tossed to the floor or into the garbage, and was thrust immediately into a pants pocket. The journey of an Exhibit card that survived the day of purchase typically culminated in adherence to a scrapbook page, rubber-banded wadding with a young person's postcards or photos or, once interest had faded, the trash can at home. For these reasons, the prospect of obtaining a specific vintage Exhibit card, in a high-quality state, is an extremely daunting one.

Under circumstances that appear to have been fashioned by the gods as a direct challenge to Yankee enthusiasts and Hall of Fame specialists, each of these chilling obstacles had the chance to negatively affect one of the most hungered-for pieces of all: the debut-year memento of Lou Gehrig. Gehrig's rookie was only available by navigating the caprices of those long-ago vending-machine stockers, the weather on a given day, or the possibility that Gehrig's card was bundled with a thick group of contemporaries in the back pocket, and was thus at least partially protected. The "Iron Horse," himself, was nearly indestructible for an amazing length of time, but his rookie card stands in diametric opposition to the concept of endurance. Consequently, Gehrig's postcard-sized rookie piece - with its evocative black-and-white batting-pose photo - is found in only the most exclusive collections, and in those that have been assembled through tremendous determination.

Within a total census of just 20 PSA-holdered copies - the card's low population, in itself, a testament to its painful rarity - this impressive Gehrig stands alone at its tier. Only one example (barely) has placed higher. The item's all-important image is crisp and well-focused. Discernible wear is refreshingly minimal on the delicate, full-bleed corners, and the unmarked back is blank, as intended.

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