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Lot
80069

1914-15 Honus Wagner Game Used Bat....

2011 August Chicago Signature Vintage Sports Collectibles Platinum Auction #7037

 
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Auction Ended On: Aug 4, 2011
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
2,783 page views
Location: Muvico
9701 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Rosemont, IL 60018

Description:
1914-15 Honus Wagner Game Used Bat.

UPDATE: The assessed rating of GU 9 establishes this as the highest graded Honus Wagner game used bat on the PSA/DNA registry. This bat has also been graded by MEARS, A9.

There is no question but that Honus Wagner's star has been burnished over the passing decades by his residence upon baseball's most coveted trading card, but the true baseball historian doesn't need those million dollar price tags to draw his attention. Take it from Hall of Fame manager John McGraw, properly recalled as one of the greatest minds in the game's history and, with over four decades in a Major League uniform, one of its most experienced. "You can have your Cobbs, your Lajoie's, your Chases, your Bakers," he once lectured a newspaper man, "but I'll take Wagner as my pick of the greatest."

Just six years short of the centennial of Wagner's last plate appearance, we should expect that game used material relating to his Hall of Fame playing career would be scarce. The tiny quantity of flannel and lumber relating to his Pirates tenure derives almost exclusively from his lengthy term of service with the Pittsburgh coaching staff, which concluded in 1952 at the advanced age of seventy-eight. Still this material from his secondary career carries tremendous collecting appeal, and properly so, as Wagner was instrumental during this period in refining the swings of later legends such as Arky Vaughan, Ralph Kiner and the Waner brothers.

But this early relic is something truly special, a picture-perfect representation from the closing seasons of Wagner's playing career as the first ballot Hall of Famer approached and surpassed the fabled 3,000 hit milestone.

Although the J.F. Hillerich & Son model 40K bat was available in retail format, there are several factors which place this bat in Wagner's hands:

1) The wood is identified as "first growth Northern White Ash," which features grain that bat expert John Taube describes as "among the widest we have ever seen on a professional bat," concluding there is "no question as to the professional grade of the wood."

2) The unusual and distinctive tight wind of electrical tape on the knob perfectly matches photographic documentation of Wagner. The handle is not cracked, assuring the application relates to grip rather than repair. Furthermore, and most importantly, these images picture Wagner holding this exact 40K model.

3) Retail model bats featured an imprinted length on the knob end, whereas the presented example presents instead "a rough filing after its removal from the lathe."

4) The length of thirty-two and three-quarter inches (recorded at thirty-three inches) and weight of forty-three and a half ounces match known Wagner exemplars, notably the example acquired by famed collector Joel Platt directly from Wagner.

The bat exhibits heavy use, with an array of ball and cleat marks speckling its ancient surface. The volume of apparent game action and fidelity to Wagner's unique specifications command a final grade of PSA GU 9. This is, without question, one of the most desirable pre-war bats available in the hobby today. LOA from PSA/DNA.

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Service and Handling Description: Bats, Clubs, Sticks, Swords, Rifles, etc. (view shipping information)

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