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Lot
80076

Circa 1934 Lou Gehrig Game Worn Bronzed Spike....

2013 August 1 - 2 Platinum Night Sports Auction - Chicago #7080

 
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Auction Ended On: Aug 1, 2013
Item Activity: 10 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Muvico
9701 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Rosemont, IL 60018

Description:
Circa 1934 Lou Gehrig Game Worn Bronzed Spike. The partnership that provides the modern collecting community with this unique and artful relic could be considered one of the key turning points in the sport, one that today seems almost quaint in retrospect despite its paradigm-shifting implications. The bronzed spike derives from the personal collection of Christy Walsh, recognized as the very first sports agent, a man who heralded an age when every marquee athlete would come to play a secondary role as a corporate endorser. From Nike to Gatorade to Hanes underwear, the partnership of corporate America and professional sport has transformed both, and if one were to trace that river of billions back to its source, he'd find Christy Walsh, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig there.

But in Walsh's day, the payoff was charmingly modest by comparison, ghostwritten newspaper articles, barnstorming tours. Beginning with the two great slugging stars of the New York Yankees, Walsh's stable would grow to feature at least a dozen men whose faces are immortalized in Cooperstown bronze. And here we find a bronze artifact of a different sort, a gift from a client to his agent, and a veteran of the most remarkable streak of durability in prewar athletics. This left shoe is the one that toed the Yankees' first sack right around the time he surpassed Everett Scott's consecutive games record to cement his status as the sport's Iron Horse. The metallic coating cannot fully obscure the obvious game wear and the European size "43" imprint on the leather sole is correct for Gehrig's foot.

A small wooden block with an image of Gehrig's face and a mounting hole that runs through the sole make it evident that this shoe was once part of a larger display, but such is not needed to give this special relic eye appeal worthy of a leading role in any quality collection. Included are photos of the shoe on display at the National Sports Gallery and a letter of provenance from Christy Walsh, Jr. to famed collector Barry Halper attesting to the attribution.




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