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Press Release - September 1, 2004
Spectacular Hall of Fame Baseball Memorabilia to Highlight Heritage Sports Collectibles Auction
Dallas, Texas: Heritage Sports Collectibles (HSC) is proud to announce that it will offer some of the finest baseball memorabilia to hit the auction block in some time in the September 10th-11th, 2004 Signature Auction, to be held in Long Beach, California. Heritage is the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Collectibles Expo. Just a few of the highlight images and details appear below:
Mickey Mantle's 1963 Game Worn Yankees Home Jersey
"Though Mickey Mantle spent his entire eighteen-year career in New York City, there really is no other ballplayer that garners such nationwide interest in the collectibles market," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries. "Of course there's Babe Ruth, a fellow Yankee, but very few people who saw Ruth play are still alive today. It seems that everyone who ever saw 'The Mick' at the ballpark, even once, never forgot it. There's a good chance that the winning bidder for this one of a kind lot will be one of those kids who idolized Mantle as a child."
This specimen is unique even among the few Mantle jerseys that exist. Aside from the fact that home pinstriped jerseys from any Yankee, particularly superstars and Hall of Famers, are coveted to a greater degree than the grey road jerseys, the fact that this jersey remains in completely original and unaltered condition sets it apart from the majority of Major League jerseys from the era. It was common practice until the late 1970's and often beyond to send Major League jerseys down to the minor leagues at the season's end, at which point old numbers and logos, such as the Yankees' "NY" over the heart, would be removed and replaced with the new team's insignia. As a result, almost all Mickey Mantle game worn jerseys in existence today have been restored following minor league alterations. This phenomenal example, free of any alterations, is fresh to the hobby and has never before been available to the collecting public. Industry experts estimate that the 1963 flannel will see spirited bidding, which could easily move well into the $100,000 range.
Spectacular Artifacts from the Career of Frank "Home Run" Baker
Frank "Home Run" Baker home run baseball #1
Frank "Home Run" Baker home run baseball #2
"These are two of the earliest, if not the very earliest, documented home run baseballs ever to reach the auction block," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries. "There are numerous reasons for this. First of all, very few home runs were being hit prior to 1920. Baker himself, known for home runs, hit fewer than 100 in his thirteen-season career. Secondly, very few game used artifacts from this era have survived, period, much less those related specifically to historic events. For some reason, Baker defied convention and held on to these baseballs as souvenirs, and they have remained in the family ever since."
Each baseball is notated in vintage ink with the date and opposing pitcher of each home run. The earlier specimen dates from July 12, 1912, and was one of a League-leading ten struck by Baker during that season as a member of the Athletics. The latter ball dates from Baker's first season with the Yankees, and was hit on May 15, 1916. It's particularly noteworthy that the earlier home run was pitched from the hand of Ed Walsh, who joins Baker in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joining these two exceptionally rare baseballs is the finest known Frank Baker game used bat, also consigned by members of the Baker family. Dating from the 1917-21 era, the Hillerich & Bradsby signature model bat shows exceptional use from Baker's days as third baseman for the New York Yankees. All three pieces will be auctioned separately, and accompanied by a notarized letter of authenticity from a descendant of "Home Run" Baker attesting to provenance.
The Rarest of Ted Williams Gamers, The Splendid Splinter's Circa 1955 Fielders Glove
"Serious baseball collectors have long known that they might have the opportunity to own a Ted Williams uniform or even a game-used bat" explains Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries, " But the reality of owning a Ted Williams game-used glove is unprecedented. After researching the mitt through our industry contacts, we know of only two other examples. One is owned by a Boston area doctor which was given to him by Williams and the other resides at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York." This rarest of Ted Williams gamers dates circa 1955 and is the first to ever be offered for public auction.
Finest Known 1933 Goudey "Triple Babe Ruth" Uncut Sheet
"We are very excited to be offering such an amazing artifact of the baseball card collecting hobby," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries. "This is the first time that this particular sheet has ever come onto the auction block. It is the finest of only three examples that we know to exist." The 1933 Goudey Gum series of 240 cards was the first major gum card set of the 1930s and is universally recognized as the most popular and significant set of the era. The complete 240 card set is highlighted by four Babe Ruth cards and two of Lou Gehrig, with included cards of all the baseball stars of the day. The set was produced in ten sheets of 24 cards each, which were then cut, packaged with a stick of gum, and distributed.
Ivy continued, "Obviously the triple Babe Ruth sheet is by far the most impressive of the 10 sheets comprising the set. Not only does it contain the three Babe Ruth cards, but also five other Hall of Fame players: Jimmie Foxx, Leo Durocher, Joe Sewell, Lloyd Waner, and Lou Gehrig. It is clear that this sheet has been meticulously preserved over the past seventy plus years and this rare item exhibits bold, vibrant colors, with strong registration and superb overall eye appeal."
Heritage expects the sheet to realize over $100,000, even though there is no established price guide for uncut sheets because of their extreme rarity. However, adding up the individual values for these mint cards from a certified card price guide tallies well in excess of $250,000!
Willie McCovey's First Major League Home Run Baseball
"This ball is particularly significant in that it is the first of 521 round-trippers hit during McCovey's 22-year career." McCovey had an amazing late-season hitting surge when he joined the San Francisco Giants in July of the 1959 campaign. He batted .358 and had 13 homeruns in only 52 games, which won him a surprising "Rookie of the Year Award" in the National League that year.
Ivy continued, "The impeccable provenance of this piece and the history behind it are what help to set this baseball apart." The consignor, the original fan that caught the ball in Seals Stadium on August 2, 1959 was a young serviceman stationed at nearby Fort Ord attending his first major league baseball game with two soldier friends when he snagged the ball. The consignor recounts, "The ball came right to me about two feet over my head. Having played a lot of baseball in high school and college before entering the service, I caught the ball cleanly with my bare hands, and it didn't hurt at all. Nobody saw me catch it, and I immediately put it inside my shirt so nobody would know where it was." The soldiers then made their way to the Giants' clubhouse door following the game, where they were successful in getting the autographs of Leon Wagner, Felipe Alou, and of course, Willie McCovey. All neatly penned on the side panel of this game rubbed, Warren Giles, Official National League Spalding baseball. Included with the ball are several original newspaper articles recounting the event.
Sandy Koufax Game Worn Jersey from the Dodgers' Final Season in Brooklyn
"It's difficult to overstate the importance and desirability of an artifact such as this," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries. "Material from the Brooklyn Dodgers ranks among the most desirable of all sports collectibles, with game worn jerseys even from bench players commanding great interest and high prices in the hobby. But when considering the added appeal that comes from a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey worn during the team's final season on the East Coast by one of the game's most celebrated superstars, we feel very confident in saying that we expect bidding for this piece to be quite spirited." Sharing an infield with Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam and Roy Campanella, the twenty-one year old Koufax began to show early signs of the greatness that was to come in 1957, more than doubling his combined strike out total from the first two seasons of his career. Many baseball historians consider the 1957 season a turning point, when the young Koufax finally got his blazing fastball under control, leading to a National League M.V.P. and three Cy Young Awards in the years that would follow. This road grey flannel jersey exhibits fine wear from this historic season, with the classic "Dodgers" script spanning the chest, and the retired number "32" on the verso. "Koufax 57" is chain-stitched in the tail, and the collar is signed in perfect blue marker by Koufax himself.
Heritage Galleries, with annual sales exceeding $250 million, is the world's largest collectibles auctioneer, handling rare coins, sports collectibles, currency, comic books, vintage movie posters, illustration art, music memorabilia, antique silver, and Americana. For more information about Heritage, please visit HeritageGalleries.com or for more information about this current Signature Sports Auction, please visit HeritageSportsCollectibles.com.
HSC specializes in rare and collectible sports cards, as well as uniforms, equipment, and related vintage sports memorabilia. We are still accepting consignments for our September Signature Sports Sale. Prospective consignors or sellers of quality vintage sports cards and sports memorabilia are encouraged to contact:
Chris Ivy at 800-872-6467 Ext. 319 or email: CIvy@HeritageSportsCollectibles.com
Sam Foose at 800-872-6467 Ext. 227 or email: SamF@HeritageSportsCollectibles.com
Stephen Carlisle at 800-872-6467 Ext. 292 or email: StephenC@HeritageSportsCollectibles.com.
To order the September Signature catalog, call Nicole Jewell at 214-252-4272, c/o Heritage Sports Collectibles, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219.
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