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    The earliest known Wagner endorsed gamer!

    1905-10 Honus Wagner Game Used Decal Bat, PSA/DNA GU 8.

    UPDATE: Please note that the PSA/DNA grade of GU 7.5 posted in our printed catalog is incorrect. The bat is graded PSA/DNA GU 8.

    "There is something Lincolnesque about him,"
    Pulitzer Prize-winning sports journalist Arthur Daley once wrote, "his rugged homeliness, his simplicity, his integrity, and his true nobility of character." Hall of Fame manager John McGraw considered him the greatest ballplayer of all time, and Ty Cobb recalled him as the one man he couldn't intimidate. While his primary hobby legacy today is his starring role on the Holy Grail of trading cards, even that coveted slab of cardboard could be considered common relative to known examples of game used Wagner lumber.

    In fact, this particular specimen distinguishes itself even within that thinnest of supplies as the very earliest known model bearing his personal endorsement, the marvelously colorful portrait decal that remains 90% to 95% intact opposite the striking side of barrel. Certainly most known decal bats derive from a retail format, but all crafted for public consumption were produced at standard lengths to the full inch. The fact that this bat measures thirty-four and a half inches (34.5"), and that it bears lathe marks at top and bottom, assures that it could have only been made for the Old Dutchman himself. Leading expert John Taube further reports that the hefty forty-one and a half ounce (41.5 oz.) weight is correct for Wagner's documented preferences, and that it matches perfectly with the side-written model that derived from the vaults of Louisville Slugger. It should also be stressed that Vince Malta, Dave Bushing and Troy Kinunen--along with Taube, the four leading game used bat authenticators in the hobby--have all deemed the offering a Wagner gamer.

    The particular style of "dash-dot-dash" trademark stamping from "J.F. Hillerich & Son" provides the vintage listed in our lot title, a period beginning shortly before Wagner's September 1, 1905 signing of the very first bat endorsement contract with the company. As such, this could likewise be considered the earliest player-endorsed bat within the history of Louisville Slugger.

    The relic exhibits outstanding use from a span that saw Wagner claim four National League batting titles and lead his Pirates to their first World Series Championship in his sole battle with Ty Cobb and the 1909 American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Ball marks coat right and left barrel, with a scattering of spike marks on back barrel. The thick-handled format favored by Wagner, and common throughout the Dead Ball Era ranks, allowed for lengthy terms of service, and we see such evidence here. With battle scars on three sides, and a gorgeous decal on the fourth, this is a relic with all the aesthetic appeal of the vaunted T206, but with a singular relevance that not even the king of tobacco cards could match. Last sold in 2004 for just over $100,000, it makes its hobby return here after a decade in seclusion. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 7.5. LOA from SCD Authentic, A8.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,117

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