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True baseball royalty supplies a crownEarly to Mid-1930's Lou Gehrig Game Worn New York Yankees Cap. Born and bred in the city where he charted his path to baseball immortality, Henry Louis Gehrig was not only one of the greatest players ever to wear a Major League uniform, but one of the greatest men as well. Everything that the true baseball fan loves about the sport, and those lost merits we lament in this modern age of cheats and prima donnas, were embodied in Gehrig's quiet strength, and epitomized in the bravery of his famous farewell as he stared down the barrel of his own mortality. That 1939 ceremony in which Gehrig's sturdy number "4" was retired from the Yankee wardrobe could be considered the groundbreaking ceremony of the official team pantheon enshrined within Monument Park, establishing a standard for excellence all but impossible to match.
Gehrig's unparalleled blend of character and achievement has understandably propelled demand for all memorabilia bearing his name or touch to the peak of desirability, and nowhere is this more evident than in the market for his game used gear. Despite an attendance record bested only a single time in baseball history, the availability of Gehrig uniform pieces trails demand by perhaps the widest margin in the sports collectibles realm. This fact should not be lost due to the extraordinarily rare circumstance that finds this cap presented within the same auction as a Gehrig game worn jersey. Typically it is years between offerings of the rare few surviving relics from the wardrobe of the Hall of Fame first baseman.
The experts at MEARS, the industry's leading authenticator of game used sports memorabilia, is generous with its praise of this important relic, writing, "Its overall condition is superb and extremely well above average and could be considered as a superior example." They note that the unbroken state of cardboard insert in the visor is particularly rare in period caps, especially in those demonstrating the heavy wear one would expect from the sport's most reliable employee. The only condition issues worthy of note are found at the cap's interior, where the green felt lining of the visor underside exhibits wear, as does the sweat-stained leather headband.
It is upon this headband that we encounter the definitive attribution to the Iron Horse, a green embroidered "Lou Gehrig" in distinctive team script, perfectly matching other known caps from the era. The unique construction of the cap itself, from the six-panel construction of the crown to the formation of the logo "NY" at the peak, allows the experts at MEARS to narrow the range of use to the early days of the Great Depression, an era that found Gehrig a perpetual top-five contender for the American League MVP Award. A "Spalding" logo is stamped into the headband but no size markings are evident. A measurement of the band finds it consistent with the few Gehrig caps that have surfaced in the modern hobby, including the 1934 Tour of Japan model that garnered nearly $100,000 in the Heritage "Platinum Night" auction of 2011.
The presented New York Yankees model would significantly outpace the desirability of that barnstorming model, however, particularly for those legions of collectors with a concentration in the Bronx Bombers. It's a piece that would rank with the top two or three percent of artifacts currently on display at Cooperstown, a stirring tribute to the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. LOA from MEARS, Authentic.
Early to Mid-1930's Lou Gehrig Game Worn New York Yankees Cap.
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2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Dallas