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Thoroughly documented relic from the personal treasure chest of the Old Dutchman!1917 Honus Wagner Day Presentational Loving Cup. The most faithful servant of the Pittsburgh Pirates in franchise history with over a half century in uniform, the noble Old Dutchman is likewise the team's most decorated star and its primary contribution to the game's pantheon. An inaugural class Hall of Fame inductee with the likes of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, Wagner figures heavily into any debate of ultimate baseball supremacy where these legends are discussed. "You can have your Cobbs, your Lajoies, your Chases, your Bakers," Hall of Fame manager John McGraw once expressed, "but I'll take Wagner as my pick of the greatest."
Father Time spares no man, however, and, after announcing he would conclude his playing career at an even two decades with the close of the 1916 National League season, a forty-three year old Wagner was coaxed back to Forbes Field for one last campaign in 1917. In a show of gratitude for Wagner's service, the Pirates management scheduled an elaborate ceremony to honor him prior to a meeting with the Chicago Cubs at Forbes Field.
A parade of 150 automobiles and two dozen marching bands formed a procession from Wagner's Carnegie home to the ballpark, where 12,000 spectators cheered their greying hero as Mayor Joseph G. Armstrong presented Wagner with the stunning loving cup presented here. Artfully engraved on the obverse are the words, "Presented to John P. Wagner By His Admirers, Friday June 22, 1917, Wagner Day." Wagner's monogram forms a skillful design on verso.
The ten and a half inch tall sterling silver trophy entered the hobby in 2003 with a letter from Wagner's daughter (included), but the trail of provenance extends all the way back to the date of issue. A thick binder of documentation includes photocopies of the following day's The Pittsburgh Gazette Times which ran a banner headline announcing "Honus Showered with Honors; Pirates Win." The moment of presentation is captured in photography just below, under a caption reading "Honus' Loving Cup and Pleasant Bride." From decades later, a photograph of an elderly Wagner finds him posed in an easy chair surrounded by trophies of his accomplishments. This loving cup appears on the arm rest to his right.
Scant few relics from the playing days of this Dead Ball Era legend have survived to tempt the modern collector, but from that thin supply few could match the offered lot for appeal or historical importance. A symbol at its presentation of the high esteem in which Wagner was held by the City of Pittsburgh, the cup today serves as an enduring tribute to the purity and mystique of the early game.
Fine condition, with no flaws of note. Letter of provenance from granddaughter of Honus Wagner. Photocopies of period newspapers, photographs picturing trophy.
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2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Dallas