Description

    Earliest known "award" from the mighty Iron Horse!

    1921 Commerce High School Graduation Watch Fob Presented to Lou Gehrig. It was in 1920 that the name Lou Gehrig first came into the national consciousness with a towering home run at the famous Chicago ballpark where Babe Ruth would "call his shot" a dozen years later. With his High School of Commerce team leading Chicago's Lane Tech High School eight to six in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 Wrigley Field fans, Gehrig blasted a grand slam that cleared the outfield bleachers, startling pedestrians on the sidewalk of North Sheffield Avenue beyond the right field gates. It was a truly staggering accomplishment for such a young ballplayer, particularly when considering that only eighteen home runs were struck at Wrigley Field throughout the entirety of the 1920 Major League season.

    Due largely to the fame generated by this superhuman feat, as well as some smart networking by his mother Christina who worked as a maid and cook at one of the college's fraternity houses, Gehrig would enter Columbia University on a full athletic scholarship upon graduation from Commerce. It would not be long before his play would garner the attention of renowned Yankees scout Paul Krichell, beginning the long and distinguished journey toward Cooperstown immortality.

    Presented is a remarkable token presented to a seventeen-year old Gehrig as he claimed his high school diploma, a fourteen-karat gold watch fob engraved on reverse, "Presented by the High School of Commerce to Henry Lou Gehrig, Class January 1921." The local Manhattan award manufacturer's imprint is below, as well as a "14K" gold content designator. Obverse features an enameled "HSC" crest and raised text at the perimeter reading, "The High School of Commerce Alumni Association." A silver-colored pocket watch remains attached to the fob and is purported to have been Gehrig's, but without any engraving a definitive attribution for the timepiece is impossible. The head of the Heritage Timepieces department Jim Wolf does confirm the watch is contemporary to Gehrig's fob, but states the watch is of limited value outside of its Gehrig connection, and is not currently functional.

    A detailed letter of provenance from our consignor explains that the fob and watch were passed down through his family, gifted to his grandfather by his sister in the 1940's, having been acquired directly from the Gehrig family. The precise details of the original acquisition have been lost. We are able to confirm that the manufacturer of this award was in operation in Manhattan in 1921, and certainly the unique design of the fob puts to rest any concerns that this important relic is not original and authentic. Fob measures 1.25" in diameter.

    The noble Gehrig would tragically lose his battle with ALS two decades after earning this early symbol of achievement, a brief yet full life of quiet brilliance. As he strode from childhood into adulthood with this fob dangling from his vest pocket, one of the brightest futures in our National Pastime's history awaited. Letter of provenance from consignor.







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    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2014
    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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