Love of the Game Auctions, an internet-based sports auction house catering to the passionate collector of cards and memorabilia, announced today that its Fall, 2018 Premier Auction is now open for bidding! The auction closes Saturday, November 24, 2018. Bid, register and view the auction at loveofthegameauctions.com/catalog.aspx.
The sale features sports cards and memorabilia from the 19th Century to the present, highlighted by the most historically significant piece it has ever handled: A Heilbroner Baseball Bureau information card completed in 1946 by Jackie Robinson. The Heilbroner cards were sent to minor leaguers when they reported to their first team, and were kept on file by the office for the preparation of their annual Baseball Blue Book. It is possibly the first document written in Robinson’s hand after breaking the color barrier, and traces the three-year arc from Robinson’s tenure with the Kansas City Monarchs to the minor league Montreal Royals, and finally to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Also featured is a beautiful, fresh-to-the-hobby 1967 Roberto Clemente Pro-Model bat. Graded GU 8 by PSA/DNA, the bat was given directly to our consignor’s father as a gift to his young son by Clemente himself, at a Pirates game in the summer of 1967. The consignor’s father was a supervisor at the TWA Airlines ticket counter, where he often helped Clemente make personal and family flight arrangements. To show appreciation, Clemente gifted a pair of tickets to the gentleman, who took his young son to the game. When Clemente was held out of the lineup due to injury, he gave the boy a consolation prize – his bat!
Keeping in line with Love of the Game’s reputation for unearthing unusual and rare items, the auction also features a number of pieces from the estate of 19th Century superstar Harry Stovey. The items, which include several of Stovey’s personal awards, his silver lifetime pass, a number of season passes, cabinet photos, and more, are unique items from the best 19th Century player not enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
“As we were putting this auction together, I was astonished at the number of items we were featuring that I’d never seen before,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “It seems that with each auction, our offerings become more and more interesting. This time around, we’ve got the Harry Stovey material, a huge assortment of T206 printing errors, and the largest selection of 19th Century cards that we’ve ever offered.
The auction features a selection of 1895 Mayo’s Cut Plug Hall of Famers, many of which are the highest-graded examples known. Names like Buck Ewing, Cap Anson, Ed Delahanty, Dan Brouthers, Amos Rusie, John Ward, and more are represented.
One of the most interesting items in the auction is the Appeal Book from Norine Delananty’s lawsuit of the Michigan Central Railway Company. Norine’s husband was Ed Delahanty, a 19th Century Hall of Famer who died under mysterious circumstances after being ejected from a train for drunken behavior in the summer of 1903. Delahanty’s body was discovered in the river near Niagara Falls; the mystery of his death has never been solved. The Appeal book comes directly from Delahanty’s family, and contains all the witness testimony in the lawsuit that ultimately awarded the family $5,000.
The auction features more than 100 vintage photos, including more than 30 certified Type 1 by PSA/DNA. The selection includes more than 25 photos by the great baseball photographer Charles M. Conlon. Names Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Eddie Plank, Lou Gehrig, Charles Gehringer, Frankie Frisch, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, and many more are represented.
One of the most interesting items in the auction is an incredible, oversized photo of the 1920 Cleveland Indians, taken by famed baseball photographer Louis Van Oeyen. Measuring 3 ½” wide by more than two feet high, the piece was likely a presentation item given to the players and not sold commercially. “It’s an incredible item,” said Crisafulli. “We’ve never seen anything else like it. We’ve encountered two others in the hobby, but they’re clearly very rare. The expense to produce these would have been incredible during those pre-Depression years, so it’s likely that only the most important people received them.”
Another incredible rarity is a complete set of 1907 George W. Hull Chicago White Sox postcards. Individual examples of the seldom-seen cards occasionally pop up at auction, typically in low grades. This collection was discovered in California as part of an inheritance, the cards still kept in their original mailing envelope. The entire collection was sent to PSA for grading, and all but two of the 16 cards are the highest-graded examples in existence.
One of the most interesting collections in the auction is a grouping of awards, photos, and other material from the estate of Robin Reed. “Robin Reed was a lightweight amateur wrestler in the 1920s who has an amazing story,” said Crisafulli. “It’s like a tall tale, like Paul Bunyan, except it’s real. In 1924, Reed entered the Olympic trials in every weight class from 135lb to 192lb and pinned every opponent. Then he hitchhiked across the United States to meet the Olympic team in New York. On his way, he stopped at the University of Iowa and asked if he could use their gym to work out. The coach said no, so he asked if he could use it if he first pinned everyone on their wrestling team. The coach agreed, so he pinned every man – and then worked out.
On the boat to France, he pinned every member of the US Olympic wrestling team except the heavyweight, Harry Steel. He beat Steel, he just didn’t pin him. So when they got to France, he bet Steel he could pin him there. Steel agreed, and then Reed pinned him five times in fifteen minutes. Steel went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the heavyweight division, so Reed actually pinned the Olympic gold medalist five times, and beat him a sixth. Of course Reed was undefeated in the Olympics too, so he won the gold.”
Also featured is an incredibly rare 1887 Four Base Hits John Ward – one of just two known examples. One of the greatest prizes in 19th Century collecting, the card has been professionally restored, but is just one of two known examples.
The auction also includes a very rare 1910 Reach Company tin lithographic advertising sign. The bold, impactful sign was intended as a sales aide for sporting goods retailers, but is phenomenally rare today, with attractive examples selling for more than $20,000.
The auction closes Saturday, November 24, 2018. Bid, register and view the auction at loveofthegameauctions.com/catalog.aspx.
Love of the Game is in the process of assembling its Spring, 2019 catalog auction, which they hope will prove to be its biggest and most exciting auction yet. For more information, or to consign your valuable material, contact:
Auction Director (New Jersey)