Clemente and Pirates headline in Collectible Class

A 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates team sheet with a very large autograph of Roberto Clemente and an interesting assortment of other autographs highlight Collectible Classics’ Dec. 6-7 Auction for Collectors.

The auction consists of 619 lots of cards and memorabilia from a broad spectrum sports, and non-sports as well. Most lots are expected to sell for less than $300.

“This auction marks the end of our first year devoted completely to our auctions,” said Judy Burk, who owns Collectible Classics with her husband, John. “Based on our experience this year, we are more committed than ever to serving collectors by offering affordable lots, primarily in the $200-$500 range, along with a good mix of higher-end items.”

Twenty-eight Pirates signed the 6-by-9 team page, which is inside a dinner program from early in 1960. The Clemente signature is particularly bold.

Sixty-five other lots of baseball autographs emphasize Hall of Fame players. They include a store model bat signed by Mickey Mantle, several Joe DiMaggio items and bats autographed by Stan Musial and Pee Wee Reese.

The Sport of Kings receives special attention. The most unusual offering is a sign from “Millionaires Row” at Churchill Downs autographed by Pat Day and other jockeys. Three photos picture Secretariat in each of the Triple Crown races, and each is signed by jockey Ron Turcotte. Another group of photos contains the signatures of 22 jockeys, including Day and Turcotte.

A 1913 Pittsburgh Pirates spring training photo (shown at left) may be unique because it pictures both Honus Wagner and his older brother in a baseball setting. Al “Butts” Wagner, who played briefly for the Washington Senators and Brooklyn Bridegrooms, had a significant influence on the younger Honus.

The auction includes Mario Lemieux’s autograph on a hockey stick from his Junior Hockey days. The stick is signed also by early 1980s Pittsburgh Penguins players.

For golf collectors, there is a hat signed by Lee Trevino and 37 signed photos. Auto racing fans will find 57 pictures autographed by NASCAR, Indy and other drivers.

Football autographs are plentiful, with one lot containing 462 signed Football Immortals or Swell cards, another with baseballs, footballs and cards signed by Sammy Baugh and a third with a helmet signed by original members of the All-American Football Conference Cleveland Browns. Signatures are offered also of George Allen, Bear Bryant, Benny Friedman, Clarke Hinkle, George McAfee and Otto Graham.

Two scarce unsigned items represent pro football. The first is a sample ballot for the first class of the Hall of Fame. According to its curator, the Hall has 20 copies of the ballot, which was distributed in 1963 as a promotion. He was unaware of any copies that surfaced publicly in the last 10 years. The second is Mike Rozier’s sideline cape from the 1984 Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL. One lot provides an unusual link between baseball and horse racing. A 1931-32 original advertising poster features Bill Terry promoting cigarettes named for Twenty Grand, Horse of the Year in 1931. The colorful poster, (shown above at left) is 12-by-22 inches.

Baseball memorabilia lots include a glove game-used in the minors by Dan Bankhead, the first African-American pitcher in the major leagues, a 1910s Hillerich & Bradsby Frank Baker decal bat and a large collection of wire photos.

Cards are a staple of Collectible Classics’ auctions, and this version has cards from the 1890s-1990s. Among them are the only known cabinet card of Buster Burrell as a New York Giant (left), a hoard of 20,000 1970s-90s cards and 19th-century boxing cards. The auction has more than 100 non-sport lots with such items as a 1952 Star-Cal decal counter display, a vintage photo of a horse-drawn sleigh in front of the U.S. Capitol, autographs of Jimmy Stewart and Desi Arnaz, the first record album by Hank Ballard (wrote “The Twist”), a classic photo of Tallulah Bankhead and a collection of 140 flannel blanket flags. There are thousands of cards ranging from the 1890s to 2000.

More than 50 lots of baseball programs, yearbooks, annuals and books are included in the auction, among them this scarce 1944 All-Star Game program (shown left).

A free copy of the Collectible Classics catalog is available at 724-446-3079. The auction is online at

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