A stunning Homestead Steel 1919 Baseball Association sterling silver trophy, Roger Maris and Mel Ott autographs, a scorecard for an 1885 New York Metropolitans game, a near-pristine Babe Ruth Hartland, a 1949-50 Rochester Royals team-signed photo and a good assortment of non-sport cards and memorabilia highlight Collectible Classics’ March 29 Auction for Collectors.
While $100-$500 lots are prevalent, some higher-end items are featured.
Collectible Classics owners John and Judy Burk brought the 18-inch, 4 lb. Homestead Steel trophy back to its original Pittsburgh area home from a consignor in Atlanta. Homestead, of course, is the home of the Negro league Grays. Homestead Steel was the scene of a bitter, bloody labor-management confrontation in 1892.
The trophy contains more than $500 worth of silver. Inscribed in decorative lettering, it honors the steel-making facility’s top teams for 1919-21.
Original artwork for the 1957 Baseball All-Star press pin, along with an example of the pin itself, constitutes another notable display lot. The late Norman Shorrock, Balfour artist and executive, designed this pin, as well as most of the company’s World Series and All-Star pins from 1946-90.
Possibly the auction’s most unusual item is a lampblack painting of Babe Ruth on each side of a huge window shade (left). A Syracuse company created the three feet-by-four feet painting for an exhibit.
Ruth is the subject of an original Hartland figure, with the original tag and box. Collectible Classics describes the figure as white and “essentially perfect.”
The Pittsburgh area auction company continues to emphasize autographs with Roger Maris on a photo and Mel Ott on a 1940 Pittsburgh Pirates scorecard. Kevin Keating authenticates almost all of Collectible Classics’ sports autographs; the auctioneers provide most letters of authenticity.
Mickey Mantle’s autograph appears on a 1973 poster (left) for an event honoring him at Damaschke Field in Oneonta, N.Y.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are the focus of four autographed items: an ONL Giles baseball signed by Roberto Clemente and 28 other 1960 Championship team members; Honus Wagner, Paul and Lloyd Waner and Arky Vaughan on a game-used ONL Frick ball; Clemente on a poster, and 20 Pirates on a 1979 championship bat. A scarce, unsigned 1903 newspaper supplement of the Pirates team also is offered.
Other baseball autograph highlights include a bat signed by 39 Negro League players, a 500 Home Run Club baseball signed by 11, Ted Williams on the cover of Life, Sandy Koufax on a bat and vintage signatures of Nellie Fox, George Uhle and Tony Conigliaro.
The oldest scorecard is for an 1885 game between the American Association New York Metropolitans and the Eastern League Bridgeport, Conn., team. An 1889 testimonial program honors the New York Giants for capturing their first world championship. Event organizer De Wolf Hopper, best known for his rousing renditions of “Casey at the Bat,” is featured in the program and in a separate lot, a 1907 “Victor” recording of the poem.
Other important paper items include 1880s stationery from the Johnstown, Pa., Johnnies team and three scorecards capturing Games 28, 29 and 30 of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941.
Bats, gloves and photos are among the memorabilia. A 1912 photo shows a Japanese championship team. Early 1900s photos of a Chicago “Spalding” team. There is an 1890s first baseman’s mitt from Spalding & Bros., as well as a 1930s bat promoting Red Goose shoes.
Cards are a Collectible Classics staple. Among them are groups of Allen and Ginter, Kimball and Goodwin non-baseball cards, early baseball tobacco cards, Red Man partial sets with tabs, a Gene Baker error card, display boxes, uncut sheets and unopened packs.
Football collectors will find a large print autographed by more than 45 members of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, a postcard from Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith, scarce signed photos of college football coaches Francis Schmidt, Matty Bell and Swede Larson, and collections of Heisman Trophy winners and Pro Football Hall of Fame members. Cards and bobbin’ heads also are offered.
One of the auction’s premium items is a photo autographed by all 11 members of the 1949-50 Rochester Royals (left) and an accompany autograph of team president Les Harrison, instrumental in the formation of the NBA. Four members of the team and Harrison are in the Basketball Hall of Fame: Arnie Risen, Bob Davies, Red Holzman and Bob Wanzer.
A Cole Bros. Circus program prominently featuring Clyde Beatty heads the list of non-sport attractions. The list also includes a complete 1941 Goudey Sky Bird set, a group of 1941 American Beauty cards, a high-quality Rails & Sails near-set of 188 and an unopened box of 1965 Philadelphia Gum War Bulletin cards.
A free copy of Collectible Classics’ catalog is available by calling (724) 446-3079, or by visiting the company’s website at www.auctionscc.com.