Collectible Classics mixes old and new treasures

Collectible Classics will offer hundreds of collector-sized sports and non-sports lots punctuated by a variety of higher-end items during its Auction for Collectors June 21 and 22.

Conducted by John and Judy Burk, the phone and online auction will consist of 775 lots, with most expected to sell for $100-$500. Minimum bids average $70.

Highlights include an Alex Rodriguez rookie-era game-used bat, two programs featuring Roberto Clemente before his major league debut, an 1883 Boston-Providence scorecard with Hall of Fame pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn, an assortment of baseball “type” cards and a program from Super Bowl II.

Besides the A-Rod bat, Collectible Classics is offering game-used bats from Jim Perry, Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz, and Cubs, Red Sox and Phillies players.

Autograph highlights include Honus Wagner on a 1917 check to his brother, a strong Clemente signature on a 1966 team ball, a scarce “Barry L. Bonds” signed ball, and an index card with biographical information on Fritz Pollard, recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Checks signed by Wagner during his playing days are uncommon.

An autograph of Hall of Fame boxer Henry Armstrong appears on a photo that shows him with dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Signed issues of Sports Illustrated are another autograph highlight: Doak Walker and his wife Skeeter Werner, Charlie Conerly, Bob Hope, Ray Nitschke and Muhammad Ali and others. An outstanding collection of Basketball Hall of Fame autographs is on tent cards from induction ceremonies. Hockey and celebrity autographs are also offered.

Approximately 1,400 baseball books are to be sold in more than 80 lots.  A deluxe edition of A. G. Spalding’s 1911 Base Ball: America’s National Game leads off the collection, which also includes the Harold Seymour trilogy on baseball history, a near-complete set of Putnam baseball histories and some individual books: Commy, G. W. Axelson’s 1919 biography of Charles Comiskey; a 1933 hardbound edition of Who’s Who and Babe Ruth’s Own Book of Baseball. One lot contains 180 biographies. 

Card offerings include rarities like the Morgan Stationery Red Belt, W. W. Smith Honus Wagner, PC796 Sepia and stadium postcards, and Goudey, Diamond Stars, Play Ball, scarce George Miller and 1950’s cards. 

Based in suburban Pittsburgh, Collectible Classics continues a tradition with a 37-lot Pittsburgh Pirates section that has the scarce Pittsburgh Press supplement of the 1903 team, a 1944 All-Star Game program, a Forbes Field seat bottom signed by Bill Mazeroski, a Fred Clarke autograph, and pennants, yearbooks, scorecards, bats, baseballs and jerseys.

There also is a 1937 “Pittsburgh Pirates” team photo with Art Rooney, Walt Kiesling, Johnny “Blood” McNally and other football stars. The Pittsburgh football team did not become the “Steelers” until 1941.

A small Chicago White Sox collection includes a vintage tablet with Ted Lyons on the cover and a 1938 soda bottle with the White Sox logo.  The Philadelphia Phillies are represented by various lots of autographed baseballs, including game-used commemorative balls.
Boxing fans will find vintage photos of James J. Corbett and Billy Conn, an 1888 N29 Allen & Ginter album page with two boxers, ticket stubs for Rocky Marciano and Ali bouts, and a vintage Sugar Ray Robinson pin.

Memorabilia related to the Negro Leagues and early African-American players is offered across the auction. For example, four of the five issues of the short-lived 1950s Our Sports magazine are being auctioned. Edited by Jackie Robinson, this magazine covered sports from an African-American perspective. So did the 1970s magazine, Black Sports, edited for much of its existence by Bryant Gumbel. Twenty-seven issues are offered. 

Vintage football, basketball and hockey cards are also available. One of the more unusual football items consists of a trophy and signed photos that belonged to the majorette for the Green Bay Packers in the late 1940s. A related lot consists of halftime scripts for 1948-49 Packers broadcasts. 

Three 1910 C56 Imperial Tobacco hockey cards are being sold individually, and four 1940’s-50’s Boston Bruins programs are offered. A rare program and ticket serve as reminders of a 1960 basketball game between the U.S. Olympic team and George Steinbrenner’s Cleveland Pipers. 

A free, color catalog is available from Collectible Classics by calling (724) 446-3079. The catalog is online, and collectors may place bids at: A sampling of the auction lots is featured in a two-page, full-color advertisement on pages 46-47 of the June 24 issue of Sports Collectors Digest (last week). 

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