Collectible Classics taps Honus and Jim Thorpe for

Autographs from Honus Wagner and Jim Thorpe, original artwork and vintage cards highlight an eclectic 148-lot “Auction for Collectors” from Collectible Classics Aug. 18.

Specializing in “collector-sized” lots, the Pittsburgh-area family business displayed many of the lots at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago from
July 27-31.

Wagner’s autograph rests on a single-signed Ford Frick official NL Spalding baseball. “Our consigner’s father got Wagner to sign a ball for each of his two sons after a game in 1947,” said John Burk, who owns Collectible Classics with his wife, Judy. “A dog ate the other ball. Really!  Fortunately, this one survived!”

Besides the Thorpe signature, a large pencil cut, football collectors will find autographs of Benny Friedman, Turk Edwards, Arnie Herber, Steve Owen, Bill George and Pop Warner on index cards, Jack Lambert on a Steelers jersey, 25 Steelers on a large display and Johnny Unitas on a mini helmet. 

Autographs of Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams are on large photos or artwork. A large print carries the autographs of eight pitchers who won at least 300 games.

The auction also includes a Michael Jordon autograph on a huge photographic print on canvas, two autographs of Muhammad Ali and a Sam Snead signature on Time magazine. For non-sport collectors, there are autographs of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, as well as George H. W. Bush.

Original artwork is plentiful, with original portrait paintings of Luis Aparicio and Magic Johnson by Doug West, original illustrations by Willard Mullin dealing with football and anti-trust legislation, comic artwork by Todd McFarlane, a production cel from Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound” and Topps art related to the Gremlins, Flag Midgee and Wanted posters sets.

Two prints are especially interesting. A signed print by the late Carl Barks features Donald Duck in his 1934 Belchfire Runabout. A print of TV Guide cover artwork pictures Howard Cosell with a football firmly fixed in his mouth, Don Meredith, Frank Gifford and Fran Tarkenton.

Vintage cards are a staple of Collectible Classics’ auctions, and the August version has Old Judge and Turkey Red cards sold individually, an 1888 metamorphic ad card for Old Judge Cigarettes and (N173) baseball cabinet photos, a 1916 Gimbels card and Drake’s and Schapira cards of Babe Ruth. A late 1930s to early 1940s “Diamond Dust” punchboard with uncataloged cards and a near-set of 1954 Topps Baseball cards also are offered.

A rare 1914 insert of Honus Wagner from Baseball Magazine and an uncataloged 1913 Fatima poster of the Pittsburgh Pirates lead the list of unusual baseball memorabilia offerings.  The Wagner insert, rarely seen by collectors, is trimmed but still presents the full, vivid Wagner image created by J. F. Kernan. Another important piece of ephemera is the 1865 Leslie’s illustration honoring baseball pioneer James Creighton.

Collectible Classics is also offering a program and ticket stub from Roberto Clemente’s final game, a game-used Willie Stargell warm-up jacket, a Pete Rose high school yearbook, a Cy Young pennant, a bisque figure of Mickey Mouse as a batter and an early 1950s counter display of 144 team baseball pins.

Wire photo collectors will find 10 lots dealing with Joe DiMaggio, Warren Giles, Roy Campanella, Bill Veeck, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball executives, baseball players, players’ families and Rodolfo Fernandez.

One of the key boxing lots is a large film poster promoting the 1951 brawl between Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep. Both boxers were suspended after the fight for illegal tactics.
Football highlights include a scarce Denby premium of the 1932 Chicago Bears, an R311 premium of Red Grange and a 1951 Bowman card of Steve Van Buren graded SGC 92. There also are panoramic photographs of the 1942 Washington Redskins and a 1910 Michigan vs. Minnesota game, a smaller photo of Washington & Jefferson players at the 1922 Rose Bowl and a rare, circa 1900 Schissler College pennant showing a player in a union suit uniform with quilted pants.

Golf is represented by cards of Bobby Jones and a LeRoy Neiman signed print showing Arnold Palmer at the Masters in Augusta.

One of the more unusual items in the auction is a display with strands of Marilyn Monroe’s hair.

 The Collectible Classic auction listings appear in a two-page, full color advertisement on pages 44-45 in this issue of SCD.

For additional information, contact Collectible Classics at (724) 446-3079, or go to the website at

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