A paycheck from 1930 issued to New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, endorsed on the back by him (“Henry Louis Gehrig”) and signed on the front by team officials Jacob Ruppert and George Barrow, sold for $22,600 at an auction packed with nearly 700 lots of sports memorabilia, comics, comic art and animation held Sept. 30 by Philip Weiss Auctions.
The check was for $2,198.38, representing two weeks’ pay for The Iron Horse. That was a huge sum at the time, but today might equal just one at-bat’s worth for some of the game’s higher-salaried players. The paycheck came with a JSA certificate, attesting to its authenticity.
Babe Ruth, Gehrig’s teammate, also made an appearance at the auction. A 1929 Ruth baseball card – Kashin R-316 – signed by the Bambino with a strong fountain pen autograph, was a hit for $14,375. By the time the final gavel fell after more than eight hours of selling, the auction had tallied about $400,000. The Gehrig signed check was the top lot.
“As always, the cream rose to the top in this auction, with most items selling strong for the most part,” said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions. “We had lively bidding both in the room, with around 75 people, and online, with approximately 800 registered Internet bidders. It was a great sale.”
Following are additional sports highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
Staying with baseball, a rare 1914 card for Ben Eagan (catcher for Baltimore in the International League) scored $5,750, while a 19th century tobacco card scrapbook album with a complete and rare 10-card N28 Allen & Ginter set affixed to the pages brought $10,175. The 325-card trove included a second series Morrell, 15 Old Judge cards, Boxers, Sportsmen and non-sports cards.
A rare and original poster from the 1954 Grand Prix Bern auto race in Switzerland, signed by the winning driver Juan Manuel Fangio and designed by artist Carlo Demand, roared off for $4,675. The 36-by-50-inch poster appeared to be linen backed and came with a rare original program from the race, the last motor race ever held in Switzerland, after crash debris killed 83 spectators.