A rare Christy Mathewson signed photograph will be unveiled for the first time in the hobby when Heritage Auction Galleries concludes its next auction on May 6. Signature Auction No. 704 features the oversized (10.5-by-13.75-inches) studio portrait of Mathewson in uniform with a inscription to a Bucknell fraternity brother, reading “Best regards to Brother Gus from Christy Mathewson, Dec. 1914.” The piece bears a pre-auction estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
“Mathewson’s tremendous fame and Hall of Fame relevance, paired with his early death in 1925…directs supply and demand in extreme opposite directions,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles for Heritage Auction Galleries. “This is one of the finest Mathewson-signed artifacts ever to be offered for public sale.”
In addition, an autographed baseball jointly signed by Joe DiMaggio, and his former wife, Marilyn Monroe, is offered. The ball is from the estate of late Associated Press photographer Harry Harris and was obtained during spring training of 1961 in St. Petersburg, Fla. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 and up.
“DiMaggio and Monroe are among the most famous of all celebrity couples, and this one-of-a-kind baseball,” said Ivy. “Their signatures are bold and clear, and on the same panel of the ball.”
“This is the only known baseball autographed by both DiMaggio and Monroe with her name as ‘Marilyn Monroe.’ One other joint-autograph ball is known, but she signed it ‘Norma Jean DiMaggio.’ It sold for about $50,000 seven years ago.”
Heritage has plenty of other big-ticket items, including six single-signed Babe Ruth baseballs, along with a signed 1930s bat from a Ruth family friend, two signed checks with one graded PSA 10 and a signed photograph from Ruth. Other signed baseballs include: two Ty Cobb single-signed baseballs; a 1930s Baseball Legends multi-signed baseball with Ruth and Lou Gehrig; a 1930s Ruth and Gehrig-signed baseball; 1929 Philadelphia Athletics team-signed baseball; 1928 New York Yankees team-signed baseball; 1951 Yankees team-signed baseball; 1930 Yankees team-signed baseball; 1927 Philadelpia Athletics team-signed baseball with Cobb; 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers team-signed baseball; late 1920s Legends signed ball with Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig and Tris Speaker; 1972 Roberto Clemente single-signed baseball commemorating his 3,000th hit; a 1920s signed baseball with Ruth, Gehrig and Miller Huggins graded PSA 8; and a 1940s Mel Ott single-signed baseball.
Heritage also has a large collection of Jim Thorpe items, which came from the family of Thorpe’s attorney, Charles Gorham. There’s a 1912 memorabilia archive including Carlisle Indian School game-worn helmet and cleats with a letter from Patricia Thorpe to the Gorham’s; 1940s Jim Thorpe single-signed baseball graded PSA 8; and more than 20 original 8-by-10 wire photos signed by Thorpe.
Game-worn jerseys in the auction include two from Wilt Chamberlain (1962-63 San Francisco, early 1970s Lakers); Nolan Ryan (1988 Astros); Phil Rizzuto (1942); Willie Worsley (1966 NCAA Championship Texas Western); Pete Maravich (1970s Jazz); three Michael Jordan (1992-93, 1987-88 and 1995-96); Shaquille O’Neal (1991-92 LSU); Dan Marino (1985); Joe Namath (circa 1971-73); Bobby Layne (1940s high school jersey); and Roger Staubach (1970s).
Other notable items include a rare 1928 Lefty Grove Lucky Strike outdoor advertising sign, which measures 27-by-62 inches are was made to display on the side of a barn for passing motorists to see; 1911 Addie Joss benefit game panoramic photo; a 1928 New York Yankees panoramic photo; a 1923-25 Babe Ruth game-used bat graded SCD A9; and a 1959 Mickey Mantle All-Star game-used bat.
For more information about Heritage’s auctions, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, go to www.HeritageAuctions.com.