For the fifth year running, Hunt Auctions, the official auctioneer of Major League Baseball’s All-Star FanFest, will host the 2009 MLB Live Auction in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week. The auction, scheduled for 10 a.m. CST on July 14, will feature a variety of historical baseball memorabilia, all of which will be on public display during FanFest, the interactive baseball extravaganza that runs from July 10-14 at the America’s Center in St. Louis.
As the official auctioneer, Hunt Auctions is offering a number of auction-related activities during the event from July 10-13, including daily auctions of affordable baseball memorabilia and free appraisals by nationally recognized experts. Select items from the appraisal fair will be eligible for consignment to the Live Auction.
The star attraction of this year’s Live Auction is an exceptional New York Yankees cap donned by “The Iron House,” Lou Gehrig. Gehrig’s navy blue professional model cap dates from the late 1920s to early 1930s and retains its original white “NY” logo on the front. According to officials at Hunt Auctions, the cap ranks among the finest of few known Gehrig game-worn caps based on its extraordinary condition and display qualities. With July 2009 marking the 70th anniversary of the Hall of Fame first baseman’s memorable “Luckiest Man” speech, the Gehrig cap is expected to realize $75,000-$125,000.
Other highlights of the Live Auction include a stunning 1956 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals road jersey (shown on page 22) dating to the prime of Musial’s hallowed career ($30,000-$40,000), a 1954 Red Schoendienst Cardinals professional model road jersey ($7,000-$10,000), a rare Musial rookie-era professional model baseball bat circa 1943-49 ($5,000-$7,500), a 1982 Cardinals full-size World Championship trophy ($7,500-$10,000), a high-grade 1964 World Champion Cardinals team-signed baseball ($1,500-$2,500), a Dizzy Dean and Paul Dean dual-signed baseball ($1,500-$2,500) and some great artifacts from old Busch Stadium, including the Cardinals’ 1967 World Champions stadium flag ($6,000-$8,000) and a Cardinals on-deck circle circa 1960s-70s ($2,000-$3,000).
The current generation of Cardinals greats is represented by a 2009 Albert Pujols autographed, game-worn Cardinals home jersey, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Pujols Family Foundation ($5,000-$7,500). Also look for a 2009 Pujols UDA autographed game-used bat ($2,000-$3,000), and a 1987 Cardinals National League Championship ring ($1,500-$2,000).
Gehrig, Babe Ruth and New York Yankees Memorabilia: A vast array of museum-caliber memorabilia representing the New York Yankees is slated for the auction in addition to the Lou Gehrig cap, including a rare Gehrig single-signed ball circa 1928 ($10,000-$15,000), Gehrig autographed Christmas card circa 1930s ($10,000-$15,000), significant Gehrig autographed letter with relation to his illness ($15,000-$25,000), Gehrig autographed photograph ($5,000-$7,500), Gehrig handwritten letter to Gabby Hartnett ($5,000-$7,000) and a rare 1939 Gehrig Day Commemorative plaque ($3,000-$4,000).
Never one to be outshone in life or in memoriam, Gehrig’s teammate Babe Ruth is also well represented in the auction. Among the most prominent artifacts relating to the “Sultan of Swat” is an outstanding 1923-25 Ruth Louisville Slugger 125 professional model bat measuring 36 inches long and weighing 371/2 ounces. It is documented by third-party industry experts as a superior specimen in terms of condition and usage characteristics ($50,000-$75,000). Other Ruth standouts include a superb Ruth and Gehrig autographed barnstorming photograph (shown on page 22) circa 1927-28 ($15,000-$20,000), a fine Ruth single-signed ball ($10,000-$20,000) and a rare “Bambino” baseball pinball machine circa 1938 ($5,000-$7,000).
Ruth and Gehrig notwithstanding, every generation of New York Yankees baseball is celebrated by numerous prominent artifacts, such as a scarce April 18, 1923, Yankee Stadium Opening Day program ($7,500-$10,000), rare Bill Dickey professional model catcher’s mitt circa 1930s ($7,500-$12,500), significant Joe DiMaggio 1969 Greatest Living Player award set from DiMaggio’s estate ($10,000-$15,000), DiMaggio’s Yankees Hall of Fame plaque presented to him by Mickey Mantle on June 8, 1969 ($5,000-$7,500), Mantle’s June 8, 1969, Mickey Mantle Day plaque presented to him by DiMaggio ($15,000-$25,000), a fine Mantle professional model bat circa 1965-68 ($20,000-$30,000), a Mantle World Series Home Run ticket display piece ($10,000-$15,000), Whitey Ford game-worn glove with possible World Series attribution circa 1961-62 ($10,000-$15,000), 1954 Ford Yankees home jersey ($10,000-$15,000), 1977 Yankees World Series ring presented to scout Harry Craft ($10,000-$15,000) and Thurman Munson Yankees professional model cap circa 1977 ($10,000-$15,000).
Dodgers hardware: The personal collection of Dodgers executive Robert Schenz, who worked in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization for 29 years from 1959-88 in various executive roles including transportation, Stadium Club and personnel. He was with the team through four National League Championships, five World Series appearances and the 1980 All-Star Game.
The sale will feature various award items from his collection, including: 1981 Dodgers World Championship trophy ($3,000-$4,000), 1988 Dodgers World Championship trophy ($3,000-$4,000) and numerous Dodgers World Series and NL Championship rings, such as 1963 World Series ($7,500-$10,000), 1974 NL ($4,000-$5,000), 1977 NL ($4,000-$5,000), 1978 NL ($4,000-$5,000), 1981 World Series ($7,000-$10,000) and 1988 World Series ($10,000-$15,000).
Cache of rare 19th-century letters with relation to Harry Wright: The auction boasts a recent discovery of 19th-century handwritten letters sent to Harry Wright, who is credited with building and managing baseball’s first professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. As a prominent manager for several 19th century teams, Wright received numerous pieces of correspondence relating to negotiations for players, and requests for matches against other teams. The letters on offer were handwritten by many 19th-century notables such as A.J. Bixby, N.E. Young, George W. Bradley, Charles “Pop” Snyder, J. William Johnson, James Devlin and others. The group is one of the rarest and most significant offerings of its type to be presented at public auction.
Boston Red Sox Memorabilia: The auction will include significant material related to the Boston Red Sox, one of baseball’s most storied franchises, including a collection assembled by a Boston collector who spent decades acquiring items directly from various Red Sox team sources. The collection includes numerous bats, jerseys and autographed pieces spanning several decades, with highlights such as a superb 1957 Ted Williams autographed Boston Red Sox professional model home jersey ($40,000-$50,000), 1964 Carl Yastrzemski autographed Red Sox professional model home jersey ($10,000-$15,000) and a 1975 Carlton Fisk autographed Red Sox professional model home jersey and signed World Series home run photograph ($5,000-$7,500).
Other prominent Red Sox related pieces on offer include: a Ted Williams professional model baseball bat circa 1950-60 ($15,000-$20,000), significant April 20, 1912, Fenway Park Opening Day panoramic photograph ($5,000-$7,500) and an important “Cy Young Day” Loving Cup Presented to Cy Young on Aug. 13, 1908 ($15,000-$20,000).
General Interest Items: An outstanding Ty Cobb professional model baseball bat circa 1921-31 ($40,000-$50,000); a scarce Eddie Collins professional model baseball bat with Hillerich & Bradsby Co. factory label circa 1920s ($10,000-$15,000); Roberto Clemente professional model baseball bat circa 1962 ($7,500-$10,000); 1949 Pee Wee Reese Brooklyn Dodgers home jersey ($15,000-$20,000); 1954 Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves road jersey ($20,000-$30,000); 1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles road jersey ($15,000-$20,000); 1984 Mike Schmidt Phillies professional model home jersey ($5,000-$7,500); rare Rockola “1937 World Series” coin-operated mechanical baseball game ($30,000-$40,000); a multi-signed baseball featuring (18) Hall of Famers, including Ruth, Cobb and Foxx circa 1940s ($10,000-$15,000); Clemente-signed baseball ($6,000-$8,000); Christy Mathewson single-signed baseball ($20,000-$30,000); and a significant 1871 Eagle Base Ball Club advertising broadside ($10,000-$15,000).
Vintage baseball cards: Anchoring the card portion of the auction are offerings from two recent finds of T206 cards made by Hunt Auctions, which combine to include more than 1,500 cards.
The first of these finds includes a collection of more than 450 T206 cards that also comes with an interesting bit of provenance. A recent fund-raising drive conducted by St. Malachy’s Church in Philadelphia inspired numerous donations to pay for repairs needed for the church’s 140-year-old pipe organ. The St. Malachy’s church organ was built by Henry Knauff, the grandfather of Jack Norworth, who wrote the lyrics for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 1908. Longtime St. Malachy’s parishioner, David Smith, whose father collected hundreds of T206 cards over the years, donated the collection to the church.
Hunt Auctions was chosen to offer the collection on behalf of St. Malachy’s Church, with the proceeds from the auction benefiting the church’s organ fund. The group, which ranges from VG-EX to MT, will be offered as single cards and various-sized group lots.
The second fresh estate collection hails from upstate New York and includes more than 1,000 T206 cards assembled in the period with substantial duplication of many of the most coveted Hall of Famers in the series. In addition, the collection includes significant groupings of T205s, E90-1s, T210s and a smattering of E95s.
The entire 2009 MLB Live Auction catalog can be viewed online at www.huntauctions.com. Bids and catalog orders may be placed through the website or by calling (610) 524-0822.
Hunt Auctions is currently accepting consignments for several future auctions, including the sixth annual Louisville Slugger Museum Auction scheduled for the fall of 2009.