Lelands.com banks on Wamby, Martina and Burke

Leo.jpgBlessed with a reputation that nicely marries sports collectibles and entertainment material, the upcoming Lelands.com auction continues that tradition with a lineup that includes: the glove Bill Wambsganss used in 1920 for the only unassisted triple play in World Series history; a massive collection of MGM movie costumes, including Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra” body suit; more than 50 works of art consigned by sports artist Sheila Wolk; more than 8,000 negatives from the photography of George Burke; thousands of photographs from the Hearst Collection; and even the famed organ which Eddie Layton played at Yankee Stadium from 1985-2003.

   The 2006 Lelands.com Winter Auction features more than 1,800 lots available, with Lots 1-755 closing on Dec. 14 and Lots 756-1,893 closing Dec. 15.  All bidding can be done at www.Lelands.com. Prices in parentheses indicate the reserve price. The auction is already accepting bids online; catalogs were mailed on Dec. 1.

   This summer, USA Weekend magazine asked memorabilia experts to pick the top five hidden treasures in baseball history – great baseball mementos with whereabouts unknown. Stephen Overby of St. Paul, Minn., read the article and was able to put the mystery of the Wambsganss glove to rest since his father, William Overby, owned the glove for the past 40 years.

    After the 1920 World Series, Wamby sent his glove to the Lannon Mfg. Co. in Grinnell, Iowa, to get a duplicate of the well-worn glove to use for the following season.  Lannon Mfg. made the glove but never returned the original glove to Wamby.  Several years later, Mr. Lannon gifted the glove to his friend George McDonald during a vacation to his summer home on Akely, Minn. The glove remained in his possession until he gave the glove to his caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Wasson before he died.  William Overby received the glove from his aunt and uncle (Mr.and Mrs. Wasson) as a youngster during the 1960s. 

   Three documents accompany the glove. The first is a 1945 letter to Mr. McDonald from the sports editor of the Minneapolis Star Journal and Tribune telling him the story of the glove and recommending how he should go about placing the item in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The second letter, written in 1948, recounts the story and offers to showcase the glove to a group of baseball fans. Also included with the glove is a picture of Wambsganss wearing the glove taken the day after the game with the other three players involved in the triple play.

   Lelands.com is offering a collection of nine classic MGM movie costumes in one lot ($100,000). This lot was originally obtained by the consignor at the 1970 MGM auction. All come with photo evidence of the actor or actress wearing the costume and many still contain the tags from the MGM auction.  (1) Elizabeth Taylor costume from “Cleopatra”; (2) James Dean pants from “Giant”; (3) Bette Davis jacket and cape from “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex,” worn in the scene where she is on her throne and being consoled by Errol Flynn; (4) Frank Sinatra pants from “Anchors Aweigh”; (5) Susan Hayward dress from “Untamed,” used by Hayward in her arrival on Bree St. in Capetown; (6) Errol Flynn jacket from, “The Adventures of Don Juan”; 7)  Fred Astaire shirt and pants from “Royal Wedding”; (8)  Greta Garbo cape from “Queen Christina”; (9) Vivien Leigh dress pieces from “Gone with the Wind.”

   Fresh on the heels of beginning to offer the archives of the San Francisco Examiner in its last auction, Lelands.com presents a massive collection of 8,000 negatives from the works of noted sports photographer George Burke. Although he may not have been as well-known as Conlon and Louis Van Oeyen, Burke was unique in that his work was more akin to the Hollywood glamour photographers of the 1930s.  His backlighting, invasive composition, and matte finished portraits brought a style and flair to sports photography that had not been seen before or since.

   These 8,000 original negatives were obtained from famed collector Jim Rowe. The majority of the negatives are first-generation originals, measuring 5-by-7 inches and are in excellent condition. Some of the names included are: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, John McGraw, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Hack Wilson, Lefty Grove, Casey Stengel, Bob Feller and thousands more ($25,000).

   Rowe has also consigned to Lelands.com his personal photo collection of more than 5,000 original prints. About 80 percent of the collection is 8-by-10 prints, with the remainder being 5-by-7’s. The collection consists of more than 300 original Wirephotos from 1920-70, plus team-issued photos, as well as photos he made from original negatives and photos. This is a comprehensive collection of 20th-century baseball and the players. Overall condition is EX or better ($4,000).

   The auction will also offer thousands more photographs from the San Francisco Examiner archives. The photographs capture the world of sports, entertainment and history. Reserve prices begin at $25. In its last auction, Lelands.com sold more than $300,000 from the SFX Collection.

   The auctions is also loaded with historic game-worn jerseys from all sports including: 1955 Ted Williams Red Sox game-worn road jersey ($5,000); 1942 Phil Rizzuto game-worn home jersey ($2,500), a rare, wartime specimen worn by one of the most beloved Yankees; 1967 Harmon Killebrew Twins game-worn road jersey ($2,500), autographed and from the Barry Halper Collection; 1958 Billy Martin Detroit Tigers flannel home game-worn jersey ($2,000) from his only season with the Tigers; 1957 Vic Power Kansas City A’s game-worn  jersey ($1,500). The auction also features hundreds of autographed items, including a 1927 Yankees autographed baseball graded PSA-8, the highest-graded 1927 Yankees baseball ever offered ($10,000).  

   Earlier this year, Lelands.com sold many of the most expensive hockey sweaters ever offered at auction. The company continues its tradition with a collection of more than 75 hockey jerseys/sweaters including several very rare and historic collectibles including: 1976-77 Bobby Orr Chicago Black Hawks game-worn jersey ($10,000); 1941-42 Neil Colville New York Rangers game-worn sweater ($5,000);  a 1941-42 Tom Anderson Brooklyn Americans game-worn sweater from his Hart Trophy year and final year of his career ($5,000); a 1961-62 Red Kelly Toronto Maple Leafs game-worn sweater ($5,000); a 1991-92 Mario Lemeiux game-worn sweater ($2,000) worn in the first game played after the death of coach Bob Johnson and features a “Badger” Patch on the left shoulder. The item is authenticated by game footage.

   The first home run baseball hit in the Astrodome by Mickey Mantle ($5,000) is signed by Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford. When the Astrodome opened on April 29, 1965, as host to an Astros-Yankees exhibition game, the consignor was sitting in the Yankees’ dugout during the game. Mantle’s sixth-inning homer bounced back on to the field where centerfielder Jimmy Wynn picked it up and tossed it to Joe Morgan, who rolled the ball into the Yankees dugout and right into the hands of our consignor. To his surprise, nobody ever asked him for the baseball. He had Mantle, Maris and Ford sign the ball after the game.

   Dave Parker’s 1978 MVP Trophy ($10,000) is one of a handful of MVP trophies to be offered publicly; even rarer still, the Yankee Stadium organ ($10,000) that Layton played at the Stadium from 1985 until he left in 2003.

   Martina Navratilova, the most accomplished tennis player of all time, agreed to give a collector three uniforms and racquets she wore at her final Grand Slam appearances. The collector consigned the following three items to Lelands.com including: 2006 French Open Navratilova match-worn and signed uniform and racquet ($2,500), a custom-made Bosworth tennis racquet and shirt and shorts worn in her final women’s doubles match of the 2006 French Open; 2006 U.S. Open Navratilova match-worn and signed uniform and racquet ($2,500) from her final women’s doubles match at the U.S. Open; and 2006 Wimbledon Championships Navratilova match-worn and signed uniform and racquet ($2,500) from her doubles match in which she and her teammate Liezel Huber defeated Jelena Jankovic and Tina Krizan. Her team was ousted the next day and she announced that the tournament was her final Wimbledon.

The Sheila Wolk Collection

   For more than a decade, Sheila Wolk was one of the most well-regarded artists of our time. She did most of her sports art in the 1980s, and then abruptly shifted her focuses to the world of fantasy art. She was honored in 1987 as the Sports Artist of the Year by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives.  Wolk’s “Baseball Pastels and World Series Art” is on display in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. She also did the art for the cover of the 1984 Official World Series book and the official art for the 1984 Winter Olympics – still on display in Sarejevo.

   Wolk has consigned Lelands.com more than 50 pieces from her personal collection. These cover nearly all sports, sizes and price ranges. All works are in near-mint condition.

   A few highlights: “Affirmed vs. Alydar for the Triple Crown” – a massive 72-by-96-inch original ($30,000); an amazing baseball diptych “Taking It Home,” two pieces, with the left measuring: 46-by-56 and the right 46-by-70 ($20,000); “A Little Piece of Green, – Jack Nicklaus” ($10,000) measuring 461/2-by-58; “Fly Like an Eagle – Mickey Mantle” ($3,000) measuring 48-by-72; “In For The Kill” – Wayne Gretzky” ($2,000); “The Knicks All-Star 5” – Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere ($2,000) at 46-by-70.

    Among 125 lots of baseball cards being offered are: 1909-11 American Caramel E-90-1 Joe Jackson SGC 70 ($5,000); 1953 Topps uncut sheet (10 uncut strips) including Mantle, Robinson, Feller, Campanella  ($3,500); 1923-24 Nacionales Cigarros complete baseball card set (40) all SGC graded ($3,500); 1952 Bowman complete set in (7) uncut sheets ($2,500); 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 70 ($500); massive aviation card collection of more than 175 sets ($3,000); and a 1968 Topps Football cello box completely GAI graded, with 34 of 36 packs ($2,500).
   For more information go to www.lelands.com.

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