The final installment of the James MacAlister baseball autograph collection headlines Hunt Auctions’ annual winter auction, which is scheduled for Feb. 23-24 in Exton, Pa., at the Inn at Chester Springs.
The sale will include more than 1,000 lots to be sold live during two sessions beginning Friday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m. Public previews begin Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. Hunt Auctions will also be offering free appraisal services during the preview hours.
The first 100 lots of the MacAlister collection consist of photographs, 3-by-5-inch index cards, letters, books and cut signatures autographed by a variety of baseball figures, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, G.C. Alexander, Tris Speaker, the Waner brothers, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean and others.
Several other vintage signed items are featured throughout the sale, including a 1929 Philadelphia Athletics team-autographed panoramic photograph (estimated value: $5,000-$7,500), an oversized 16-by-20-inch poster signed by Roberto Clemente ($2,000-$3,000), an exceptional Lou Gehrig signed photograph picturing Gehrig in full swing with the grandstands in the background ($10,000-$15,000), a 1928 New York Yankees team-autographed baseball ($7,500-$10,000), a Jackie Robinson single-signed baseball ($4,000-$5,000) and an oversized Ty Cobb dual-autographed poster circa 1955 ($3,000-$4,000).
In an unusually sizable offering, nearly 10 percent of the auction contains items specifically related to Babe Ruth, including photos, baseballs, paper ephemera, games, pins, premium items, etc. Most of the pieces originate from a significant 20-year hobby collection, which will continue to be sold in Hunt’s Internet/phone auctions this spring.
Highlights include two letters written to a Rotary Boys Club signed by Ruth ($4,000-$6,000 each), a signed period photograph of Ruth with teammate Lyn Lary and each of their wives ($5,000-$6,000), a Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig signed baseball ink blotter as given out by Christy Walsh circa 1930s ($5,000-$7,500), a 1932 Babe Ruth “Called Shot” World Series Game No. 3 full ticket ($1,500-$2,500), an autographed color photo of Ruth planting a tree in Hawaii circa 1933 ($4,000-$5,000), and a Bambino baseball pinball machine circa 1938 ($5,000-$7,500).
The sale also includes a selection of vintage hockey and football equipment. Among the choice items are Bernie Parent’s Toronto Maple Leafs hockey goalie’s mask from the first round of the 1971 NHL playoffs ($7,500-$10,000), Johnny Unitas’ Baltimore Colts football helmet circa 1960s ($20,000-$30,000), and Unitas’ 1956 Baltimore Colts rookie contract as kept by the Colts general manager ($5,000-$7,500). The hockey section also includes a 1992 Brett Hull St. Louis Blues jersey ($2,000-$3,000) and a collection of hockey jerseys from the Atlantic City Seagulls and Philadelphia Ramblers.
The vintage card offerings are mainly composed of two very fine estate collections, primarily from the 1930s-60s, which include graded and ungraded star cards, several Topps and Bowman baseball card lots from the 1950s-60s, Topps baseball full and partial sets from 1954-78, Topps football card sets from 1955-69, O-Pee-Chee baseball card unopened wax box cases, a 1951 Bowman football card set ($4,000-$6,000), a 1953 Bowman Color baseball card near set ($2,500-$3,500) and a 1953 Stahl Meyer Mickey Mantle card ($5,000-$6,000).
Early candy and tobacco issues are also represented, including Caramel (Standard, American, and York), Goudey, Delong, Butterfinger and Diamond Stars. Highlights in this group include a 1928 Harrington’s Ice Cream Ruth No. 6 SGC 40 VG ($2,500-$3,500), a 1926 Kut Out Ruth card ($2,000-$3,000), a Zeenut DiMaggio circa 1933-36 ($1,500-$2,500), a 1923 Maple Crispette Ruth No. 8 SGC 20 FR ($4,000-$5,000), and a 1923 Maple Crispette Cobb No. 22 SGC 40 VG ($3,000-$4,000).
The Hunt Live Auction offers a wide selection of early baseball memorabilia and stadiana rounds out the sale, including a Shibe Park locker; stadium seats including Yankee and Shibe; a collection of coin-operated, tabletop, and full size arcade style games; vintage baseball related porcelain and metalwork items including Heubach statues, figural trophies, and statuary; advertising display pieces with Mantle, Ruth, and Gehrig; and World Series programs, pins and tickets circa 1910-30s.
The entire auction catalog may 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 Inc. is currently accepting consignments for several future auctions, including the third annual MLB All-Star FanFest Live Auction scheduled for San Francisco in July of 2007.