More than 200 Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay autographs, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees collectibles, vintage cards and a wide array of memorabilia will be up for bids in Collectible Classics’ 517-lot Dec. 13 auction.
Almost all of the Ali and Clay signatures are on magazines or books. Consistent with billing itself as the “auction for collectors,” the Pittsburgh-area auction company is offering almost all of the autographs individually.
Exceptions are a lot of 34 different Sports Illustrated issues signed on the cover by Ali and a group of 19 autographed Ring magazines. The Sports Illustrated collection is only three short of being complete; Ali made the cover of 37 issues. Many of the issues are signed by both Ali and Joe Frazier.
The Ali collection, one of the largest ever offered, also includes autographed record albums and picture sleeves, advertisements, programs, a religious tract and pennants. Among the more unusual items are a copy of the 1963 record album “I Am the Greatest!” with both Clay and Ali signatures, a signed point-of-purchase display for D-Con Roach Traps and a wrapper from Ali’s Crisp Crunch candy bar with his signature. Books and magazines in Spanish and other languages are part of the collection.
A 1932 contract signed by Hall of Fame executive Barney Dreyfuss is one of several vintage Pittsburgh Pirates lots. Perhaps even scarcer than Dreyfuss’ autograph is a full-sized “Champions – 1910 – Nuf Ced” pennant that commemorates the Pirates’ 1910 World Series triumph. An autograph of Honus Wagner is also up for auction, and so is a rare 1925 booklet summarizing each 1925 World Series game. It promotes a Pittsburgh restaurant.
From a more recent era, the auction has a 1960 complete team set of Pirates autographs on various media. They include general manager Joe L. Brown, manager Danny Murtaugh, the team’s coaches and every player who appeared in a 1960 regular season game. The Roberto Clemente signature is ornate and dominates a 6-by-9-inch autograph page. Five 1960 pennants, two seldom seen, are also up for bid.
Yankees memorabilia includes Mickey Mantle autographs on a reproduction jersey, an official baseball, a lithograph, and a poster with Don Mattingly. Other Yankees memorabilia includes a Thurman Munson signed index card; Roger Maris signature on an official ball; a July 4, 1941, ticket stub for the Lou Gehrig Memorial event (rescheduled to July 6); and a Peter Rubino bust of Gehrig. Babe Ruth is the subject of two Ron Stark giclee prints, one showing him with Gehrig, and several recent silver prints made from vintage original negatives.
Yankees collectors will also find World Series programs and ticket stubs from 1936, 1937, 1942, 1947, 1949, 1958, 1960 and 1962.
An original signed sketch by LeRoy Neiman has a Yankees connection. Neiman’s watercolor sketch captures Tony Kubek, the former New York infielder, broadcasting the 1975 World Series between Cincinnati and Boston for NBC. Kubek also autographed the sketch.
Babe Didrikson’s signature is one of several less common autographs. She signed a 1934 House of David baseball barnstorming team scorecard. Didrikson pitched for the team. Collectible Classics is also selling a Satchel Paige single-signed ball with a light but fully readable autograph, a Ty Cobb signed check and an Artvue Hall of Fame black-and-white plaque postcard with a Wahoo Sam Crawford signature.
Football collectors can choose from a Brian Piccolo signature on an autograph page; photos signed individually by Howard Jones, the College Hall of Fame Southern Cal coach, and Cal Hubbard, the only member of both the Baseball and Pro Football Hall of Fame; a football boldly signed by 34 NFL Hall of Fame members; and a calendar photo with Walter Payton’s autograph.
Baseball and other cards are always staples of Collectible Classics’ auctions. Lots up for bid in this auction include a 1952 Topps partial set, 201 of the first 250 cards; a near set of 1909-10 T51 College Series cards, 148 of 150; a T206 Ty Cobb red background portrait; and individual cards and card groups ranging from 1889 to the 1980s. A 1910-11 M116 “Sporting Life” Honus Wagner card featured in the sale is graded 70 EX+ 5.5 by SGC.
Collectible Classics also has football, hockey, basketball, golf, boxing and non-sport cards, autographs and memorabilia. Autographs of Arnold Palmer on his only Time cover and Payne Steward are among the golf lots.
One of the most attractive collectibles in the auction is a framed 32-by-40-inch hand-pulled 1987 serigraph on paper from a Mark King painting. Titled “Amen Corner,” it provides a view of the Augusta National Golf Club.
A hockey lot contains the autographs of 55 Hall of Fame members on cards. A lithograph features Joe Thiess art commemorating Wayne Gretzky’s 2,000th goal and is signed by “The Great One.”
Basketball autographs are by John Brisker, the controversial ABA and NBA star who disappeared in Uganda in 1979, and Bill Russell on a Christopher Paluso limited-edition print.
Other auction highlights include 38 Cincinnati Reds yearbooks ranging from 1948-96, a collection of non-sport exhibit cards and a U. S. Grant CDV.