Heritage Auction Galleries, the Dallas-based auction house that’s been largely recognized for offering quality autographs and memorabilia for four years, is starting to beef up its card lots in recent sales, and according to Heritage’s Sports Division auction director, Chris Ivy, its upcoming May Signature sale will host the largest card selection yet – with help from a T206 Honus Wagner and an impressive find of Mint 1915 PM1 pins.
Ivy said that Heritage’s PM1 pins are some of the nicest ever to hit the auction block.
“They’re very scarce, and the few examples that have sold in auction were tarnished, with the gold borders exhibiting oxidation and discoloration and the actual images being scratched up,” said Ivy. “Those have been in real beat-up condition and still go for several thousand dollars apiece. These, being basically the way they were issued and still in perfect condition, makes them a real neat find.”
According to Sports Collectors Digest’s Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, there is little known about PM1 Ornate Frame Pins, such as who issued them, when and how they were distributed and how many are in the set. In fact, The Standard Catalog actually leaves gaps in the checklist, due to the fact that there are presumably pins from the set that have yet to be discovered.
Bob Lemke, former editor of the Standard Catalog, commented on this scarce baseball issue.
“They’re still discovering new pins. About every couple of years somebody will come up with a new player,” said Lemke.
According to Ivy, one of those gaps has been filled with its offering of a Chief Bender (with name) example.
Heritage will offer nine pins in all, and the entire compilation was located by a collector at an Arkansas estate sale, who according to Ivy, was unaware of the tremendous scarcity and importance of the treasures.
“They contacted us, and I said, ‘What you’ve got on your hands is pretty impressive.’ ”
Each pin will be sold as a separate lot in the sale ending May 3. In addition to the uncataloged Bender, the list of PM1s includes Frank Baker, Frank Chance, Al Demaree, Ty Cobb, Johnny Evers (name only), Walter Johnson, Benny Kauff and Joe Tinker.
When asked what he estimated the collection to sell for, Ivy didn’t have a definitive answer.
“Whenever you get the best condition, that’s one aspect of it,” said Ivy. “Then you have the fact that they’re very rare and these are the finest known, and then you have to take their demand into consideration. Is this something that card people are going to go after, or is this something for button people only?”
We’ll find out May 3.