On April 24, Sotheby’s and SCP Auctions will offer a fine selection of sports memorabilia and cards highlighted by The Bill Nowlin Bat Collection that was formerly exhibited at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in Tampa. Among the many significant bats set to hit the auction block from Nowlin’s collection is the only known “Shoeless” Joe Jackson signature model “Black Betsy” game bat dating from his major league career (presale estimate $200,000-$300,000).
The bat, manufactured in the 1917-21 period, is attributed to the well known “H&B Find” of the mid-1980s and has been in Nowlin’s possession for nearly two decades.
An outstanding selection of property from the renowned collection of Dr. Richard Angrist will also be offered, including Mickey Mantle’s signed 1958 World Series bat ($80,000-$120,000) and one of the earliest known Ty Cobb signature model bats, circa 1910-15 ($80,000-$120,000).
The sale will also feature property consigned directly from “Smokin” Joe Frazier, a significant collection of Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers rings and awards from scout Lew Anderson and a set of four scorecards signed by Bobby Jones in winning the 1926 British Open Championship ($7,000-$10,000).
The sale of 204 lots, expected to bring $2.8-$4 million, will be on public exhibition at Sotheby’s New York from April 18-23.
The Bill Nowlin Bat Collection
The centerpiece of the April sale is a collection of baseball bats from the greatest hitters in the history of the game. Assembled by Nowlin, the collection includes bats from legendary players such as Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx and Mantle, as well as other members of the .400 Hitters Club, the 500 Home Run Club and the Triple Crown Club.
However, the marquee lot offered in Nowlin’s collection is Jackson’s “Black Betsy” game bat – the only known career contemporary model. The bat that is being offered for sale is the only known full-name signature model manufactured by Louisville Slugger Inc. that can be attributed to being used by Jackson during his active major league career.
Also from Nowlin’s collection are Gehrig’s 1923-25 H&B rookie-era professional model game bat ($60,000-$80,000), a Foxx 1939-43 H&B Professional Model Bat ($30,000-$40,000) and a Mantle 1952-59 H&B Professional Model Bat ($25,000-$35,000).
The Dr. Richard Angrist Collection
Featured among the top items that will be offered this spring is an exclusive offering of 10 lots from the collection of Angrist. Each item echoes the primary characteristics that resonate throughout his esteemed collection – quality and authenticity. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens during the golden era of baseball in New York, Angrist was raised to be a baseball collector. He came of age when the game’s holy trinity – the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants – all played just a subway ride from his home.
Among the highlights from his collection is a circa 1910-15 Cobb H&B (early signature model) game bat. This bat, demonstrating one of the earliest signature brand styles used by then JF Hillerich & Son Co., is documented by independent bat experts as one of the finest examples among the scarce population of Cobb game bats known. Among the spectacular New York material from the Angrist collection is Mantle’s signed H&B 1958 World Series model game bat.
Also included is Mantle’s own 1953 Yankee team-signed panoramic photograph ($15,000/$25,000). This 8-by-33-½-inch black-and-white, silver gelatin panoramic photograph features 36 members of the 1953 New York Yankees team. Every individual photographed has added his signature in blue ink from key players down to every coach, trainer and even the batboy. Other items with the Angrist-pedigree include a Foxx 1925-28 rookie-era side-written game bat ($40,000-$60,000), Williams 1957 Boston Red Sox cap ($15,000-$20,000) and a 1947 DiMaggio H&B game-used World Series bat ($60,000-$80,000).
Collection from former Yankee Stadium organist Eddie Layton
In addition to the Yankee material from the Angrist Collection, the sale will also include a collection of New York Yankees World Series rings (1978, 1996, 1999) from former Yankee Stadium organist Eddie Layton. For three decades, Layton and his 50,000-watt organ led millions of Yankee fans in “Charge” and “You’ve Got to Have Heart.” When Layton retired on Sept. 28, 2003, his last performance was to play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” with fans chanting “Eddie! Eddie!” as a tribute to a longtime member of the Yankees’ club. The rings, from years 1978 (est. $10,000/$15,000), 1996 ($15,000-$20,000) and 1999 ($18,000-$25,000) commemorate the Yankees’ 22nd, 23rd and 25th world championships.
Highlighting a selection of important cards is a 1915 Cracker Jack Baseball complete set in an original Cracker Jack album which has been consigned by the family of the original owner, Ernest Clark Gill ($50,000/$75,000). Also featured in the section of cards is a complete PSA-graded 1968 Topps 3D Baseball set of 12 ($15,000-20,000).
Important Yankees Flannels
Three historically significant Yankees jerseys are among the standout lots in the sale, including DiMaggio’s 1936 rookie home uniform ($250,000 and up). Manufactured by Spalding, the uniform, consisting of a jersey and pants, is one of only two home pinstriped uniforms issued to DiMaggio for his 1936 debut season (he was also issued two road uniforms, one of which resides in the Hall of Fame).
Also featured is a circa 1933 Gehrig Yankees road jersey ($150,000-$200,000). The style of this road gray Yankees flannel jersey dates it to the pivotal 1933-34 period, when Ruth was in his final seasons in New York and the torch of Yankee greatness was being passed into Gehrig’s lone hand. Manufactured by Spalding, this jersey is tagged exclusively for Gehrig featuring red chain stitching in the collar that reads “L. Gehrig.”
A 1927 Dutch Reuther Yankees road jersey ($30,000-$40,000) is also offered from the most prolific season in Yankees history.
Lew “Andy” Anderson joined the Packers in 1952, working weekends as a part-time talent and game scout. In a spectacular case of being in the right place at the right time, the former end at McAlester College in St. Paul became an indispensable part of Vince Lombardi’s scouting staff. For his efforts, Anderson was awarded this group of Packers’ championship rings, cuff links and signed footballs, a throwback to the team’s glory days of the 1960s Lombardi era.
Among the highlights are two NFL Championship rings: Anderson’s 1962 Green Bay Packers NFL 14K gold and diamond Championship ring marked the Packers’ second straight league title, Lombardi’s dynasty in the making ($20,000-$25,000), and his 1965 Green Bay Packers NFL 10K gold and diamond Championship ring, which represented their ninth overall NFL title ($15,000-$20,000).
Also included is Anderson’s 1968 Green Bay Packers 14K gold and diamond ring from Super Bowl II, which marked the Packer’s 33-14 victory over the Raiders and Lombardi’s final game. Other highlights include Anderson’s 1966 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl I 10K gold cuff links with handwritten note from Vince Lombardi ($6,000-$8,000) and a group of three Green Bay Packers team-signed footballs ($5,000-$7,000).
The April sale includes an outstanding offering of material that comes directly from Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Included is Frazier’s robe from the weigh-in of “The Fight of the Century” ($10,000-$15,000). Frazier held on to his title for three years, before a younger and stronger George Forman took it away in Jamaica.
In 1999, Frazier and Ali’s third bout, nicknamed the “Thrilla in Manila” was ranked by ESPN as No. 5 on its list of greatest fights of all time. In 1974, Ali won the second fight in a 12-round unanimous decision that didn’t win the belt for either. In 1975, the aging two heavyweights, now in their early 30s, traveled a third world away to fight in Quezon City in the Philippines. Frazier’s fight-worn robe from the “Thrilla In Manila” is also among the highlights of the April sale ($30,000-$50,000). Also included are a fight-worn robe from Frazier vs Jerry Quarry – June 17, 1974 ($15,000-$20,000) and a cornerman’s shirt made for Eddie Futch, Frazier’s trainer ($8,000-$12,000).
Among the golf memorabilia included in the sale are items from Presidents Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy, as well as legendary amateur golfer Bobby Jones.
Included in the upcoming sale is a complete set of four scorecards signed by Jones from his victory in the 1926 British Open Championship at the Royal Lytham and St. Annes Club ($7,000-$10,000). This win came right after he had won the U.S. Open Trophy making him the first American amateur to win both the U.S. and British Open. Jones would go on to win all four major championships in 1930 to achieve the Gland Slam.
Also included is a set of President Ford’s golf clubs ($20,000-$30,000). This set of clubs, with ball, oversize tee, personalized and twice hand-signed bag, were owned by Ford during his 1974-77 presidency. Ford donated his set of clubs and twice-signed bag to raise money for the Cancer Fund Drive.
Golf was a passion for President Ford who often shot in the 80s and once scored a hole-in-one. It was also a passion for President Kennedy, whose canvas and leather golf bag will also be included (est. $20,000-$30,000) in the sale.
Additional highlights include Mel Ott’s 30th career home run signed baseball from 1929 ($20,000-$30,000), Stan Musial’s signed 1941 St. Louis Cardinals rookie contract ($15,000/$20,000), Mantle’s 300th home run ball, framed photo display and box score ($12,000-$18,000), Mantle’s 501st inscribed, signed and dated home run baseball, May 17, 1967 ($15,000-$20,000) and a Bob Gibson 1962 Cardinals road jersey ($30,000-$40,000).