Alan Rosen was in suburban Detroit July 14, on a buying trip in association with the show in Gibraltar, but things didn’t start too well. Rosen first was offered a set of signed Perez-Steele Hall of Fame plaques; no deal was made. The second item offered also turned into a no-sale when the collector rejected Rosen’s offer. Finally, Rosen was presented a complete set of 1964 Topps giant cards in “fabulous condition,” Rosen noted. He offered $3,750 and the seller agreed.
Then came the gold-mine of baseball memorabilia. The collector told Rosen to follow him into the basement, and what Rosen saw literally left him speechless. “It was some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever seen,” Rosen said.
There were more than 1,000 signed baseballs, highlighted by a run of All-Star Game baseballs from 1933 through 2003, from both leagues, minus only seven. That includes such noteworthy balls as the 1933 American, ’33 National, ’34 American and ’41 American, among others.
Ultimately, Rosen bought 137 autographed All-Star balls, plus another 95 signed balls, including 25 league- and/or World Series-championship team balls, dating 1923-1971. There were a few losing team balls, too. And Rosen also claimed three single-signed Babe Ruth balls, plus four New York Yankee team-balls, including 1928, 1930 and 1933. Rosen spent $132,300 before he politely was told the buying spree was over, much to Rosen’s chagrin.
“If he didn’t throw me out (of his house), I could have spent another $200,000 or more,” said Rosen, who noted that he was not able to come to terms on several noteworthy items, including Roberto Clemente-signed baseballs. “This was the biggest autograph collection purchase I’ve ever made. This was one of my top 10 buys of all time. This collection was like going into the archives of the Baseball Hall of Fame and being able to buy things.”