Premium Babe Ruth items and another Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris limited-edition signed bat headline the current Premier Auctions event, which concludes Oct. 26 at the auction house’s website, www.premierauctionsonline.net.
“We’ve got a ton of Ruth items,” said Matt Palermo, one of Premier’s co-managers. “We’ve got four Ruth signatures, and four really beautiful, pristine 1970s Yankees balls with Munson and Howard. We have a Zack Wheat letter written in 1912-13. It was written to his future wife a month before they got married, and his wife also happened to be his second cousin. It’s kind of a unique piece.”
The Mantle/Maris bat is No. 54 in an edition of 115, signed in the early 1980s. The 115 edition number is the total of their home runs in 1961, and this bat is Mantle’s home run total that year. This bat sold for $16,000-plus in an American Memorabilia auction earlier this year. Premier sold another one for just shy of $25,000 in August.
As usual, vintage baseball dominates for the auction house, which is the descendant of Mike Gutierrez Auctions, which also focused on that genre. “There are some really nice vintage pieces,” Palermo said. “We have a Ruth/Gehrig ball signed on the day that Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927.
“Overall, it’s a nice selection of vintage items: Ruth, Gehrig, Walter Johnson, Maris, Mantle and a lot of middle-priced, modern signatures. There’s something for everybody. We’re also doing another batch of the Toronto Blue Jays Clubhouse Collection, with almost every team from 1985-95 American League represented.”
Here’s a quick recap of some of the more interesting lots, besides the Mantle/Maris bat, which is Lot 1:
Lot No. 2 – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Sept. 30, 1927, Ruth’s 60th HR Date Signed Ball. Presented to a fan the day Ruth hit his historic 60th home run. Penned on the top panel in a hand other than that of Ruth or Gehrig is the inscription “Presented to Eddie McDonald By Babe Ruth Sept-30-27,” with a large, blue fountain pen “Babe” Ruth signature scripted nicely across the sweet spot while Gehrig has penned his signature above the commissioner stamp on the side panel of this off-white/tan Official American League Ban Johnson ball.
Lot No. 3 – 1934 Tour of Japan team-signed ball is signed by 20 members of the team including: Babe Ruth (ss), Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Moe Berg, Earl Averill, Lefty Gomez and Connie Mack.
Lot No. 5 – Jackie Robinson signed ball features a bold side-panel signature. Also signed by Paul Waner, Al Dark and Johnny Dell.
Lot No. 233 – Babe Ruth signed and framed 19-by-34 1930s check display, with Babe Ruth Chemical Bank & Trust signed check.
Lot No. 250 – Babe Ruth signed and framed 40-by-52 signature display, 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall. It is a unique Ruth montage, which features a fine Ruth signature.
Lot No. 253 – Walter Johnson signed 3-by-5 index card. It showcases a black fountain pen signature on a beige unlined card. Attached is an irregular cut 3-by-2 newspaper photo. Slabbed by James Spence Authentication, with LOA PSA authentication.
Lot No. 614 – Walt Disney signed Oct. 17, 1956 check, PSA 9, is filled out in another hand and boldly signed by Disney, payable to Walt Disney Special Account for $1,000, Oct. 17, 1956.