Auction closes April 29. Please note that winning bidders in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are subject to the appropriate sales tax.
(845) 750-6366 | www.loveofthegameauctions.com SPRING 2023 PREMIER AUCTION CLOSES APRIL 29, 2023
I JUST TOOK MY FIRST REAL ROAD TRIP SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC. One of my favorite things about being the owner of Love of the Game is the long consignment-gathering road trips I take. A few times a year, I make appointments with a number of collectors across the country, and then I hit the road. Usually in a rented van or SUV, I travel thousands of miles over the course of several weeks, meeting up with friends, customers, consignors and colleagues, gathering consignments and chatting about the hobby. When I do it, I try and build in lots of time so that I can experience the country, seeing sights and enjoying the food, entertainment, and history of each town I visit along the way. I typically travel solo for about half the trip, and then my wife strategically identifies what
collectors is an important part of the hobby. We buy and sell, we watch the values of our collections, we work on our collecting projects, we research the pieces we collect, we study the history of the game. Along the way, though, we also meet people who could become lifelong friends. I have a little text thread with three other guys who I met in the hobby. We chat all day most days, sharing little news stories, in-jokes, sports clips, and such. Rarely do we chat about the hobby anymore. We’re just pals who enjoy each other’s company. Our text threads are almost like being in the same room together, just joking, watching games together, being buddies. As I turned my car out of the driveway of my last consignor visit, I wasn’t thinking about the material I’d gathered for the auction. I wasn’t thinking about the music I saw in Texas, the crazy weather outside Oklahoma, or the beauty of the desert. What I was thinking of was how fortunate I am that I get to have the friends I do, as a result of this excellent hobby. And I was also thinking that I wish everyone in the hobby was that fortunate. At the end of the day, if you ask me what my favorite thing about the hobby is, that’s what I’d tell you: the friendships. Every hand I get to shake in this hobby is a privilege. I hope sometime on one of my road trips, I’m fortunate enough to meet you.
she thinks is the best place on the trip, flies into that city, and spends a few days with me. Then she flies home and leaves me to finish up the rest of the journey. This time, I traveled a little over 7,000 miles in 22 days, making my way across this great nation to the Southwest (my favorite part of the country outside New York and New Jersey). I spent some time traveling on old Route 66 outside Tulsa, spent a few days in a cabin along the Colorado River in Moab, Utah (my favorite place to visit), enjoyed Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ. A friend and I hosted a collector’s get-together in Los Angeles, then my wife and I enjoyed Mission Beach in San Diego, spent a few days in the desert outside Joshua Tree, caught a few Spring Training games in Scottsdale. Then I scooted across the desert to Austin, Texas, where I caught some live music during the SXSW festival, and then hurried north to get back home to Kingston, New York. It was a lot. The trip was based around the Spring Training festivites, where my wife and I spent a few days with a group of collectors who have, over the course of two decades, become dear, dear friends. Every year, a bunch of us get together for some ballgames, dinners, drinks, and laughs. After years of friendship, we know each other’s spouses and kids, we’ve lived through each other’s highs and lows. We’re family. Some of the greatest people I know are in this group of folks that I met through the hobby. I think it’s easy to forget sometimes that the camaraderie among
Al Crisafulli Auction Director
SPRING 2023 PREMIER AUCTION − CLOSES APRIL 29, 2023 1
AUCTION TERMS AND CONDITIONS ABOUT OUR AUCTION
Please bear this in mind when bidding. WE DO NOT SHIP IN PADDED ENVELOPES, EXCEPT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCE INDICATED ABOVE. We generally ship in corrugated boxes, typically wrapped in heavy-duty bubble wrap with other ultra- protective packaging inside. As a result, we cannot reduce your shipping cost. It’s expensive to ship! 5. Residents of Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are subject to sales tax on purchases unless we have a valid resale certificate on file. We reserve the right to modify our sales tax policies, even mid-auction, as the laws and our responsibilities are currently changing. 6. We accept Paypal, Check or Money Order. We do not accept direct credit card payment, though you can pay by credit card through PayPal. By special arrangement we can accept payment by wire transfer. There is an additional fee of $10 per wire transfer under $10,000. REGISTRATION AND CONSIGNMENT 7. In order to bid, you must be a registered bidder. In order to register, visit www.loveofthegameauctions.com and complete the bidder registration. Bidders are required to provide at least one hobby reference in order to register, and registrations are approved manually by management. Thanks to some non- paying bidders, we no longer accept registrations the day of the auction, because we cannot check references when other businesses are closed. Also please note that if “eBay” is your hobby reference, you must provide your eBay ID. By “hobby reference,” we are referring to an individual business entity (for instance, card dealer, auction house, etc) with whom you have done business as a buyer. All registrants must be 18 years of age. Love of the Game reserves the right to refuse any bidder registration or any consignment, for any reason. Registering to bid means you agree to these terms and conditions. 8. Bids can be placed online at www.loveofthegameauctions.com by registered bidders, or by phone at (845) 750-6366. Phone bids will be made by proxy, by Love of The Game Auctions staff acting on your behalf as quickly as possible. We promise that we will execute these bids as quickly as possible but cannot take responsibility for internet bids that are placed by other users prior to executing a telephone bid. We also cannot take responsibility for busy phone signals or slow internet connections. 9. We reserve the right to withdraw any item from the auction at any time during the auction, for any reason. This includes after the close of the auction, in the event that there are issues or questions with title, authenticity, clerical error, untimely bid, untimely payment, or other issues related to human or mechanical error. 10. Love of the Game Auctions wishes to conduct a reputable auction with reputable collectors and consignors. As such, Love of the Game Auctions reserves the right to refuse to accept bids or approve bidders for any reason. Similarly, Love of the Game Auctions reserves the right to refuse or withdraw consignments for any reason. PARTICIPATION IN THE AUCTION 11. A bid is a financial commitment, and bidders are responsible for the accuracy of their bids. Once you place a bid, it cannot be retracted. If you’ve got questions about how to bid, please contact us PRIOR TO PLACING YOUR BID. Bidder error does not constitute a reason to retract bids, nor does a lack of understanding of the auction rules. You are required to read and agree to these rules prior to placing a bid. If you have a question, please ask before bidding. YOUR BIDS MAY NOT BE RETRACTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Your bid is binding and cannot be retracted. This includes max bids. 12. 12. Bid increments are as follows: Last Bid Bid Increment $0-49 $5 $50-199 $10 $200-499 $25 $500-$999 $50 $1000-2499 $100 $2500-4999 $250 $5000-9999 $500 $10,000-34,999 $1,000 $35,000+ 5%
1. This auction is conducted by Crisafulli Ventures, LLC, doing business as Love of the Game Auctions. The auction is conducted under the following rules and applicable laws. Consignors and bidders in this auction agree to be bound by these rules. By bidding or consigning, you are expressly agreeing to these terms. If you have any questions, contact us at info@ loveofthegameauctions.com. 2. A buyer’s premium equal to 20% of the high bid will be added to all lots. A $100 winning bidder will thus be charged $120. Any bidder who elects to pay by PayPal will also be subject to a 3% convenience fee on the entire lot. This fee applies only to payments made by PayPal (including credit card payments made through PayPal). 3. This auction closes using the “Double Overtime” method, with a 15-minute rule for the entire auction. In order to bid on an item during the extended bidding session beginning on the date of the auction close, you must place at least one bid on that item prior to 9:00 PM Eastern on the auction closing date. If you do not bid on it by 9PM Eastern on the closing date, you cannot bid on it afterward. To ensure that everyone gets a chance to bid, we will apply the 15-minute rule to the entire auction beginning at 9PM, with the clock resetting every 15 minutes. Bidding continues until no bids have been placed in the entire auction for a full 15-minute interval. As long as there is at least one lot that receives a bid during a 15-minute interval, the entire auction will extend for 15 minutes. Once a 15-minute interval passes without a bid on any item in the auction , the auction will close. At 1:00 AM Eastern, any item that has not received a bid for one hour or more will close without notice. The remaining items will enter “Double Overtime,” with the 15-minute rule applied to the remaining lots. NOTE: There are no exceptions to this. If an item is closed, it is closed and we cannot accept additional bids. This auction may close without notice at any time once the Extended Bidding period begins. We do not guarantee that bidders will receive a “Fair Warning” notice before the auction closes. 4. Winning bids will be subject to additional charges for packing, domestic shipping and insurance. We do not make profit on shipping. As a convenience, we now offer a standardized schedule for packing and shipping, based on the total invoice amount. This standardized schedule is $12 per invoice valued at less than $750; $20 per invoice valued between $750 and $5,000; $35 per invoice valued between $5,000 and $10,000; $50 per invoice valued between $10,000 and $50,000; and $75 per invoice valued greater than $50,000. Bidders who win three or fewer graded cards valued at less than $400 in total may request USPS First Class shipping in a padded mailing envelope for $5, provided that they assume all risk of loss or damage. There are exceptions to the standardized shipping schedule in instances of shipments outside the continental US, or in the instance of large, heavy or fragile items that require special packing or shipping carrier (for example, stadium seats, oversized and framed items, large lots or graded sets), or oversized items such as bats or pennants. In the case of high-value items requiring bonded, insured transport and/or transport by special carrier, the winning bidder will also pay all shipping, packing and insurance charges. ALSO NOTE THIS EXPLANATION OF HOW OUR SHIPPING WORKS: We primarily use the USPS and FedEx for shipping, and generally adhere to the following rules: • If your package is valued at $400 or less, we ship via USPS Priority Mail. • If your package is valued above $400, we ship via USPS Priority Mail with a signature confirmation requirement, USPS Express Mail, or Federal Express, at our discretion. • Oversized packages are shipped FedEx Ground. We generally do not use UPS, as we no longer trust their ability to safely move packages from Point A to Point B without damage or loss, and our experience has been that they do not guarantee their service. Please note, however, that the method of shipping is AT OUR DISCRETION, and we can choose whichever method we feel best fits the item we are shipping. We pride ourselves on packaging all items very carefully and diligently, but cannot honor special packaging and shipping requests.
13. “Max” or “Ceiling” bids can be placed on any lot. They must conform to the proper bidding increment based on a lot’s high bid at the time such a bid is placed. In the event of a tie between bids, the earlier bid received will be recognized as the winning bid. This is especially important with respect to “Max” bids and “straight” bids, because if a bidder places a “straight” bid equal to a “max” bid left by someone earlier, the “max” bid will be considered the winner. 14. We cannot see max bids. We do not have access to max bids in any way. If you choose to leave a max bid, we will not know the amount of that bid. We do not have a fancy brand name for this; we just call it “integrity.” It should go without saying. 15. Consignors may not bid on their own materials. Love of the Game Auctions reserves the right to cancel any bid should we believe that bid was made by a consignor, or representative of a consignor, bidding on his/her own materials. We reserve the right to decline consignments for the same reason, at any point before, during, or even after the auction, if we believe a consignor or his proxy is placing bids on his lots. Love of the Game Auctions is the sole arbiter of this decision, and by participating in the auction, both bidders and consignors agree to this. 16. Our auction system generates electronic bid confirmations and outbid notices electronically and automatically. Love of the Game Auctions cannot guarantee that you’ll receive the emails or text messages, however. We recommend checking the status of your bids online periodically. 17. We do not have hidden reserves. Occasionally, on certain high- value items, we will institute a reserve to protect our consignor. Approximately one week prior to the auction closing, we disclose the specific dollar amount of any reserves that have not been met. When we disclose the reserve, the current bid will be set to one increment below the reserve amount, and the next bid will meet the reserve. PLEASE NOTE: The reserve should be treated as a “bidder.” If you choose to leave a max bid that is greater than the reserve, your bid will automatically meet the reserve, and you will become the high bidder at the reserve price. There is never a hidden reserve. It is our policy to disclose whether an item has a reserve, right in the description of that item. If a reserve is not noted, and the item receives a bid, it will sell. If the bidding meets the reserve, the item will sell. We do not permit consignors to add reserves after the auction is underway, and we will not accept a consignment with a reserve unless it is specifically agreed upon prior to the auction. 18. Love of the Game Auctions, its owner or employees are not permitted to bid on any lot in the auction, under any circumstances. Bidders are not bidding against any “house account.” There is no “house account.” 19. Unsold or unpaid lots may be privately sold or re-auctioned at our discretion. Should Love of the Game elect to pay the consignor for an unpaid lot, we take ownership of that item and can re-sell it at our discretion. 20. If, for any reason, our auction is interrupted during bidding, Love of the Game Auctions may elect to extend bidding beyond the stated closing date or time. In the case of a serious outage that we feel impacts bidding, Love of the Game Auctions may elect to take more extreme measures to ensure that bidding is fair and all bidders have had sufficient opportunities to place their bids. Such measures may include stopping all bidding and re- starting from the point of stoppage on a subsequent day, and/or pushing the scheduled auction closing to a later date, or any other remedy that we feel is appropriate. This decision is entirely at the discretion of Love of the Game, and by bidding in our auction, you agree to this. If any bidder experiences a problem bidding, they should contact us at email@example.com. PAYMENT AND DELIVERY 21. Payment must be received on all winning bids within 14 calendar days of notification of items won. This is not negotiable, as it is important to us to pay our consignors as quickly as possible. Notifications and invoices are sent by email, except in the event that a phone bidder has no email address. These methods shall constitute “notification” of winning. It is your responsibility to check your account to see if you are a winning bidder. Any bidder not paid in full within 14 days of notification may have future bidding and consigning privileges revoked, and will be subject to legal action.
Additionally, we will publish the full name and location of all reneging bidders in our printed catalog, on our website and on our social media as a reneging bidder, and we will forward your name to other auction houses for informational purposes. Should an account be late with payment more than once, it is our policy to assign a credit limit to that account. Your bidding in our auction constitutes agreement to all these rules and policies, especially this one. Payments by check or money order should be made to Love of the Game Auctions, PO Box 3931, Kingston, NY, 12402 We make every effort to ship as quickly as possible. We generally ship under a “First In, First Out” policy, meaning we ship packages in the order that payment was received, unless there are extenuating circumstances. If you make your payment by PayPal or credit card, your payment is processed immediately and forwarded to shipping. This does not mean your item will be shipped right away. It means it is “ready to ship,” and is in queue with all the other packages that have been paid for. We hold all checks for 7 days. Please note that the above does not say “we hold all checks until they clear,” it says “we hold all checks for 7 days.” Our bank has advised us that the best way to avoid issues is to hold each check for 7 days. This means that on the 8th day, we make sure checks have cleared, and then we forward the invoice to shipping. This does not mean your item will be shipped right away. It means it is “ready to ship,” and is in queue with all the other packages that have been paid for. We realize this is a one-week delay, which is partially why the buyer’s premium is 3% less for buyers who pay by check than for those who pay by Paypal. While it does require some patience, we can assure you that we are still quicker than most auction houses. 22. Insurance is provided by Collectibles Insurance Services. The buyer assumes the risk of loss on all items purchased once we ship said items. Shipping carriers are chosen at our discretion. In no event and under no circumstance will the liability of Love of the Game exceed the purchase price paid for any lot. 23. We will not commit customs fraud on packages shipped outside the United States. 24. All items are purchased “AS IS” and may not be returned for any reason. No returns are permitted. 25. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. Bid retractions are not permitted for any reason. Once a bid is placed, it may not be retracted. All items are offered “as is.” 26. We accept Paypal, checks, certified checks, cash or money orders. We do not accept any other form of payment. We can, by special arrangement, accept payment by wire transfer. Wire transfers under $10,000 are subject to an additional $10 fee. We ship as soon as possible after payment in full is received. Ownership of any lot does not pass to the winning bidder until the lot is paid for in full, nor do we ship items to winning bidders without first receiving payment. 27. If a winning bidder has not honored his/her winning bid per these terms and conditions, then Love of the Game Auctions is entitled to sell the winning lot, re-auction the lot, or hold the non-paying bidder responsible for the entire amount, at our discretion, with the bidder responsible for the difference between the price received at resale and the non-paying bidder’s original bid. Love of the Game Auctions is also entitled to publicly disclose the names and locations of all reneging bidders, as well as any aliases or online handles. Bidding in our auction constitutes your agreement to our auction rules. As a bidder, you agree that a non-paying bidder is responsible for any and all losses incurred, plus all fees and/or commissions related to the subsequent sale of the item(s). Reneging or non-paying bidders are also responsible for interest charges at the rate of 2% per month for all outstanding balances until paid in full, as well as all legal fees and court costs incurred by Love of the Game Auctions in our efforts to collect their unpaid debt. In other words, if a winning bidder does not pay in full, he/she agrees to be held responsible for the value of the lot, any losses incurred as a result of having to re-sell the lot, plus interest charges of 2% per month on all unpaid balances, plus legal and court fees. AUTHENTICITY, GRADES, DESCRIPTIONS, and CAVEAT EMPTOR 28. Love of the Game Auctions makes every attempt to describe each item in our sale as accurately as possible. We do not “sweeten” or otherwise enhance any scans or images, save for general unsharp mask or image re-sizing, general color correction of photographs, and cropping out unsightly background distractions with the magical Photoshop program. Occasionally, an item in our
auction may appear differently in the catalog photograph than in person, due solely to lighting or white balance. We do not enhance scans or photographs, but we do shine light on items we are photographing, in an effort to ensure it is as visible as possible. Despite all this, subtle variations in print color, computer monitors, background lighting, and even camera and scanner settings could result in a catalog or website image not being 100% color accurate, and we make no such guarantees. We cannot accept returns due to discrepancies over color, brightness, contrast, flaws, etc. Any bidder who is unsure of an item’s true appearance is more than welcome to contact us with questions or to schedule an in-person preview or receive additional photographs. Similarly, we cannot accept returns on graded items because of a condition issue or flaw that is not addressed in the written description of an item. This includes marks, discolorations, stains, or any other defect that might not have been described in our written description or is not easily visible in the scan or photo. 29. Card grading and authenticity: We utilize the card grading service of PSA and SGC, and are authorized dealers of each. Additionally, we occasionally offer cards graded by CSG, Beckett or, on rare occasion, GAI. As stated above, we make every effort to properly represent and describe items in our auction. However, we cannot be held responsible for the opinion of a third-party grader or authenticator. As most collectors understand, opinions on grade or authenticity, while typically rendered by skilled workers with vast experience, are exactly that: opinions. We cannot guarantee that every card graded by a third-party grading service, or every item authenticated by a professional authenticator, would receive the same grade upon resubmission to a different (or even the same) grading service, nor would we guarantee that the item would receive a grade or be authenticated at all. All we can tell you is the number on the holder and the company that graded it. This is important: if a graded card that we sell is subsequently discovered to be overgraded or altered, we cannot be held responsible. We do our best to ensure that the items we sell are as described, but we cannot be held responsible for the opinion of an unrelated party, including the accuracy of a grade and whether flaws or alterations were “missed.” We do not warrant or guarantee any item authenticated or graded by a third party. Graded and/or authenticated items are sold “as is.” THIS IS IMPORTANT: Love of the Game shall not in any way be liable for any defect (either patent or latent) or controversy pertaining to or arising from any encapsulated collectible. In any such instance, the buyer’s remedy, if any, shall be solely against the authentication or grading company certifying the collectible. All graded cards are sold “as is” with no exceptions. Your participation in the auction constitutes your acknowledgement, agreement and acceptance of this rule. Furthermore, we do our best to accurately describe the condition of ungraded items in our auction. We do not guarantee that a bidder, consignor, grading or authenticating company will agree with our descriptions. Our descriptions, like those of the grading and authentication companies, are based on our opinions . We try to be as detailed and thorough as possible, but occasionally make errors in descriptions or images. Any error we discover or that is brought to our attention will be rectified as quickly as possible, provided that such an error is an actual error , and not an issue of opinion or speculation . 30. Autograph authentication: We utilize the autograph authentication services of James Spence Authentication and PSA/DNA, exclusively. We do recognize the LOAs of Beckett, GAI, Major League Baseball and its individual players and SGC Authentic, and occasionally sell items authenticated by those companies. Similar to card grading, the opinion of an autograph authenticator is an opinion, and we cannot be held responsible for differences of opinion between authentication companies. Authenticated, signed items are sold “as is.” We do not warrant or guarantee authenticity of any item authenticated by a third party authenticator, nor do we guarantee that an item authenticated by one company will be authenticated by another - or even by that same company, upon resubmission. With respect to any large lots of authenticated autographed items, we offer these lots with the understanding that a few of the items in such a lot may not be authentic. When rendering an opinion on such a lot, authenticators may spend more time verifying the authenticity of the “key” items, and thus an inauthentic signature may occasionally slip by. All bidders who choose to bid on such lots do so with this understanding.
SPRING 2023 PREMIER AUCTION − CLOSES APRIL 29, 2023 3
SPRING 2023 PREMIER AUCTION − CLOSES APRIL 29, 2023
Featured Items.........................................................................................................................6 Great Cards...........................................................................................................................18 Baseball Memorabilia..........................................................................................................28 Baseball Tickets and Passes................................................................................................32 Baseball Photographs..........................................................................................................34 Baseball Postcards................................................................................................................49 19th Century Baseball Cards..............................................................................................54 1900-1948 Baseball Cards...................................................................................................59 1949-Present Baseball Cards..............................................................................................84 Boxing Cards........................................................................................................................98 Miscellaneous Sports Cards..............................................................................................100 Miscellaneous Sports Memorabilia.................................................................................103 Autographed Baseballs......................................................................................................104 Signed 1952 Topps Collection..........................................................................................105 Signed Baseball Cards.......................................................................................................143 Other Baseball Autographs...............................................................................................149 TABLE OF CONTENTS IMPORTANT NOTE: Customers in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are subject to the appropriate state sales tax if we do not have a valid resale certificate on file.
AL CRISAFULLI – Auction Director ANDREW ARONSTEIN – Inventory Manager SANDY CRISAFULLI – Finance Manager DAVID HORNISH – Research/Copywriter STEPHANIE KOWALSKY – Graphic Designer
SPRING 2023 PREMIER AUCTION − CLOSES APRIL 29, 2023 5
1. Stunning Signed 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle (HOF) - The Finest Known Example (PSA/DNA GEM MINT 10)
they are today. In earlier days, autographing a baseball card was considered taboo; collecting purists believed the signature destroyed the condition of the card, making it less desirable. Eventually, however, collectors began to realize that this unwritten rule had an unintended effect: signed vintage cards were hard to find . Especially the more valuable cards of key Hall of Famers – who on earth would write on an expensive 1952 Mantle?! The result is this truly extraordinary card. Signed perfectly in blue ballpoint, carefully centered underneath Mantle’s image but not obscuring the Yankees logo, the card is a marvel, a well-centered card with amidgrade appearance and a bold signature. The card carries outstanding provenance, having had just two owners - its original owner was a dedicated and lifelong collector who pulled the card from a pack in its year of issue, and (with great reluctance, as the signature would destroy it’s value) had Mantle autograph it for him in the mid 1970s. The card remained in his possession until it was sold at auction a little over a decade ago for a then-astonishing price of $22,000. From there, the card remained tucked away in a collection of signed 1952 Topps until making its way to this auction. The signature has been graded GEM MINT 10 by PSA/DNA - one of only a handful we have identified at that grade level, and one of just two with ballpoint signatures. The card itself is a well-centered VG 3, with vivid color and a clean surface, bright borders and a crisp, well-registered image. Light softening of the corners and some pronounced wear to the left edge keep the card from a higher holder but certainly do not distract from its visual appeal. The card appears VG/EX; it is only upon very close inspection that some edge wear becomes apparent, likely the reason for the technical grade. Regardless, the card is far superior to any signed 1952 Mantle we have ever seen, and we are in agreement with the original seller of the card that it is likely the finest signed 1952 Mantle in existence. The 1952 Topps Mantle has proven over the years that no price is too high; no sooner does a sale break a record than another tops it. This example checks all the boxes: well-centered, clean image with a beautiful vintage ballpoint signature, centered perfectly on the canvas and graded GEM MINT 10 by the leader in autograph authentication and card grading, and with remarkable provenance. Likely the finest autographed 1952 Topps Mantle in existence, simply a spectacular card, one of the greatest items we have ever offered. MINIMUM BID: $50,000
Easily the most popular and significant postwar baseball card, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle has surpassed the now- overused term “iconic,” moving into uncharted territory during the recent hobby boom. Atop the want list of thousands of collectors, experienced and novice alike, it is often stated that the 1952 Mantle and T206 Honus Wagner are the best-recognized cards in the hobby, transcending collecting itself to the point where non-hobbyists can identify each card on sight. Certainly owning any ’52 Mantle is a badge of collecting honor, as it has long been considered a “blue chip” card and is universally recognized as the most important postwar card in the hobby. While the demand for 1952 Topps Mantle cards has always been strong, the supply has not been an issue, as the card is fairly readily available. Where the card becomes truly rare, however, is with the introduction of a vintage autograph, particularly one in ultra-high grade. As suggested by population reports, signed 1952 Mantles are scarce to begin with: while PSA has graded nearly 1,900 unsigned examples of the card, the PSA/DNA population report registers just 18 signed examples. Of this modest population of just 18 signed examples, however, most are more recent, later-in-life signatures, applied by Mantle in Sharpie. Examples with vintage ballpoint signatures are virtually nonexistent, and we are aware of only two ballpoint examples that have achieved the lofty grade of GEM MINT 10. The offered card is the superior graded example, and by far the superior (in our opinion more than the higher card grade suggests) of these two ballpoint signatures. In summary and in short, we believe this is the finest signed 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle known to exist. As is well-known, extremely high-grade examples of 1952 Topps Mantles will sell for extremely high prices: An SGC MINT+ 9.5 example sold in 2022 for $12.6 million. While one has not been available at public auction since 1995, a PSA 10 example (there are three graded at that level) would likely sell for more. Should the values of the very highest grade 1952 Mantles have any relevance to the values of the very highest-grade autographed 1952 Mantles? That’s for collectors to decide, but we cannot help but think it is interesting at least to acknowledge the relative values, particularly since signed examples are so rare, let alone in high grade.
Autographed baseball cards were not always the desirable collectibles
2. Beautiful Signed 1952 Topps #312 Jackie Robinson (HOF) - PSA/DNA Though the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle grabs the headlines, the card of Jackie Robinson has also ex- ploded in value in recent years, as the hobby final- ly begins to appreciate his immense contribution to American history. The card not only carries the leg- acy of Robinson’s greatness, it also carries with it the lore of the “scarce” 1952 Topps high numbers, hobby legend suggesting that cases of high numbers were dumped into the sea to dispose of unwanted and ob- solete inventory. The card is also beautiful, considered by many collectors to be Robinson’s greatest card.
As is the case with other 1952 Topps, true rarity en- ters the equation when the autograph is introduced; while PSA has assessed more than 1,300 examples of Jackie Robinson’s card, they have authenticated just five signed cards (as of this writing, their pop- ulation report reflects six examples, but this exam- ple is counted twice and one has yet to be removed from the census). Signed 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson cards are exceedingly rare. This is a superb example. The card is clean and color- ful, with some light edge wear and corner rounding and some visible surface wear offset by a striking im- age and rich, red background. Centered slightly to the right, the aesthetic appeal of the card remains strong. Robinson carefully applied his signature vertically on the card, in the red area along the right edge. Such an application is not unheard of for Robinson cards; his vertical signature appears on a number of other known examples, perhaps because signing vertically provided more room for his full name, and in the case of this card, improved contrast. Robinson’s vertical signature was surely intentional, and in our opinion with this card, is ideal, as the blue ballpoint ink is far more legible against the solid red and white back- grounds than in other examples of this card where a horizontally-applied signature is more difficult to read. One of Jackie Robinson’s most desirable cards and certainly one of his most rare, one of just five signed examples assessed by PSA/DNA. An incredibly im- portant card of what may be the most important American athlete. A true hobby rarity.
MINIMUM BID: $25,000
3. Stunning 1896 Betz Studios Baltimore Orioles Imperial World Champions Team Photo w/Five HOFers
Spectacular large-format photo featuring one of the great teams of all-time, the 1896 Baltimore Orioles. One of the most storied of all 19th Century baseball teams, the Orioles finished in first place for three consecutive seasons, and were the winners of the Temple Cup in 1896 and 1897. Master strategists, the team pio- neered “small ball” techniques like the hit and run and the Balti- more Chop (which was named after the Orioles), and were adept at bunting and stolen bases. It is no surprise that several Hall of Fame managers, including perhaps the game’s greatest manager ever, were members of the late ’90s Orioles. The photo is spectacular, a gorgeous example taken from the stu- dio of John Betz, which also produced the well-known cabinet photograph of this same team. Perhaps the best-known image of the ballclub, the clarity and contrast of the photo is among the finest 19th Century photos we have handled. Since we had an opportunity to observe the photo prior to framing, we can attest
that the mount exhibits a good deal of wear and staining, along with a bit of paper loss in the text near the bottom. Similar wear and staining, along with corner and edge wear, are also evident, though much of that wear is obscured by a beautiful profession- al matting and framing job, the photo behind museum-quality, glare-free UV acrylic, the matte constructed of acid-free material. Players pictured in the photo are as follows: TOP ROW (l-r): Joe Quinn, Sadie McMahon, Duke Esper, George Hemming, Frank Bowerman, William Clarke, Jim Donnelly. MIDDLE ROW (l-r): Steve Brodie, Bill Hofer, Joe Kelley (HOF), Ned Hanlon (HOF), Wilbert Robinson (HOF), Hugh Jennings (HOF), Henry Reitz. FRONT ROW (l-r): Jack Doyle, John McGraw (HOF), Willie Keeler (HOF), Arlie Pond. Framed to a finished size of 28” x 24”, one of the finest and most important of all 19th Century team photos.
MINIMUM BID: $5,000
4. 1917 Shoeless Joe Jackson Original Type 1 News Service Photo by NEA (PSA/DNA)
From his humble beginnings as a poor textile mill worker in Greenville, South Carolina, to his alleged involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal that rocked the baseball world, the legend of Joseph Jefferson Jackson has polarized fans for generations. Lauded by his contemporaries as perhaps the greatest pure hitter to ever play the game – “Shoeless” Joe tragically remains permanently ineligible to join baseball’s elite with a plaque of his own in Cooperstown. Though evidence strongly sug- gests Jackson played to the best of his ability throughout the 1919 World Series, the specter of his presumed collaboration with gamblers, along with seven other teammates, has cast a notorious shadow over his legacy for more than a century. While Jackson’s ultimate fate in the eyes of baseball historians is perhaps yet to be decided, collectors understand there is conceivably no persona more captivating. Love of the Game Auctions is proud to present this original 1917 large format Type 1 portrait photograph of Shoeless Joe Jackson from the Newspaper Enterprise Association photo service. As with many NEA photographic prints from this era, the presented example is oversized, measuring approximately 7” x 11” with a slight trim at the top edge. Though obviously tightly cropped from a wider shot, detailing remains superb with Jackson’s weathered features distinctly visible. Overall condition remains exemplary with a clean and bright surface, though a faint crease is visible in the upper-right corner, well beyond the image’s central focus.
The verso of the photo displays a handwritten identifier of Jackson in pencil, along with a September 29, 1917 date stamp - approximate- ly one week prior to the start of the 1917 World Series where the Sox bested the New York Giants over six games. Another date stamp, from prior to the 1919 campaign, also appears towards the top. A historically significant photograph with massive appeal to several genres of collecting, this specimen has remained tucked away in a private collection for many years, only now emerging to find a new home among the cornerstone pieces of one lucky collector’s trove. Authenticated and Encapsulated as a Type 1 photo by PSA/DNA.
MINIMUM BID: $5,000
5. Incredible 1887 N172 Old Judge Cigarettes “Old Hoss” Radbourn (HOF) - PSA NM+ 7.5 - Highest Graded!
Extraordinarily sharp and clean example of Hall of Famer “Old Hoss” Radbourn, one of six differ- ent poses of the great pitcher featured in the N172 Old Judge issue. Freshly graded from a Love of the Game submission, this is by far the highest-grad- ed example of this pose assessed by PSA (the next highest grade is VG 3). In fact, of all the N172 Radbourn cards graded by PSA, just one example – a sole PSA 8 – has graded higher than this. High-grade N172 cards are exceedingly rare. This card is in the 98th percentile of all the examples graded by PSA; only 87 individual cards have graded higher, of more than 6,500 cards assessed. That the card pictures a Hall of Famer – and one of the issue’s most desirable Hall of Famers, no less – suggests that calling this card one of the most important individual Old Judge cards in existence is not auction hyperbole. It is a statement of fact. The card itself is stunning. It is sharp and clean, with a crisp, well-defined image that boasts strong contrast. Well-centered, the corners are sharp with very light touches, and the reverse is clean. Rad- bourn’s cards are extremely desirable; he remains one of the most popular players of his era among today’s hobbyists. Simply a spectacular card, the finest Old Judge we have ever offered.
MINIMUM BID: $5,000
6. 1888 Conly Studios Boston Red Stockings John Clarkson (HOF - Right Arm at Back) - PSA EX 5 (MK)
Produced by the prominent Conly Photographic Studios of Boston, a gorgeous studio photo of the Hall of Fame pitcher and outfielder. The cabinet features a striking image of Clarkson in full uni- form, in a pitching pose. The photographer credit and player name are prominently printed on the mount, along with a copyright date of April, 1888. An ornate Conly Studio logo also appears on the reverse. Having spent the 1884-87 seasons with the Chicago White Stockings, Clarkson’s contract was sold to Boston for $10,000 on April 3 of 1888. The April 1888 copyright date on the mount makes this an extremely early photo of Clarkson with his new team - perhaps the earliest photo to picture him in his Boston uniform. Clarkson would remain with the Beaneaters for five seasons, his 33-19 record helping the club to a first place finish in 1891. One of the great pitchers of the 19th Century, Clarkson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963. The card itself is wonderful, with a bold, crisp image and outstanding contrast. The mount itself remains in outstanding shape, clean and bright, with no sign of foxing or staining, and very little edge and corner wear. A few very small, stray ink marks on the reverse account for the MK qualifier assigned by PSA, overall a very strict assessment. 19th Century cabinet photos picturing Hall of Famers remain exceedingly desirable among advanced collectors; this example is one of the finest and best-preserved specimens we have encountered. MINIMUM BID: $5,000
7. 1897 Elmer Chickering Cabinet Kid Nichols (HOF)
Historically important cabinet photo of Hall of Famer Charles Augustus “Kid” Nichols as shot at the legendary Boston studio of Elmer Chickering. The Chickering studio is well-known for its baseball portraits, and is the source of almost all the images of Boston players from the late 19th Century. This image is a familiar one, best known as the portrait that graces Nichols’ National Copper Plate/ Sporting News Supplements, a beautiful original photograph with outstanding detail of the young pitcher. Though the photograph is sharp and detailed, it does exhibit some soiling, along with minor areas of foxing on the image itself. The mount displays some wear at the corners and edges, along with some surface wear, some of which is evident in the Chickering logo at the bottom border. Surface wear is also evident on the photo itself, though not distracting from its beauty. The reverse is heavily notated, with some notes and a former owner address typewritten onto labels affixed to the back, secured in place with clear tape. The notations are interesting, and suggest a history of newspaper or periodical use. We surmise that the tape and labels are the reason for the AUTHENTIC grade assigned by PSA, as the cabinet measures properly and shows no signs of tampering that we can identify. Some minor creasing can be observed on the mount at the reverse. A tremendous early cabinet photo of an important 19th Century Hall of Famer, taken by an import- ant photo studio, an original photo picturing what is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kid Nichols. MINIMUM BID: $1,000
8. 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson (HOF RC) - SGC NM 7 Perfectly-centered, bright and colorful first year card of Jackie Robinson from the popular 1949 Bowman issue, graded NM 7 by SGC. A tremendous specimen, Robinson’s rookie cards continue to skyrocket in value, among the greatest beneficiaries of the sportscard boom. This example has been tucked away in an advanced collection for years, simply stunning in every respect. Very slight corner softness keeps the card from a higher holder, with a very minor tilt visible upon close inspection. Creamy, clean borders offset the rich, red background, while the printing on the reverse is clean and bright. With unbelievable eye appeal, an outstanding card. MINIMUM BID: $5,000
9. Beautiful, Signed 1892 Harry Wright (HOF) Letter On Philadelphia Phillies Letterhead (JSA)
Outstanding letter from baseball pioneer and Hall of Famer Harry Wright to George Martin, manager of the baseball team at the University of Vermont. Dated April 3, 1892, the letter, written on Philadelphia Phillies stationary, provides Philadelphia hotel recommendations to Martin, in advance of an exhibition game between the University of Vermont Catamounts and the Philadelphia Phillies. The 1892 Catamounts were considered the best-ever baseball team fielded by the University, so good that they saw fit to issue challenges to the Phillies and Washington Senators. The Phillies game took place on April 8 in Philadelphia, and the UVM team was routed, 24-3. Though their exhibition in Washington was also a loss, the games were fortunate for Catamount players Bert Abbey and Frank O’Connor, as Abbey would make his major league debut with the 1892 Senators, and O’Connor would pitch three games for the 1893 Phillies. Measuring just shy of 6” x 9”, the letter is remarkably well-preserved, owing to having been stored in its original, powder blue mailing envelope for more than 100 years. The result is that there is very little toning or wear to the paper beyond the two 130-year-old folds. The ink is dark and legible, with virtually no blots or smudges. Wright’s signature was carefully applied in the lower-right corner of the letter. Though the left edge of the envelope was torn away so that Martin could remove the letter, and the top and bottom folds of the envelope have separated, the postmark is clearly legible, as is Wright’s handwriting on the address panel. A tremendous early letter, in extraordinary condition, handwritten and signed by one of the founding fathers of baseball. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication. MINIMUM BID: $1,000
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