Monday, May 7, 2012
2012 REA Catalog
Time for another look at an auction catalog. This time it the annual door stop, hernia inducing tome from Robert Edward Auctions. A few weeks ago I requested a catalog from them and it showed up last week. The catalog weighs in at about five pounds and is over 750 pages in length. I've spent countless breakfasts poring over this fantastic work, trying to narrow down the the hundreds of items to just three that I want to showcase. I stayed focused on baseball and then broadened that to whatever humored me at the moment. I left behind many signatures, many bats and ball and uniforms.
This is what caught my eye...
Title: 1888 N154 Duke Presidential Base Ball Club Card Collection (3)
Lot #: 87
Description: Collection of three cards (two different) from this rare nineteenth-century baseball-related nonsport tobacco-card set. Catalogued N154 and issued by Duke & Sons, the Presidential B.B. Club set is similar in dimensions (4.25 x 2.25 inches), design, and rarity to Kalamazoo Bats, but instead of ballplayers, they feature large ("Heads-Up" style) photographic portraits of the presidential candidates of 1888, Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland, comically superimposed on baseball-player bodies, posed in various baseball scenes with very elaborate studio stadium backdrops. For this rare set, three cards is an uncommonly large group. Two cards are in Vg-Ex condition; one card is in Fair condition. Total: 3 cards.
Starting Bid: $200
Current Bid: $700
My Thoughts: Who can't pass up old timey baseball cards with big headed presidents? I wasn't at all familiar with this set. According to Old Cardboard, there are 19 confirmed cards that were issued. If I was an advanced collector (read "wealthy") I'd be all over these.
Title:Rare 1938 "Light Bulb" Brooklyn Dodgers Ticket Stub from Johnny Vander Meer's Second Consecutive No-Hitter - 1st Night Game in Brooklyn Dodgers' New Home
Lot #: 1073
Description: Exceedingly rare "Lower Stand" ticket stub, featuring a unique "light bulb" die-cut design, issued for the first night game at Ebbets Field on June 15, 1938, which was highlighted by Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no hitter. On June 15, 1938, a season-high 38,748 fans crammed into Brooklyn's Ebbets Field for a chance to witness history (the stadium officially held 32,000). Little did they realize how historic that night would be. The draw was not the game between the Dodgers and the visiting Reds, but the novelty of watching them play at night. Up until that time, only the Cincinnati Reds had played regular-season major league games came at night (the first night game took place in 1935). Now, the Dodgers, under the direction of general manager Larry MacPhail, were about to enjoy the benefits that lights first brought to Cincinnati: a threefold increase in average attendance. The game was the first of seven scheduled night games for the Dodgers that season and a circus-like atmosphere greeted the throng of fans who turned out that night, including two marching bands and a sprinting contest between Olympic gold-medal winner Jesse Owens and various players (all of whom received head starts, of course). The opposing pitcher that night for the Reds was Johnny Vander Meer, who just four days earlier had no-hit Boston in Cincinnati. Vander Meer was also about to reap another one of the benefits brought about by night baseball, for pitchers at least: the batter's difficulty in seeing the baseball. Under the newly installed lights, Vander Meer made baseball history by pitching his second consecutive no hitter, a feat never accomplished before or since. To say the fans received their money's worth that night is an understatement, and all who were present probably never forgot the moment. Despite the overflow attendance and historic nature of the game, ticket stubs from that game are exceedingly rare and the offered example is the first we have ever handled. The unique die-cut design features an illustration of a baseball sitting atop a light bulb that reads "Night Game." The number "1," in red, appears in the center of the bulb. Although the ticket displays no date or year, the red number "1" denotes the first night game of the season, with the Lower Stand tickets for the other six night games that year displaying the corresponding numbers "2," "3," etc. Aside from three punch stamps, the ticket (2 x 3.5 inches) remains in Near Mint condition.
Starting Bid: $300
Current Bid: $1,700
My Thoughts: Whenever I see the terms Dodgers and Night Game my mind turns to the Night Owl. Ah, to have been at that game. This is why I save all my ticket stubs.
Title: Tommy McDonald Original Baseball Artwork Collection (20 Original Oil Paintings)
Description: Collection of twenty original oil-on-board baseball paintings by renowned portrait artist and football Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald, each signed by the artist. This is a very unusual offering of an archive of original paintings (which are usually offered individually but in this case are being offered as a collection of twenty paintings exactly as they have survived) with an unusual provenance. All of these paintings were commissioned by the Equitable Life Insurance Company during the 1980s for unspecified purposes (most likely promotional). After the project was completed, the company chose to discard the paintings rather than incur the cost of storage. Luckily, they were rescued from that fate by our consignor, a former Equitable Life employee, who was given permission to take them away and keep them if he wished, and they have remained in his sole possession since that time. Each painting pictures a bust-length image of a single player, each of whom is pictured in uniform. Nineteen different players are represented here, with only Hubie Brooks pictured twice (in one he is pictured as a New York Met and in the other as a member of the Montreal Expos). Three of the paintings measure 12.25 x 15.25 inches (Bedrosian, Gantner, and one unidentified player), while the remaining seventeen paintings measure 12.75 x 16 inches. All of the paintings have been framed to slightly larger dimensions (either approximately 15.75 x 18.34 inches for the smaller paintings and approximately 18.75 x 22 inches for the larger ones). The players represented here are Steve Bedrosian, Jim Gantner, Tom Glavin, Joaquin Andujar, George Bell, Jeff Ballard, Bob Knepper, Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Hubie Brooks (two different paintings), B. J. Surhoff, Luis Leal, Kevin McReynolds, Orel Hershiser, Joe Carter, Ken Caminitti (as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team), and three others (unidentified; two are pictured as members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, and the other as a member of the San Diego Padres). Tommy McDonald began his career as a portrait artist after meeting a fan who presented him with a painting of himself. McDonald was quoted at the time as saying, "Of all the watches and the plaques and trophies that you get, this is a little more unique." This is how the seed was planted for McDonald to pursue portrait painting after his retirement from professional football. McDonald has painted portraits of many professional athletes over the years. He has also been commissioned to produce portraits of Heisman Trophy winners for New York's Downtown Athletic Club, football All-Americans for the University of Oklahoma, and first-year participants in Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. This is an outstanding collection of original Tommy McDonald baseball artworks featuring many of the top players from the late 1980s/early 1990s, including a few potential Hall of Famers. All of the paintings are in Near Mint condition. Total: 20 paintings.
Starting Bid: $1,000
Current Bid: $0
My Thoughts: Purchasing these and hanging them in the hallways of my palatial estate would lend some sense of "ooh and aah". I don't often see portraits of Orel Hershiser. At $50 per painting, I think it would be a good investment. Heck, you could cut them up and make relic cards.
No, I'm not going to be bidding on these lots, or any others. I just like to dream.