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The 2005 National

 

By 

Carlton Hendricks

 

 

Tony Bussineau had a cool Yankees Stadium Tickets sign printed on glass. Tony clarified he wasn’t sure if it was a genuine Yankees artifact, or fantasy piece someone had made, but it sure looked like it was real, 23 ½” wide, by 4” tall, $300.00. Tony also had an interesting and very unusual original period relief plaque of Joe Louis. It appeared to have been made of an unusual paper type composition material that looked almost leather, 10 ¾” tall by 8 ¾” wide, $200.00

 

Lynne and Ron Cunningham of Quality Pennants of Duncanville, TX. had a huge 5 ft. University of Illinois pennant, $500.00. Lynne and Ron also had a great 13 inch tall, circa 1930 doll of a little boy football player, in excellent condition, $275.00

 

Brian Morris of Montclair New Jersey had a 1934 Major League baseball pinball machine, missing the glass top, $2,500.00.

 

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Left, c1890 Boston Globe Advertising 

diecut trade card.

Middle, 1902 University of California at Berkeley Alumni vs. Varsity Football broadside poster, 

22” wide by 14” tall, $2,000.00

Right, c1915 baseball broadside poster for 

University of California vs. Stanford University, 

22” tall by 14” wide, $1,000.00

All offered by Sal Dichiera, San Francisco

 

Sal Dichiera of Amazing Adventures, from San Francisco had quite a booth of good stuff. First mention from Sal’s booth was a c1915 baseball broadside poster for University of California vs. Stanford University, 22” tall by 14” wide, $1,000.00 see above. Next was a 1902 University of California at Berkeley Alumni vs. Varsity Football broadside poster, 22” wide by 14” tall, $2,000.00 see above. Sal also had a pair of President Brand suspenders in the original box which had color illustration of a Victorian girl golfer, and a golf scene, 13” by 4”, $125.00. Next, Sal had an exceptional c1890 die cut trade card for the Boston Globe depicting a bicycle rider see above. Next Sal had a pair of 1930’s bookends with golfer figures that I previously saw for sale at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair in Alameda California, and that I featured in a story on that fair (click here), 8 ½” tall, $600.00. 

 

Next Dichiera offering was one of the best things I saw at the convention, a c1927 Beechnut Chewing Tobacco advertising window display sign which featured a spectacular panoramic view of the inside of Chicago’s Soldier Stadium during the 1927 Dempsey Tunney fight, 38” tall by 45” wide, displayed, $5,500.00 see below. In some ways the display could be considered one of the best American sports advertising displays ever produced. I have an example of the sign in my collection, that I paid $3,500.00 for about 10-12 years ago.

 

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c1927 Dempsey Tunney fight Beechnut Chewing Tobacco advertising window display 38” tall by 45” wide, displayed, $5,500.00, offered by Sal Dichiera of San Francisco

 

That fight was essentially the crown jewel of sporting events in the 1920’s, an era known as the Golden Era of American Sports. It was Jack Dempsey’s and Gene Tunney’s second fight, and was referred too as the long count fight. Dempsey had knocked down Tunney in the 7th round, after a brutal 6 rounds of punishment by Tunney. Then the unthinkable happened. At the count of four, the referee ordered Dempsey to a neutral corner as he counted to ten. For some reason Dempsey didn't obey the referee’s command and returned to his own corner, but finally went to the neutral one. Maybe the referee took that as a sign of disrespect, but at any rate, he started the count over. Tunney barely made it back up on the count of 9, then went on to win the fight and took the heavyweight title from Dempsey. Tunney had actually been down a total of 14 seconds.

 

Next in Dichiera’s arsenal was a 1908 calendar with an illustration of a lady golfer, 21” tall by 14” wide, $395.00. Last Dichiera piece was a 5 ¾” tall advertising die cut of a football player boy for Enameline stove polish, $295.00. 

 

John and Judy Burke of Collectible Classics Auctions had a nice c1951 fight film poster for Sandy Saddler vs. Willie Pep, 41” tall by 27” wide, will be in their next auction they said. Later in another booth I saw a large 1955 Brown and Biglow produced Calendar for Marsau’s Auto Parts of Sterling Colorado that portrayed Honus Wagner, 33” tall by 16” wide, $250.00. The gentleman in the booth said it belonged to John and Judy Burke and that stuff in that booth was for sale, while stuff in their other booth would be auctioned.

 

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Left, c1950 Rittgers basketball players, 

8” tall, $3,500.00 

Center, c1930 Reach baseball equipment sign, featuring Mickey Cochrane, 29” tall by 17” wide, $7,500.00

Right, 1937 golf trophy, 16 ¼” tall, $750.00

All offered by Lelands.com

 

Next was the Leland’s booth. Josh did a smart thing and put up a sign that said,”Everything in this booth is for sale” That’s what we like to see! First up, an extremely rare set of Rittgers basketball player figures. They were modeled with the typical Rittgers bizarre goofiness; one of the players had the other players head in his hands. I’d seen a lot of Rittgers figures but never these, so they must be extremely rare. They had the original net and backboard, and the condition was unbelievable, like new! 8” tall, $3,500.00 see above. Guaranteed to make a Rittgers collectors day! Next in Leland’s booth was a very handsome 1937 silver plate figural golf trophy, looked like Bobby Jones. Had a small dent in the forehead, but still nice, 16 ¼” tall, $750.00 see above. Next in Leland’s was a rare die cut standup Reach baseball equipment sign, featuring an illustrated Mickey Cochrane in action with catchers gear on. Pretty strong! 29” tall by 17” wide, $7,500.00 see above. Next was one of the greatest baseball pieces I’ve ever seen in person, and definitely one of the best things at the show, it was exquisite! An 1875 sterling silver engraved presentation baseball presented by members of the 1850 Knickerbockers Baseball Club to fellow teammate James White Davis, on the teams 25th anniversary. The ball was in it’s original case, and also had two miniature bats with Davis’ name engraved, $150,000.00 see below

 

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Left, 1894 Temple Cup print 62” wide by 49” tall, $25,000

Center, 1850 Knickerbockers Baseball Club presentation baseball, $150,000.00

Right, c1890 candy container, 

15" tall, $10,000.00

All items offered by Lelands.com

 

This next piece also fell into the exotic category, an 1894 Temple Cup Chromolithograph print. The 1894 Temple Cup print is one of the rarest and greatest antique baseball art works extant. The print is big anyway, but framed, it was a massive 62” wide by 49” tall. It had very classy vignette portraits of team members and associates over and under the main image. Rarely do you see examples on the market, and even rarer is to see one for sale outright, usually they’re auctioned. Nevertheless, there it was, big as day at the National, taking up ¼ of Leland’s booth for sale at $25,000.00 see above (sold Friday) Josh told me another example had sold in his last auction for $35,000.00, and that the one at the National was a little nicer. Last mention for the Leland’s booth was a real head turner for the few advanced collectors aware of what it was. A circa 1890 paper mache figural German candy container of a baseball batter. The condition was incredible, and the size, wow, 15” tall. It was the first example I’d seen of it. $10,000.00 see above

 

Right across from Leland’s was the booth of Phil Grenchik of Phil’s Cards from Apollo Beach Florida. I spotted a nice little Notre Dame football ashtray there, 3 ½” tall, $250.00.

 

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Left, John Rogers football statue, will be auctioned August 19th 2005, lot 228, estimate $4,000-$6,000

Center, Old Judge Coffee calendar featuring 1932 St. Louis Cardinals,  41” tall by 21 ½” wide, $1,600.00

Right, c1910 Spalding bat rack, 78” tall, $9,500.00

All items offered by Hunt Auctions, 

Exton PA.

 

Next up was the booth of Dave Hunt of Hunt Auctions from Exton PA. Dave had a great looking booth as usual, but not a lot of it was for sale. Most of the stuff was on display for his upcoming auction August 19th and 20th 2005. He did point out a few things that were for sale though. First was a very nice c1910 Spalding bat rack made of oak. The Spalding sign on top had been restored. 78” tall, $9,500.00. He also had an Old Judge Coffee calendar featuring the 1932 St. Louis Cardinals Championship team, nicely framed and ready to hang, 41” tall by 21 ½” wide, $1,600.00. I also saw a John Rogers football group statue made of plaster, that will be auctioned on August 19th, lot 228, estimate $4,000-$6,000. 

 

Then it got interesting. As I looked around the Hunt’s booth I spotted what appeared to be some kind of print or poster with a very interesting scene of circa c1880 college students sitting on a fence. It was sandwiched with other similar sized pieces that were all stuffed between two display cabinets. I waited what seemed like forever for Dave to disengage from a conversation with someone so I could ask him about it. His assistant as well was engaged in a lengthy conversation. Finally I couldn’t take it any more and pulled it out to look at it. I recognized the illustration from an c1880’s literary poster for a book called “Yale Yarns”, except it was just a print, no advertising. But then it went from very interesting to heart stopping. Behind it was another print, same format, little smaller, and it had the greatest football illustration I’ve ever seen, or ever expect to see. For me it was like an art connoisseur finding an Albert Bierstandt at a garage sale. It was fabulous! But then it all came to a screeching halt when Dave’s assistant saw me looking at it and quickly came over and told me they were sold, and started putting them back between the cabinets! I said, would it be possible to just look at them? “No” was the immediate answer. I looked over at Dave, and he was oblivious to it all and still deep into the same conversation. It was over, there would be no viewing it, and I was sick about it! My afternoon was ruined. I went ahead and continued to cover the National best I could, but unenthusiastically. As I started thinking about it, it dawned on me how little there was of the really great stuff at the National, and how most anything great had probably already been bought up before the show opened. My gut feeling was Gary Cypres had bought it, as I knew he was on Hunt’s “A list”. I figured if I ran into Gary I’d ask him if he got it, and if so he’d surely let me look at it. But it was all ifs, I didn’t even know if I’d see Gary. The next day I finally got around to John Kanuit’s booth. Kanuit would know I thought, he’s part of the infrastructure. “Hey did you see those incredible football prints that Dave Hunt had” I asked. “Uh yeah” John said. “Did Cypres get those?” I asked. John gave me a cautious, I’m not really at liberty to say, shake of the head, and affirmed it. The next day I was walking by Kanuit’s booth when Gary happened to be there. He called me over and gave me a warm greeting. Hey did you get those football prints from Dave Hunt I asked. Yeah he said. Hey you think I could look at those I asked. Sure he said. Great, I’ll tell the girl you said it’s O.K.; she wouldn’t let me before I said. Sure he said, looking a little puzzled, they’ll let you. So I made a beeline and told Dave that Gary said it would be O.K. for me to look at those football prints he got from you. Sure, no problem Dave said, like it was no big deal! He pulled them out for me and walked off to do something else, and my whole National experience took a turn for the better. 

 

c1880 football print, 38" wide by 20" tall, sold by Hunt Auctions, Exton PA.

 

Both the prints had thick clear plastic over them for protection, so I had a hard time photographing them. I couldn’t stop looking at the scrimmage one; it was the most incredible piece of art I’d ever seen I think. The scrimmage one was 38" wide by 20" tall. The one with the students on the fence was 38" wide by 26" tall.