I had the pleasure of finally meeting fellow collector Mike Hoevet, while I was in Kanuit’s booth, as we’d only emailed till then. Mike, who is from Ann Arbor, got a real nice
paper fan from
Kanuit. It had an impressionistic illustration of Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates
sliding into base, being tagged out by Chief Meyers of the New York Giants, really nice condition, 14” tall by 7” wide, paid $150.00
Dick Hines from Cincinnati, and his lovely wife Carolyn had an array of
sports equipment laid out on his table. Dick like others probably sold a lot of stuff before I got there, but I did see a couple of items that stood out. First was a
large 1909 football team
photo, 22” wide by 18” tall, $195.00. The other was a Reach baseball trophy that Dick had got there at the National, 14 ¾” tall, $595.00.
Bob Wetzel of B&B Baseball Cards from Maple Shade New Jersey had a very cool
street light that said Yankee Stadium when lit. Bob said these lights were on corners in front of the stadium, 13” tall by 13” wide by 6” deep,
$4,500.00. Bob couldn’t remember what color the light was when turned on, but that it didn’t blink. Had it been lit up at the convention, it might have sold before I saw it.
Next up was the booth of Paul Anderson from Minneapolis. Paul had a very nice piece of
sheet music called “The Gridiron March Two Step”, that had a large illustration of a helmet-less football player running with a ball, printed in blue, 13 ½” tall by 10 ¼” wide, $35.00. Next Paul had a 1930
year book of the University of
Minnesota, the Gopher, which had a full page
photo of Bronko Nagurski in football uniform when a student there, $125.00
Next was the booth of Bill Rosenthal of Rockville Maryland. Bill had a ton of photographs of Joe DiMaggio that he told me were from Joe DiMaggio’s estate. They weren’t the usual DiMaggio photos. They all seemed to be personal effects of the Yankee great. Many were snapshot type photos, and many were of him and his first wife Dorothy Arnold, I believe. There was one of Joe D. holding a baby in his arms, which was probably his son Joe Jr. born in 1941. That photo was especially spectacular because it not only showed him in a very personal moment, but he was wearing a short sleeved tee shirt and you could clearly see his
ripped biceps while holding his son. And there were some that looked like him and Dorothy out
in night clubs with
friends. One photo showed him
playing tennis. Some he was
smiling, some not. There was a photo that looked like it was probably his
parents. I asked Bill, and he said they were. Then there was his son
Joe Jr’s birth
certificate, plus many other
photos. They all seemed like originals, not copies, and, frankly, it was a little strange looking thru them. Like you were looking thru his personal things, a bit eerie, knowing he was such a private person. I met him once. You can read that story by clicking
here. The photos ranged in price from $200-$300 for the larger ones, and $50-$200 for the smaller. The birth certificate was $400.00.
Louis Bollman from Lemont Illinois had a c1952 boxing site poster
for an Ezzard Charles vs. Bob Satterfield fight in Chicago, 35” tall by 28” wide, $300.00
Richard Albersheim from Wynnewood Pennsylvania had an original box that a Red Grange football had come in, worn, as they usually are, and quite rare, 13” long by 6 ¼” wide by 3” tall, $1,500.00.
Kevin Keating of QualityAutographs.com, from Alexandria Virginia had two signed Babe Ruth photos. One was of the babe
posing with golf club in
hand, wearing golf shoes, standing with four men, signed: To Mary Reilly sincerely Babe Ruth, 9 ½” wide by 7 ½” tall - inside mat, $6,295.00. The other one was a lot more interesting. It showed Ruth posing for a photo
with his family on or near a ship on his 37th birthday. He looks
more like 47 in the photo. Some
kind of typed explanation of the scene was mated with the photo which indicated who was who. Left to right was his daughter Dorothy, his wife, him, and his daughter Julia. The photo was
signed: Babe Ruth, 9 ½” tall by 7 ½” wide – inside mat, $4,950.00.
Denny Graziano from Franklin Park Illinois had a very nice and large, c1930 colorized framed
photo of Hialeah Park Race
Track, 29 ¼” wide by 7 ¾” tall, $295.00. Barry Sanders from Atlanta had a 1928 felt
Harvard banner, 47” wide by 22” tall, $100.00.
The last thing I saw at the show was one of the most spectacular. It was Friday, my last day there, and the convention had just closed. I was getting ready to leave when Herman Kaufman told me about a huge die cut sign of Ted
Williams, advertising Wilson baseball equipment, that him and John Liffmann had sold. Gilbert Porter of Harvey Horseradish & Company from Crugers New York, had bought it. Everyone was covering up there booths, so I ran over quick as I could to Gilbert’s booth to see it. I barely made it, as you can see from the time stamp on the photo. I took it at 6:11PM, eleven minutes after the convention closed. 5 foot tall by 38” wide. Gilbert wouldn’t divulge what he
paid. It was a good way to end the convention.
we begin to wrap this up, I'll mention my one purchase. That would
be the 4” wide by 3” tall
statue of a football game action scene,
that Kevin Bronson had. It was one of the first things I saw when
I came in on Wednesday, and he wanted $550.00 for it then. By late
afternoon Thursday I'd pretty much seen everything and went
back to see if he still had it. Kevin was gone from his booth, but
I could see it still in the case. Always the cautious buyer, I
walked around contemplating just a little longer, figuring I had
at least till he came back to decide. Wouldn't you know it....I
walked back and there was a young couple looking at it. I just
stayed out of it and took another walk. I came back after the
couple left and it was still there, but Kevin was gone again. His
neighbor called him on the radio, and got me a quote of $500.00.
Kevin showed back up and I offered $450.00 and he took it. I'd
seen one other example quite a while back. I think it was in an ad
in Sports Collectors Digest maybe ten or twelve years ago. If I
recall it was around $300.00, and already sold when I called on it. This
may even be the same one. As for the piece it's self, it's pretty
unique, I've never seen anything quite like it. Very miniature.
And of course, antique sports sculpture is my hot button so it was
a nice find.
I’ve bemoaned the lack of
great pieces throughout this article. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of good stuff, just the power pieces were lacking. I have to admit, the National is the only place in the world you could go to find the amount of things featured in this article under one roof. How could it be improved? Well, I think they, the executive management of the convention, should let serious collectors in during set up. Either that or change the name to the National Sports Dealers and Auctioneers Convention. Two days is a lot of time for the auction houses to buy up all the great stuff, before the doors open. It’s always been that way, of course. But times are different now. In the old days when there was more stuff to be had, even with all the buying and selling beforehand, you could still find
great stuff when the doors opened to the public. Naturally you wouldn’t want the general public in while dealers are setting up. The way to do it would be to charge $100-$200 for an early entry pass. Only serious collectors would pay that much to get in, so there wouldn’t be unmanageable crowds. And dealers like serious collectors, so I doubt they’d mind. This resolve would level the playing field, and make the National worth a long distance trip for many collectors.
Another thing that would compliment this new policy, would be for the National’s executive management to actively
seek out and pursue dealers who deal in sports antiques. I’d suggest trying to locate and persuade at least thirty to fifty
new dealers from around the country that deal in sports antiques to set up. I can think of some right off the top of my head. Keith Schneider of Gasoline Alley Antiques from Seattle, Julie Harris of Vintage Sports Equipment from Kansas City, Bob Burger of Cincinnati, Bill Diebold of Everything Baseball from New Jersey, Scott Gaynor of Cape
Cod, Barry Sloate of Brooklyn New York, John Kashmanian of Rhode
Island. And there are plenty more.
You probably know dealers yourself that would enhance the legacy of
the country’s cornerstone collecting event for sports antiques.
you enjoyed the show, see you in Anaheim Lord willing!