OF BASEBALL COLLECTORS PASSES AWAY
Of Most Influential People In Sports Collecting
& Sold Greatest Baseball Collection
a few words on Barry Halper by SportsAntiques.com's Editor and
Publisher Carlton Hendricks
a good story on Barry by Ken Shouler, in the Oct 1997 edition of
York Yankees press release
N.J. Dec. 19th 2005 Barry Halper, a limited
partner in the New York Yankees and one of the pioneers of baseball memorabilia collecting, died Dec. 18 in Livingston, N.J., following a long illness due to complications from diabetes.
"Barry was a dear friend, a valued partner for many years, and a decent, genuine person," said Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner. "What a great baseball fan he was. I'll miss him dearly."
Halper, 66, began collecting outside Bears Stadium in Newark at the age of 8, and eventually amassed a collection that would come to be worth nearly $30 million. For years he proudly displayed it in his New Jersey home, happily welcoming visitors and extolling them with tales of his acquisitions.
Among his possessions were the documents involving the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Ruth's famous camel hair coat, Mickey Mantle's rookie jersey, and more than 30,000 baseball cards. He even owned the Bob Feller model bat on which Ruth leaned for support during his farewell appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1948.
For years, Joe DiMaggio was a regular visitor to Barry's home, and they vacationed in Europe together. Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto were among friends who celebrated his 65th birthday with him at his home a year ago.
In 1999, Barry put his collection up for auction, with a portion going to the Baseball Hall of Fame, where a room was named in his honor. Part of the proceeds went to his favorite charity, the burn center at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, N.J.
Famed for the dry cleaning rack in his home that displayed over 1,000 historic uniforms, Halper was a friend to the famous as well as just plain fans. When Mantle held a hospital press conference in Dallas following his liver transplant, he spotted Barry in the room and said, "Barry, did you get my old liver?"
Halper is survived by his wife Sharon, and three children.
FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WORLD'S
can't think of too many people I'll be posting on
this page. But Barry Halper's passing should
be addressed I think. I've noticed in the past I
reference him often in my articles. Not on purpose,
it's just been part of the story. My 1876 Muller
Baseball Clock story
for instance, and my Joe DiMaggio autograph story,
just to mention a couple.
never knew Barry, but I sure looked at the photos of
his collection in that April 1987 issue of the Smithsonian
Magazine a lot. That article must have made him a
household name with collectors.
couple friends of mine knew him, Herman Kaufman told
me he put Josh Evans and Barry together for Josh's
first major sale...a long time ago! John Bounaguidi
did quite a few deals with him over the years. The
story I got from John was he had been selling stuff
to a particular dealer who in turn was selling the
same stuff to Barry. Apparently The dealer left
John's name and address on a package and Barry
called John and introduced himself, and cut out the
middle man. John once sold him an incredibly rare ale
poster featuring Cap Anson and Buck Ewing. We never
saw it in his Sotheby's auction, and John speculated
Barry kept it. John told me when he went to see his
collection, he was leafing thru a book and out
dropped Babe Ruth's last will and testament. John
also sold Barry the the Ward Ewing clock mentioned
in the 1876 Muller Clock story.
only saw Barry once. It was at the 1995 National
Sports Collectors Convention in St Louis. It was
before the show opened, and I spotted him walking
around by himself. I wasn't going to let
the opportunity pass by, and walked up and
introduced myself. I have to laugh when I think of the encounter. I don't think
I've ever met anyone that seemed less interested in
meeting me. I introduced myself and
shook his hand and told him how much I enjoyed
seeing his collection in the Smithsonian magazine.
He gave me a quick "yeah
o.k. thanks", and that was it. I'd
liked to have talked collecting but I could tell he
wasn't interested. I
didn't mind much though; mission accomplished, I met
fact he brushed me off was interesting in itself. Later I ran into Herman Kaufman, who was a
friend of Barry's, and was talking to him.
Barry happened to be close by and was looking at me
like, who is this guy, and how does he know Herman?
of the most interesting collecting stories I've ever
heard, was the one about Barry and President Richard
Nixon. The story I heard goes that they were at a
Yankees game, and were downing a few. So Barry the
opportunist kept'um coming in order to soften him
up. Barry had him signing baseballs, and finally hit
him up for the big one, and asked him to sign
"Tricky Dick", but Nixon declined, even in
a compromised state.
briefly discussed Barry with Joe DiMaggio once. I
mentioned the episode in my Joe DiMaggio autograph story.
I was taking DiMaggio to his room in a golf cart at
the hotel I work at. As we drove along I said
to DiMaggio that I heard he was friends with Halper,
as I had heard that DiMaggio sometimes stayed at
Halpers home. I remember him chuckling "Yeah
that Barry.....always wants me to sign stuff ".
I don't know if it's true, but I heard that later Barry and
DiMaggio had a falling
out, and that Barry desperately tried to mend the fence but
DiMaggio never would speak to him again. I heard
another story DiMaggio went off on his own family
once at the
dinner table for asking him to sign things. Then I
remember another story how DiMaggio had a falling
out with Frank Sinatra once, and never had anything
to do with him again. These stories are consistent
with DiMaggio's unabashed personality I witnessed
at the end of my story,
so I see a pattern.