Oct. 8th, 2005 - Antique Helper Makes it Mark in the World of Sports Collecting
(Indianapolis, Indiana) October 20, 2005. Antique Helper Auctions gave the sports world something to talk about with the George S. Hipp Baseball Autograph Collection, sold at auction on Saturday October 8, 2005. At the heart of the excitement were more than 320 lots, including 170-plus baseballs, some with multiple signatures, correspondence, over 4,000 signatures on card with 138 of the 258 Baseball Hall of Famers represented with at least one signature, representative of nearly every player of the time through the mid 1950s-early 1960s. Each lot in the collection was provided with a PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity; in addition, PSA/DNA also graded and authenticated 32 of the baseballs. Auction day was heralded by television coverage from two local network stations as well as front page exposure in the Friday, October 7 issue of the Indianapolis Star. In addition, plenty of pre-auction advertising and public relations added more muscle to an already strong auction.
Having generated much pre-auction attention from collectors and the press alike, this sale attracted bidders from across the globe, who participated via telephone, absentee and eBay Live, while others chose to make the trip to Indianapolis in order to participate in person in this important and historic sale. So much enthusiasm resulted in an auction unlike any other in Antique Helper history, with gross sales more than tripling expectations, making it the companys best sale to date. All prices listed include a Specialty Auction Buyers premium of 17.5% for floor bids and 22.5% for absentee, telephone and internet bids.
THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS AND COUNTING
House Auctioneer DeWayne Butler, who headed up this sale, opened the bidding with a Jimmie Foxx autographed ball, which set the tone for the auction when it brought in the highest bid of the day, closing at $36,750, to a telephone bidder. While this might have been the highest-selling single lot, it was by no means the only one that left jaws dropping. As the auction gained momentum, prices continued to spike as bidders made their way through heavy competition, with sometimes up to ten telephone bidders on the line, in addition to absentee and countless eBay bidders, vying for the chance to own a rare piece of American Sports history.
One baseball, signed by Cy Young, Connie Mack and Lefty Logan realized $3,981.25, from an eBay bidder, while a Frank Frisch autographed baseball brought $2,820 from the floor, and an eBay bidder won a ball autographed by Wahoo Sam Crawford, at $3,307.50. A floor bidder took home a Mel Ott autographed ball, closing at $18,800 and a Honus Wagner sweet spot signed ball, which closed at $16,450, as well as a ball signed by both Elmer Flick and Larry Lajoie, which closed at $3,642.50. A baseball bearing the signature of Pie Traynor brought $4,900 from a telephone bidder, and a baseball autographed by Edward Cicotte, Joe Wood and Joe Wood, Jr. realized $3,750 from an eBay bidder. Not to be deterred, a Dizzy Dean autographed baseball sold to the floor at $3,290, while a Leo Gabby Harnett autographed baseball went to an eBay bidder for $3,185.
A 1955-56 Yankees team signed ball with autographs from Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and others brought $2,450 from an absentee bidder, while a ball signed by Joe, Dom and Vince DiMaggio went to a floor bidder for $1,880; a phone bidder placed the winning bid for a ball autographed by Aloysius Harry Simmons (Al Bucketfoot Simmons), at $4,250. Then, eBay scored another win when an online bidder won a baseball autographed by A.C. Dazzy Vance for $4,900, while a baseball signed by President Harry Truman brought $4,900 from a telephone bidder and a second Presidential ball, signed by Herbert Hoover as well as pitcher and manager Clark Old Fox Griffith brought $4,593.75 from an eBay bidder.
TY COBB SMILING DOWN
Going to a single telephone bidder were three separate lots of Ty Cobb signatures, on ball and correspondence. The first, a single-signed baseball, brought $12,250, while the accompanying letter realized $2,266.25. A third letter from Cobb to Hipp, acknowledging Hipps request to sign a baseball, and, running contrary to Cobbs legendary standoffish manner, offering contact information for Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Connie Mack, brought $4,777.50.
THE RAREST OF THE RARE: 3x5s
Going to one single bidder, via telephone and eBay bids were ten lots consisting of approximately 4,000 3 x 5 cards, each single signed by a baseball player and personally collected by George S. Hipp from 1955-1963. Prices per lot typically sold between $3,750 and $8,500, with one end price spiking at $10,000 for players T-Z. But, leaving tongues wagging the most was the end price of the group with players with last names starting with G-H, closing at a whopping $16,000. According to baseball historians in the know, the price of this lot was driven by one signature, that of one Eddie Gaedel, the circus midget signed by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, in an attempt to draw ticket sales, to pinch hit one inning on August 19, 1951. The shortest and lightest man ever to play in the major leagues, Gaedel, blessed with a diminutive strike zone and equipped with a uniform numbered 1/8, managed to walk to first base, then away from his 15 minutes of fame. Because of the brevity of his major league career, Gaedel signatures are counted among the rarest of the rare; hence, the excitement over this one lot of autographs.
Thanks to successful and aggressive local advertising, a second session of non-Hipp collection baseball-related items was added to the sale. Coming in just five days before the auction, from a local estate, was a Shoeless Joe Jackson Cracker Jack card #103 from 1914, bringing in $5,875, from an eBay bidder. A group of six stadium seats from Crosley Field, which was destroyed in the 1970s to make way for Riverfront Stadium, closed at $1960, to an absentee bidder. Also from a local estate, a 1970s Cincinnati Reds signed ball brought $827 from an eBay bidder; and a ball signed by Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller and B. Robinson, ending at $1,102.50, went to an eBay bidder.
Based on the success of this sale, Antique Helper is looking forward to future sports-related auctions. Meanwhile, the staff at Antique Helper are now gearing up for the next Art and Antiques auction, featuring collections of rare music boxes, automatons and erotic pocket on Sunday, October 30 at 1 PM Eastern time, followed by a busy holiday season, with an Art and Antiques auction scheduled for November 20, the next Costume, Estate and Bakelite Jewelry Auction on December 4, and the Estate of Edgardo Simone to be auctioned on December 11. For more information about these auctions, visit our website at www.antiquehelper.com or call 317-251-5635.