More than 1,000 lots are featured in the Spring Rarities Auction underway at Memory Lane and Lot 1 is about as rare as you can get. It’s a team-signed baseball from the 1924 New York Yankees, including Babe Ruth and a 21-year-old Lou Gehrig.
The high-grade ball has 24 signatures and is still in the original Reach factory box. Unique about the Gehrig autograph is that he was but a prospect at the time and his signatures around this period are scarce.
Joe Tomasulo of Memory Lane told SCD that only a handful of 1923 and 1924 balls with Gehrig’s signature exist but “looked like Gehrig signed in invisible ink.”
“This Gehrig signature is a near-mint signature in my opinion,” he said. “It’s the best rookie-era Gehrig signature on a baseball in the hobby.”
The Ruth and Gehrig autographs are graded NM/MT 8.
“There simply aren’t enough adjectives to define the unparalleled reverence of this museum worthy masterpiece that includes the ultra-rare Gehrig rookie autograph,” Memory Lane stated.
The ball was originally obtained by former big league pitcher and umpire Ed Rommel, whose favorite pastime was collecting MLB-signed artifacts. The ball sold publicly for more than $70,000 a little more than a year ago.
Gehrig’s autograph also appears on a 1934 Goudey card and includes the salutation “Best Wishes.” It is among the many vintage cards in the auction, which closes May 30.
Numerous single-signed Ruth items are also featured, such as a 1947 signed baseball that is graded a PSA/DNA 10—it was signed to a young nephew of a friend of Ruth—and a GEM MT 10 autograph that appears on a 1929 R316 Kashin Publications Babe Ruth card.
A large number of signed, canceled checks—all authenticated and encapsulated—feature the likes of Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson.
Hobby rarities highlight the cardboard lineup, such as a 1948 Leaf Boxing Rocky Graziano (PSA 4), a 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige (PSA 4.5), a 1909 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson rookie card, a 1917 Collins-McCarthy Ruth (PSA 1-MK), a 1920 Felix Mendelsohn Ruth (SGC 10), a 1921 National Caramel E220 Ruth, and a T206 Cy Young Old Mill back (PSA 7, the highest graded Old Mill Young portrait).
Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird/Magic Johnson and Rickey Henderson (PSA 10) are rookie card highlights.
Hundreds of vintage singles, lots and sets from all sports, vintage and modern era unopened material and vintage wrappers can be found in the auction, which closes May 30.