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George Hipp's massive autograph collection to be auctioned

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The George S. Hipp Baseball Collection will be auctioned by Antique Helper Auctions at its headquarters in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m., with previews available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday Oct. 7. An online catalog will be available on the company’s Web site at

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In addition to the massive autograph collection, Antique Helper has added a second session with additional sports consignments, including 80,000-plus sports cards and much more.

Native Hoosier and passionate baseball collector George S. Hipp (1905-83, shown in the photo at right flanked by autographed photos of Harry Hooper and Al Kaline) came from a baseball loving family. Although he never played baseball himself, later in life Hipp’s interest in the sport became an obsessive hobby. Over the course of more than a decade, Hipp made it his goal to collect the signature of every living player from the dawn of baseball through players from his time, the 1950s and ’60s. Hipp used the business skills he developed as a record keeper at E.W. Plante/Adair Co. to thoroughly and methodically seek out even the hardest-to-find players. In the end he collected and documented more than 4,000 signatures, 170-plus baseballs, many with multiple signatures, as well as numerous correspondence letters, most on company letterhead from E.W. Plante. A total of 138 of the 258 Hall of Famers are represented with at least one signature.

In the early 1950s, in recognition of his efforts and vast knowledge, Hipp was asked to contribute to The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball and was given the title accredited representative. In his letters, Hipp often requested the autographs for his grandson, Chuck Brown, who has been the diligent caretaker of this collection.

In 1963, Hipp abruptly stopped his collection and put it in storage. He then went on to pursue equally obsessive hobbies, including stamp collecting and visiting all 50 states. The Hipp Collection has not seen the light of day since 1963.

Shortly after the collection was brought to Antique Helper, PSA/DNA was enlisted to help authenticate and grade key pieces, along with providing LOAs for every lot in the collection. They also authenticated and graded 32 of the baseballs, many with multiple signatures as noted, with most of the grades falling between PSA 7 and PSA 9.

Single-signed balls (all PSA 9 unless noted): Ty Cobb (green ink), Frank Frisch, Pie Traynor, Rube Marquard, Gabby Hartnett, Bill Terry, Dazzy Vance, Ed Walsh, Al Kaline (8), Al Simmons (8), Dizzy Dean (8), President Truman (8), Jimmie Foxx (8), Carl Hubbell (8),
“Wahoo” Sam Crawford (8), Honus Wagner (7), Mel Ott (7) Stan Musial (7), and Bill Dickey (7).

Multi-signed balls: Elmer Flick (8) and Larry Lajoie (6); Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Joe E. Brown and Roderick Wallace (8); James Bottomley (8), Edd Roush (9) and Freddy Lindstrom (7); Henry Myers, Bill Sherdel (8 ) and Charles Hafey (10); Joe DiMaggio (7), Dom DiMaggio (7) and Vince DiMaggio (9); Herbert Hoover and Clark Griffith (9); Fred Clark (7) and Billy Maloney (8); Franklin Baker (8) and Lefty Grove (8); 1955-56 Yankees with 26 signatures, including Mantle, Berra and Ford; 1955-56 Yankees with 24 signatures, including Berra, Rizzuto and Mantle; Earl Combs and George “High Pockets” Kelly (both PSA 8); and Edward Cicotte (8), Joe Wood (9) and Joe Wood Jr. (9).

For more information call (317) 251-5635. Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper, 2764 E. 55th Pl., Indianapolis, IN 46220; Web site

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