Guernsey’s, one of the legendary names in the auction world, doesn’t routinely do sports memorabilia auctions, but when it does there is never anything routine about them. Such is the case with the next Guernsey’s sports undertaking: a sale of documents related to the construction of Yankee Stadium – The Baker Collection – which will be offered in a live auction on Oct. 18 at yet another iconic site: Madison Square Garden. (William Feldman's "Outside Yankee Stadium" original artwork is shown above, courtesy of Bill Goff Inc.; Goodsportsart.com)
The Baker Collection features more than 150 architectural plans and emphemera related to Yankees and other players, including things like insurance forms for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, among others.
“These are early treasures of the most famous baseball park or sports arena in the world,” said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s. Bringing a live sale to Madison Square Garden or other similar exotic locations is second nature to Ettinger, who orchestrated the Mickey Mantle Auction at the Garden in 2003, the same year Guernsey’s auctioned the Sports Immortals Joe Platt Collection at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Old-time hobbyists will also remember that the 1989 auction of Topps archival material was a Guernsey’s production, held at Hunter College in New York City.
“There will be other things in the auction as well, including World Series rings from Yankees players and even autographed balls from Ruth and Gehrig,” Ettinger added, noting he expected the sale to run about 400 lots, with a catalog that may even feature a keepsake poster of the stadium. “It’s an important time in the baseball season, and it should be pretty exciting.”
The last time Guernsey's was at MSG for an auction was in 2003 when the company sold items from the Mantle family. Aside from having a great time at the auction, I also set the Krause Publications record for expense account frugality at the sale, logging a food bill of just over $11 for that trip to New York City. I arrived at LaGuardia around noon that day, snagged a couple of Nathan's Franks below MSG, hit the auction afternoon session, then Chinese by the Pound during an hour dinner break, then back to the sale. Flew back to Iola next a.m. I may have set the bar a bit too high; that's been a tough act to follow in subsequent business trips.