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Mathewson and Wagner balls grab Hunt All-Star auct

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A single-signed Christy Mathewson baseball and a single signed Honus Wagner ball consigned by a FanFest attendee sold for $110,000 and $23,100 respectively in the All-Star FanFest auction on July 12. Held at MLB’s John Hancock All-Star FanFest, the auction took place Tuesday, July 12, with hundreds in attendance throughout the sale. Hunt Auctions, Inc. began the auction with the surprising insertion of two extraordinary items that were added over the weekend as late additions.

Hunt officials added the two pieces to the auction after they were brought to the FanFest appraisal fair prior to the sale. The $110,000 price for the Christy Mathewson ball was highest price ever paid at auction for a single-signed baseball.

Several other high-end items in the sale also achieved notable results, including Roberto Clemente’s Silver Bat Award, which brought $99,000, and his 1958 Pittsburgh Pirates road jersey, which sold for a record $71,500. A significant 1903 History of Colored Base Ball book by Sol White ended at $16,500, and in a nod to the home team, a rare pair of Ty Cobb Detroit Tigers home pants circa 1920s went for $45,100.

The first portion of the sale featured a group of autographed photographs that sold far above estimate, including Larry Lajoie ($9,900), Honus Wagner ($7,700), Ty Cobb ($6,600), Walter Johnson ($5,500) and Eddie Collins ($4,950). Following the success of the Mathewson baseball, a Christy Mathewson autographed photograph attributed to Carl Horner sold for $22,000.

Capitalizing on the location in Detroit, Hunt Auctions featured several lots of Ty Cobb memorabilia, including a 1956 Cobb-signed The Tiger Wore Spikes book ($6,050), a single-signed Cobb ball circa 1920s ($6,050), a 1912 Cobb Baseball Magazine handwritten letter ($3,575), and a Cobb World War I studio photograph, along with a handwritten postcard ($2,640).

The two marquee Cobb-related items drew considerable interest with a Cobb professional model baseball bat circa 1921-28 selling for $44,000, and an ensemble featuring an Aug. 21, 1921, Cobb single-signed baseball attributed to his 3,000th hit, with related materials, selling for $60,500.

Several Tigers-related pieces appealed to the Detroit crowd, including a 1909 Detroit Tigers team panoramic photograph ($15,400), a 1907 Detroit Tigers cabinet photograph ($6,600), a 1912 Cleveland vs. Detroit Opening Game panoramic photograph ($4,400), a 1935 Tigers team-signed watercolor painting ($7,700), and a 1907 Tigers AL Champions pennant ($7,700).

The auction also featured several game-used jerseys, including a 1948 Joe DiMaggio Yankees road ($42,900), a 1960 Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves home ($30,800), a Duke Snider Los Angeles Dodgers home ($13,200), a 1981 Ryne Sandberg Phillies rookie road jersey ($5,500), a Mike Schmidt Phillies road jersey circa 1988 ($5,225), and a 1963 Tony Gonzalez Phillies home jersey ($4,400).

Mickey Mantle items included a Mantle/Maris signed ball ($7,700), a Mantle-signed Mitchell & Ness jersey ($6,050), a single-signed Mantle ball with a “1961” notation ($1,870), a Maris, Mantle and Yogi Berra signed photograph ($1,485), and a Mantle and Joe DiMaggio signed ball ($1,485).

Single-signed balls: Clemente – $9,900; a Walter Johnson circa 1930s – $9,900; Lou Gehrig – $6,600; and a vintage Mantle circa 1960s – $3,850.
Team-signed balls: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers – $25,300; 1961 Yankees – $9,350; 1934 Yankees partial ball – $8,800; 1941 AL All-Star – $8,250; 1941 NL All-Star – $3,575; and a 1933 World Series autographed ink blotter – $6,600.

The auction ended with about 30 lots of baseball cards from the 1950s-60s, including a 1952 Topps Mantle graded SGC 6 – $15,400; a 1957 Topps Baseball set – $12,100; a 1955 Topps Baseball set – $11,000; a 1967 Topps Baseball set – $4,675; and a collection of (167) signed baseball Exhibits – $4,950.

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