In its 2014 Winter Auction, Goldin Auctions is making available the finest Jackie Robinson game-used bat ever offered, as well as a collection of autographs from African-American sports and historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Willie Mays, Jesse Owens, poet/social activist Langston Hughes and more. These items, from the Walter Blount Collection, as well as 1,200 other lots, will be open for bidding from Jan. 13-Feb. 7, 2014, at www.GoldinAuctions.com.
The Robinson bat, a 1955-56 Hillerich & Bradsby R115 measuring 35 inches and 34.1 ounces, has been graded PSA GU10. This model was used by the Dodgers great during his final two seasons. Unique to this bat, is Robinson's famed #42 marking on the bat's knob in black paint. Of the 17 game-used Robinson bats graded by PSA/DNA, just four include such a marking. The bat is un-cracked and exhibits evidence of outstanding use and presents slight checking from repeated ball contact and includes many ball marks.
The provenance of the bat as well as the autographs in the Walter Blount Collection are just as impressive as the legendary figures they represent. The bat was personally presented to Walter C. Blount III by Jackie Robinson, on April 26, 1956, during the seventh-inning stretch alongside the Dodger dugout at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Blount attended the game with his father, Walter Blount Jr., who had challenged the American Legion's policy after he returned from World War II and was denied membership.
Previously, in 1928, his father Walter Blount Sr. had founded the Nyack (NY) chapter of the NAACP. The Blount family commitment to the Fight for Human Rights was no doubt familiar to Robinson.
The buyer of the bat will also receive an autographed photo that Robinson presented to Blount bearing the inscription in blue ink; "To Walter Blount III Best Wishes Jackie Robinson."
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., autograph is especially impressive. Signed in young Walter's autograph book, and dated by Dr. King on May 23, 1957, the signature includes the note "With best regards to faith." The signature, which reads Martin Luther King Jr, is exquisite.
"We are honored that the Blount family has entrusted these rare family heirlooms to us to ensure that the next owners can treat them with the same respect that the Blount family has for the past half-century," explained Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. "The historical significance and unquestioned provenance of these items will surely gain the attention of the most serious collectors."
With the success of the movie 42, Robinson's memorabilia has experienced a bit of a revival. Earlier this year, Goldin Auctions sold a 1949 Robinson game-used bat for $159,867 and a glove he wore in the 1955 and 1956 World Series sold for $373,002 in another auction.