They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Clean Sweep Auctions is offering a very rare photo in its May 24 auction that company president Steve Verkman believes is also worth several thousand dollars.
The photo is a 36-by-19 print from a game played Aug. 14, 1904, between the Boston Braves and the Chicago White Sox at the American League Ballpark in Chicago. It carries a minimum bid of $3,000 "This photo was taken from left field and offers a priceless vignette into baseball at the very beginning of the 20th century, Verkman said. "Players are all in period white uniforms. The image quality is so great that you can even see the faces of the players standing in front of the closer dugout. The fans are mostly decked out in suits and matching white top hats, and thousands are in standing room only seats on the field itself. This is quite simply one of the most amazing pieces of early baseball memorabilia that we have ever seen."
The photos is just one of the many vintage items for sale in the auction. "This is one of our most exciting and diverse auctions," Verkman noted. "We have an uncommonly large assortment of historical and presidential autographs, football memorabilia, baseball photos, books, pins and pennants."
In addition to the photo mentioned above, the baseball memorabilia portion of the sale also features a high-quality cabinet photo of Casey Stengel with his high school baseball team. Autograph collectors will likely jump at the chance to obtain signatures from a collection first garnered by an Oakland Oaks player from the late 1920s that has some amazing team balls from this era and a a rare 1931 Tour of Japan ball. There are also various items signed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, a Ruth/Gehrig dual-signed ball, as well as single-signed balls from Roberto Clemente, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Paul Waner. All autographs in the auction come with a letter of authenticity from James Spence.
On the baseball card side, collectors will find four lots of high-grade Obak PCL sets from 1910 and 1911 in separate lots. "These cards were put together by a very meticulous collector who spent years building these sets," Verkman said. One of the lots features 169 cards from 1910 and condition ranges from good to excellent-mint and carries a minimum bid of $2,000.
Another lot is a 1911 offering featuring 114 cards, grades mostly excellent to excellent-mint and carries a $2,000 minimum bid. There's also an assortment of T3 Turkey Red cards that Verkman said have been graded "conservatively" by PSA. "These are some simply stunning cards," he said.
Football collectors will also want to bid for some of the 1950s team-signed footballs, while the basketball section of the auction includes game-used jerseys from Celtics greats Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, as well as a Bird warmup jacket. Boxing memorabilia is also included in this sale.
Clean Sweep is also continuing its selection of Presidential material with a Abraham Lincoln from the Civil War and a document from Thomas Jefferson's presidency. Historical autographs include such luminaries as Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Jules Verne and several presidential autographs. "We also obtained a collection from a 1930s train conductor who garnered signatures of Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, Amelia Earhart, Will Rogers and baseball players like Walter Johnson," Verkman said.
Verkman said this auction is noteworthy for its diversity as well as its potential bargains. "Nowadays, you have so many auctions out there and we love to sell expensive items as much as the next guy, but we want people to understand that if they have a few hundred dollars to spend, we can offer them something. That's why there's a real diversity of price range in our auctions."