I enjoy it when the articles I write result in a good news story for a collector. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a growing number of collectors purchase high end items at auction under the condition that a MEARS evaluation be conducted prior to the transaction being consummated. In this particular case, the jersey did not meet the hidden reserve at auction and the collector made an offer on it after the auction closed. Nothing about the jersey changed, other than the degree of confidence the collector had in it based on the body of work provided with it. This is a good news story for MEARS and the collector, but what about the consigner and auction house? How might the bidding have changed if this information and degree of confidence were resident on the front end?
I guess all of this is conjecture at this point, but I would personally like to thank the buyer of this jersey for his confidence in MEARS and for affording me the opportunity to look at it, which is something I never tire of.
SUBJECT: 1966 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Road Jersey
For the purpose of evaluation and description, this jersey is referred to as a 1966 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees road jersey. After a detailed visual inspection and evaluation of this jersey using lighted magnification, a light table, a digital microscope, UV light and various references, I offer the following noted observations:
Size: This jersey is tagged as size 42 and this is the true measured size. This compares very favorably with these period Mantle jerseys in my data base, especially with respect to Wilson products of which this is.
1962 Mantle, Home, Spalding, size 44
1962 Mantle, Road, Wilson, size 42
1965 Mantle, Road, Wilson, size 42
1967 Mantle, Road, MacGregor, size 44
1968 Mantle, Home, Wilson, size 42
Manufacturer/Construction: The offered jersey is identified as a Wilson product by the tag in the lower left front tail. The tag is period correct as this style was featured on Wilson products from c 1958-1966. Other aspects of the jersey are also period correct, specifically:
Images from 1966 indicate that the Yankees had at least two supplies of their road jerseys, one being MacGregor as identified by the button style and the other very likely to be Wilson as there examples of Wilson Yankee road jerseys from both before and after 1966.
Period Common Players:
1965 Stan Williams, Yankees Road, Wilson: features same player, year size convention in the collar as well as hand written annotation for year (65) above the Wilson tag (see MEARS Cert #303155)
1965 Pete Mikkelsen, Yankees Road, MacGregor: features same hand written annotation for year (65) on front left tail of the jersey (see MEARS Cert #304122)
1967 Lou Clinton, Yankees Road, Wilson: features same player, year size convention in the collar as well as hand written annotation for year (67) above the Wilson tag (see MEARS Cert #306336)
Button Style: These buttons are one of the characteristics that help differentiate a Wilson product from a MacGregor product in period images since both Wilson and MacGregor provided road uniforms to the Yankees at this time. The MacGregor buttons are a solid two-hole cream colored variety and the Wilson’s are the charcoal gray four button style which this shirt has. The seven (7) buttons on this jersey are period/manufacturer correct and original to the offered jersey. (PLATES I & II)
Alpha/Numeric Fonts: The font style is also a characteristic that help differentiate a Wilson product from a MacGregor product in period images since both Wilson and MacGregor provided road uniforms to the Yankees at this time. The font differences between a Wilson jersey and MacGregor jersey can best be seen in the letters E and W of NEW YORK. The center arm of the E is shorter in the Wilson products and the W in the Wilson products features a much more defined point in the middle arm of the W.
In looking at dated images from 1966 of Mantle in a Wilson style jersey, the center arm of the letter E as measured from where it begins to extend out from the base shows the center arm to be 43.75% of the upper and lower arms. On the offered jersey these measurements taken the same way show this at 43.47%. This is an extremely favorable comparison. (PLATE III)
Sleeve Style: This jersey features set-in sleeves and this too is period correct, however this style of sleeve is common to both Wilson and MacGregor. In looking at the sleeve length of the offered jersey and images from 1966, you can see this also depicts an extremely favorable comparison with respect to the proportionality between the size of the letter E and the overall sleeve length. On the offered jersey the letter E is 45.39% the length of the set in sleeve. Period images show a 45.45% size relationship. (PLATE IV)
Supplemental Player Identification: The offered jersey features a gray flannel swatch with blue chain stitch for Mantle 1966-42. This style is period, team and manufacturer correct and is original to the uniform. This offered jersey shows no signs that the collar area has been tampered with in order to accommodate this swatch as being correctly sewn only through the first collar fold.
Other Materials: The body of the jersey, numbering and lettering are period correct with respect to materials, construction and appliqué. The lettering and numeral “7” on the back are all original to this offered jersey.
Use and Wear: The jersey shows signs of heavy use/wear, but not to the point were the jersey would be considered damaged. This is seen in the general wear to the fabric of the body of the jerseys and is uniform throughout. Minor stress wear can be seen to the stitching in the rear right of the collar. There are two small 5mm rust apparent rust stain on the back left and right shoulders. The jersey features two faded hand written black marker annotations for “66”; one directly on the Wilson manufacturer label, the other just above it. I do not consider this to be a detractor, but actually a positive for the jersey. In researching NY Yankees uniforms from the 1960s as it related to my work on the Roger Maris 61st home run uniform, I found out that the Yankees would keep one uniform from the previous season to have available for the next year. Since this jersey had already been tagged by the manufacturer as a 1966 offering, I surmise that these supplemental hand written annotations for 66 were done to identify this jersey as the one to be carried over to the 1967 season. This might also serve to explain the degree of use and wear. This same manner of annotation can also be seen in the referenced common players above.
History/Provenance: This jersey was publicly listed for auction as lot # 81915 in April of 2009. As part of the lot description, the jersey was said to have been sourced from a former Oneonta Yankee minor league player. The name of this player was not provided at the time of the writing of this letter so I am unable to verify the provenance of the offered jersey. You will notice that as a purported minor league recycled jersey, the original NEW YORK had not been removed as might be expected. This actually bodes well for this jersey in that images from the Oneonta Yankees from as late as the 1980s and 1990s indicate the club wore the uniforms as sent down without replacing either the NEW YORK on the road jerseys or NY on the home versions (PLATE V).
Evaluation Findings: Based on a my physical examination of this jersey, supporting data, images, and PLATES I-V it is my opinion that this jersey posses all of the characteristics you would expect to find in a 1966 New York Yankees road jersey manufactured by Wilson for use by Mickey Mantle in 1966. In addition, this offered jersey, while showing signs of heavy and even use and wear, is in original condition with no alterations or structural modifications. The jersey compares extremely favorably with period images of Mantle in 1966 wearing what is believed to be Wilson products, especially with respect to font style and sleeve length. Hand written annotations for “66” offer the possibility that this jersey may have in fact been worn for portions of both the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
MEARS Auth, LLC
-Image Plates I-V
-Color uniform working plates
-Heritage Catalog Offering