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MEARS recently had the opportunity to authenticate a Hank Aaron game worn road jersey from his 1968 season with the Atlanta Braves. Please read the findings from MEARS Auth, LLC’s evaluation below.
MEARS Auth, LLC’s Comments and Working Notes for:
Size: The jersey is tagged as a size 40 and this is the true size of the jersey and as compared to period on hand Spalding products in sizes 40, 42, and 44. Based on this information and contemporary sizing data I have compiled for Hank Aaron, I would offer that this is an appropriate sized garment for him (by manufacturer) at this point in his career. (PLATE I)
Manufacturers Tagging: The jersey features a c1957-1970 Spalding manufacturers tag as well as supplemental tagging for player attribution is found in the form of “44 (player), 40 (size) and 68 (year of issuance) chain stitched onto a felt swatch in the rear of the collar. Tagging also includes a box tag for size (40) as well as a year/set flag tag denoting this offering as Set 1 from 1968. All of this tagging is assessed as being original to the garment and it compares favorably without exception to my data base exemplar of a 1968 Braves road jersey supplied by Spalding. As such, I would offer that this is a properly tagged jersey. (PLATE II)
Construction/Style: The jersey is constructed of a lighter weight wool flannel blend fabric and is consistent by quality and weave as other period Spalding major league products in my oh-hand exemplar library. The jersey features Raglan sleeves cut to a 4” or mid-bicep cut, both of which are appropriate as confirmed by period images. Alpha-numeric font styles as well as placement and general alignment of all lettering and numbering is also assessed as being appropriate and this too is confirmed by period images for both 1968 and 1969. 1968 was the first year of this style and it featured NO player number on the front or player name on the back. 1969 was also examined based on the presence of the 1969 MLB 100th Anniversary patch on the right sleeve. In addition, the jersey features a period original Screaming Braves patch (road version) on the left sleeve. Both patches are assessed as being period original offerings and are also assessed as being original to the garment. (PLATES III-VI)
Use/Wear: The jersey shows signs of moderate use and wear. This is true of the body in general as well as the surface condition of the twill lettering and numbering. When the duel color twill fabric was examined on a light table (numerals and lettering), I saw no signs of anything to indicate this applique was not original to the garment at the time of manufacturer. (PLATES VII-VIII)
While the jersey does feature a 1969 MLB Anniversary patch, the uniform does not appear to be in the condition one would expect for a uniform worn for two full major league seasons. As such, I feel it is more likely that the presence of the patch suggests it was carried forward for use to supplement the availability of uniforms for use by Aaron in 1969. This would not have been an uncommon practice for major league teams at this time. At the time of my evaluation, the only writing on the jersey was an autograph of “Hank Aaron” located in proximity to the manufacturers tagging in the front left bottom of the jersey. I offer no opinion on this autograph, but only note its presence at the time of my evaluation.
Opinion: In my opinion this jersey possesses all the characteristics you would expect to see in a jersey supplied by Spalding in 1968 for road use and wear by Hank Aaron. The jersey compares favorably with period images and period on hand Spalding major league fabrics. All lettering, numbering, and tagging is assessed as being original to the garment and free of any signs of contrived application or use and or wear.
The MEARS worksheet and grading criteria provides for 5 categories for which points may deducted, I found no reasons to deduct points:
As such, the final grade for this jersey bearing hologram #313944 is A10.
MEARS Auth, LLC