I spend a fair amount of time answering questions either over the phone or at shows I might be at. If you know me, I like to talk and talk about this stuff to no end at times. Collectors seem to enjoy asking me about a variety of items and are surprised that as a dealer, my first response is not how much do you want for it? I have always figured if someone is looking to sell something, they’ll let me know. Most of the time they just want some information, something I am always happy to provide if I can.
Here are some recent questions and answers that have come to me via e-mail recently:
Q: I saw your name listed as an expert in game-used bats. I have a question concerning a Paul Waner bat that’s supposedly from the 1940s. Is there anyway to tell, without being in the presence of the bat, whether it’s a store model or an actual ‘gamer’? It’s likely a store model, but I don’t have much knowledge of bats from that far back.
It has ‘125-PW’ inside the LS oval and “GENUINE / Paul Waner / LOUISVILLE SLUGGER” on the barrel. The knob is marked with 35 inches.
Thanks for your time,
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
A: Trent, your bat is indeed a store model bat. The giveaways are the inch marks on the knob and Paul Waners initials in the center following the model number 125. I could further nail down the dating as follows; if your bat has Trade Mark Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. Under the center oval and does not have the phrase “Powerized” to the right of oval, then it is a 1920’s bat. If it has “Powerized” either alone or with “bone rubbed” or “oil tempered” or Pat. Pend. , depending on which, it is a 1931-33 if the same slogan appears under the oval. If yours has “Trade Mark Reg” under the oval, this first appears in 1934 thru 1949 and if “Reg U. S. Pat Off.” appears under the center brand, it is post 1950. As for value, a pre 1934 in really nice shape might sell for $3-400 or $2-300 if 1934-49 era.
Q. Hello, I would like to know what you charge to authenticate early Louisville Slugger bats. I have one that I described to you about a year ago and you said it was one of the first models…..Also, shipping info. Thanks
A: We get asked this a lot. If you go to Mearsonline.com and go to the submissions page, there is a print out so you can list all the details of your item along with terms and turn around times as well as pricing for each which is don’t based on era and player status.
Q. I wanted to write you regarding an item I just acquired. It is a large circa 1910 quilt that is decorated with approximately 30 vintage pennants. Most of the pennants are college or tourist/advertising pennants, but 2 of them caught my eye. 1 is a circa 1910? Oversized White Sox pennant which measures in at about 38 inches long. The other is a 30 inch pennant that reads Metropolitan, with the letters MBC on the left. Could this be for the Metropolitan Baseball Club? The quilt does have some condition issues with some pennants missing, and loose stitching, so my plan was to remove the pennants. Based on some of the loose stitching, this could be done very easily, and the pennants would come off great with no damage. I wanted to get your opinion regarding the date and value of the Sox pennant, and as well get your opinion on the possibility of the Metropolitan pennant being for the Metropolitan baseball club. Also, in your opinion, would it be quilt despite its condition have more value in its entirety, and would it be unwise for me to remove the pennants?
Thanks much, I will be attaching photos to this email.
A: It is definitely a circa 1910 quilt but the only pennants of real value are the Sox pennant but because it does not say Chicago, it could be Red Sox or even a minor league affiliate. If taking it apart does not do too much damage, it might sell in the $500 range. The pennant that says “Metropolitan” with the intertwined BC could stand for the “Mets Ball Club but it is doubtful. First, the original “Mets” or Metropolitans were a league that existed from 1880-1887 as an independent professional team in New York. Most clubs at this time used the three letter abbreviation “BBC” for Base Ball Club as Baseball was not then used as a one word. I don’t think your pennant is that old but it is interesting and might sell for a few hundred dollars. It may be best that you leave it as an interesting blanket as I think it might sell for around $1000 as is.
Q. I acquired an old bat many years ago, and I was wondering if you can give me some information about it. It is labeled “Louisville Slugger, Made by F.Hillerich and Son Louisville, KY. Trademark.” The dimensions are approx.:Knob- 2″, Grip-1-5/8″, barrel to top- 2 1/4″, length-35 “. There is some damage on the barrel and the top.
A: Marin, You have the earliest label period used by Louisville Slugger from 1897-1906, maybe even a couple of years earlier. As to value, they are not as rare as most people would think given it is over 100 years old but quite a few survived (people just don’t have the heart to throw out a bat if it can /could still be used) and as such, a minty example usually sells in the $400-700 range but one with damage, depending on severity , might sell for less than $200. Hope this helps. PS. Louisville did not issue a player model store bat until Honus Wagner in 1905 so your bat would not have had any endorsement and these type bats were sold via retail outlets as well as having been used in organized ball.
Q: Mr. Bushing,
My son just purchased a wooden bat from a rummage sale and I am trying to find out
any history about it. The logo is imprinted with:
Louisville Bat Co.
Made in U.S.A.
The signature at the end of the bat is Louisville Mascot Ted Williams Model. Thanks.
A: Louisville Mascot company was bought out by the Louisville Slugger company during the 1920’s and somewhere around here , I have a copy of the sale. During the 1920’s, they put out a line of signature endorsed decal player model bats, mostly of minor leaguers but some big name players from the Louisville line up such as Rogers Hornsby ( I have a copy of a mid 1920’s Mascot catalog and you will find some more info on a column I wrote on these bats in our news archive) and these bats, in top condition, sell for thousands but your 1940’s store model Williams bat, while quite rare to find a Mascot bat from this era with a player, would probably sell in the $200 range if gem mint not used and drop to half or more depending on the used condition.
Q. Mr. Bushing,
I’ve been referred to you regarding a Carl Yastrezmski bat with CY5 on the knob. I’m not interested in an appraisal, just curious about the quality of this bat – whether it was a general mass-market model or more selective than that – can’t find anything through Goggle. Any idea?
A: The CY5 mark on the knob of the bat indicates that it is a signature contract retail store model bat (CY stands for Carl Yastrezmski and the 5 is the length) and as such, even if mint, would not sell for over $75 in the secondary collector market. It was a top of the line model with regards to quality for a retail bat and if you could give more information as to the markings, I could narrow the mfg. date down for you as earlier examples from his rookie era years will sell quicker than a 1980’s version. Yaz played with the Red Sox for 23 seasons (1961-83) and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Q: I have recently acquired an antique mini bat(about 16 inches) with the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Louisville Slugger 40 imprint as well as an imprint of Joe DiMaggio’s signature from my aunt’s estate. Can you help me determine its value?
Thanks, David Smith
A: Your mini bat came in three sizes 14″, 16″ and the model 25 was 22″ . They came in natural finish with burned in markings and a brown or hickory finish with gold foil markings that were lightly heat pressed. They were sold at stadiums and thru the Louisville Slugger catalog for $.25 starting in the 1920’s and are still available today and just about everybody who had a signature contract got a mini bat so that local fans could buy one of their favorite player and not just superstars and Hall of Famers (future). Yours is fairly common from the 1930-40’s and if mint, would sell in the $75-150 range.
Q: Hi Dave: Just saw your name as a contact on the Louisville Slugger Museum site and had a question. I’m cleaning out my parent’s garage and found a wood Slugger bat marked 125 and the name Willie Davis. I played softball in the 50’s-to early 60’s in Philadelphia and don’t remember if this was my bat or if Dad had gotten this somewhere. Can you advise me how old this is and if it is worth auctioning or ebay’ing?I couldn’t find anything in the museum website. Thanks for any insight into this.
A: Without any information as to how your bat is stamped (all burned in markings) I cannot tell you if you have a store model or game used bat and as such, the value of a store bat might be $10-20 while a nice early game bat might sell in the $250-400 range. Can you get me some more info?
Q: Hi Dave : I recently found an H & B 125 Babe Ruth bat 35 “, I think from the 1930’s. There is a large R stamped into the knob and it looks like it was done at the factory. Is there anything special about this bat ? I have not seen this R stamped in a knob before.
A: I would have to see a photograph of the bat and marking to determine why and who on this one. Once we determine age of bat and the style of bat, we can determine who put it there. Remember, they did a run of replica bats in the mid 1980’s as well and they were sold thru the mail order company of J. Peterman (sp) so a photo would help determine age of bat.
Q: Hi, my name is Adam and I have a Louisville Slugger that I received from my grandparents. It is definitely a softball bat as it says on the barrel but I know very little about it. I went on the official Louisville Slugger website and found out that the logo is from bats produced from 1948-1963. The wood is in pretty good condition but the tape on the handle is tattered. I am interested to know more about it and possibly a value.
Thank you for your time,
A: Adam, I get about a dozen emails a month on softball bats , often really nice vintage ones, but unfortunately, they have absolutely no collector value and seem to only have value at all simply as a decorator piece for bars, restaurants and kids rooms and the available supply outweighs the demand 10-1 so keep it as a memory from your grand parents or go out and hit some balls with it, that is what it was made for and should still have some hits left in it.