I get dozens of e-mails each month from collectors. I thought I would share some of those in a monthly column. In sifting through them, I have tried to highlight those that might have some value and or interest to someone other than the person who sent it in. If you have a question, please always feel free to drop me at line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here we go:
Q: Six years ago we met in Pittsburgh and I sold you a Clemente bat. At the time I had a Ted Williams Bat, a Louisville Slugger. The estimate you gave me at the time was somewhere around $600.00. Please check your records and see what the price is today, It is a model “W183” Hillerich & Bradsby signature contract 125.
A: I remembered the Clemente but a good Williams gamer was worth around $6000 at that time, not $600 so I looked back into my notes and found your bat and the reason behind the low estimate. While the model W183 was definitely a model used by Williams, your bat measured 34” in length. This model bat is/was not found in any of Williams’s personal shipping records but it is a pro model in what we refer to as a team ordered index bat. These bats were made by Louisville using the popular players and models at use at the time by the player in reference, but then the team would order, say 75-150 of popular signature model bats of current players but in assorted lengths that could have been used by any member of the team. What this means is that it is possible that Williams could have used this bat but given the number of bats ordered by the team during that era, it is just as likely to have been used by someone else unless there was some player traits that pointed to its use by Williams such a painted number 9 on the knob. Without such a player trait, it is simply a pro model team ordered index bat and while it is worth a bit more than the price quoted six years ago, it probably hasn’t doubled since then.
Q: I own a Louisville Slugger bat, It has the oval center stamp which is from the 1964-1980 era according to the Louisville Slugger web site.
The players name on it is Jackie Robinson. It says Special on the barrel and on the
handle end it has the letters JRS. I am hoping the bat is from the 1964 era instead of
the 1970’s. So my question is do you know in which year the Jackie Robinson Special
A: Jackie Robinson bats were first listed for sale in the 1950 catalog, three years after his major league debut. As you probably know, you have store model or retail bat as the JRS stands for Jackie Robinson Special. The special was a bat made along the player’s specs but of smaller scale for use by school kids and I have never seen a special model that is longer than 34”. As you also noted, your bat has nothing stamped under the center brand which began in 1965 and it is a Hillerich & Bradsby stamped bat as they switched to the Louisville Slugger logo in 1980 and they continued to carry a Jackie Robinson model well into the 1980’s. If your bat has a model number after the Genuine on the barrel such as R43, then it is a late 1970’s. If it is just printed Genuine above the name, it is most likely pre 1976. A picture would help date it more precisely but I can tell you that his model bats were one of the most produced of any signature bat and given the production years, are far from scarce and as such, seldom sell for more than $100 even if gem mint although a signature full size gem mint 50’s bat would probably sell in the $100-200 range given that his gamers are approaching $100,000. and are out of reach for all but a very rare few. Yours is a post career (he retired after the 57 season, the last year in Brooklyn for the Dodgers) and the fact that it is not made to game specs, would probably not fetch more than $50 in used condition.
Q: Good evening, I happened to find your address through a goggle search.
I have been handed a 1953 Montreal Royals baseball in excellent condition, signed by the entire 52-53 roster. Is there a market for that type of memorabilia? If so, any approximate value?
A: The Montreal Royals were members of the International League from 1928-60 and for years, was a farm team to the Brooklyn Dodgers from which came both Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. The team roster for Montreal in both 1952 and 1953 (there will be at least one key player who was there one year and not the next but the value would be about the same) contained loads of future Brooklyn Dodgers including Tommy Lasorda, Rocky Bridges, Gino Cimoli, Don Thompson, Walt Moryn, Johnny Padres, Ed Roebuck , and Johnny Romano but none the caliber of Jackie or Campy. Regardless, it would be of interest to a Brooklyn or minor league collector and if gem mint with all the key players and at least 16-18 signatures and on an official International League ball, might sell in the $7-1000 range but would drop like a rock as condition goes down hill or if there are clubhouse signatures, staining, fading, non official ball, etc. A gem mint ball from this era is rare, hence the high price for a prime example but a tough sell if not pristine.
Q: Here’s the story: This bat supposedly originated with Hank Aaron. It found its way to Richmond back in the early 1970s (1971 or 1972-ish). The best guess is a player brought it back from spring training — if it turns out to be authentic. Anyway, one of the batboys ended up with it and has had it all these years. It came up in conversation and I’m just curious if it is indeed what he claims it to be. The bat is cracked and has “44” on the knob. There’s no evidence of pine tar on the handle. Here’s the question: Is it possible that this is a gamer or at least a game-issue bat? My reader checked everything he could and can’t find much on this model number. However your guide does indicate that Aaron used 229A Adirondack bats, but it doesn’t what years.
A: I looked at your photographs. You do not have the Tee-Pee model that was used from 1968-70 and your bat has the large blue handle ring which were color matched to the main color theme of the team, a practice that Adirondack had experimented with during the Tee-Pee era bats but with much smaller rings. In addition, there is no date stamped on the knob, a practice which began in 1980 so your bat is a model that would have been made from 1971-79. Aaron retired after the 1976 season so your bat is a game model bat from 1971-76 and the 44 in black marker on the knob is typical of Aaron game bats from that era as is the model 229A. I assume that the bat is 35” and if showing good game use with ball and lace marks, no finish chipping or problems, then the bat should sell in the $5000 range given it is a fairly late example but still quite collectible.
Q: I have a 1985 Denver Bronco Anniversary book with signatures of the Bronco players and coaches. Can you give me an idea what it might be worth. Signatures are from late 1984-1985.
A: The Broncos won the first-ever American Football League game over the Boston Patriots, 13-10, on September 9, 1960 as they were one of the inaugural AFL teams of 1960. The 1984-85 season was the teams 25th anniversary and they won the AFC Western Division title that year but lost to the Steelers in the Divisional game. This was also the second season for future Hall of Fame quaterback, John Elway. If the program is gem mint and has the entire starting line up including Elway, it would probably sell in the $3-400 range in auction.
Till next month, keep collecting.