The Secrets of Collecting Baseball, From Cards to Signed Bats and Balls

December 8th, 2009

Mike Gutierrez is a Consignment Director at Heritage Auction Galleries and an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. As a sports autograph authenticator, Gutierrez is probably best known for his initial appraisal of Mark McGwire’s 70th-home-run ball, which sold at auction for $3 million. In this interview, Gutierrez talks about how he got into the sports-memorabilia field, how the field has changed, and the challenges of authenticating an autograph.

I played baseball, basketball, and ran track from the time I was eight years old all the way through high school. Like the other kids in my neighborhood, I also grew up collecting baseball cards. I’d get an extra 5 cents and run down to the liquor store to buy packs of 25 or 30. Unfortunately, my mother threw out my cards before I was even in high school. That’s what makes baseball cards so valuable—all the mothers in the 1960s and ’70s did that.

In 1979, after I was well ensconced in another business, I read one day that there was going to be a sports card collectors’ show at the Anaheim Convention Center, and that Hank Aaron would be signing autographs. The idea of that just grabbed me.

I went to a baseball-card shop—I didn’t even know such places existed—and bought a photo of Hank Aaron to bring to the show. When I got there, I was stunned to see all these people selling baseball cards and memorabilia that I had as a kid and were now worth hundreds and thousands of dollars. I went up to Hank Aaron and got him to sign my photo. I still have that photo today.

After getting Hank Aaron, I thought, “Well, now I want Babe Ruth and then I’ll have the home-run hitters.” I was as green as could be, but collecting autographs of famous baseball players captured my imagination.

“In the 19th century, baseball players were considered to be a bunch of hooligans.”

Someone handed me a flyer as I was walking out, with information about other shows in Southern California venues, so I went to those, too. At those shows, I purchased a lot of material, mostly signed photos. I met other autograph collectors in the Southern California area who had the same interests as I did. I read national publications that introduced me to collectors and sellers in other states. Before long I was attending some of the bigger shows in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, because that’s how you found the better pieces.

But I have no idea how, why, what, where, and when I started collecting baseball Hall of Famers. One thing just led to another. My collection grew. I grew up in the business, you could say.

At that time, autographs were small compared to cards, so I became known for my knowledge of these guys’ signatures. Baseball-card dealers would come to me with pieces from the mid–1960s and say, “What do you think of this? Do you think it’s good? What do you think the value is?” Eventually I started writing letters of authenticity.

Collectors Weekly: Do you still have that first collection?

Gutierrez: I sold it in the late 1980s. I collected photos, letters, checks, documents, and paper items. I would get whatever I could for those Hall of Fame players, though some died in the 19th century and materials weren’t available.

hankaaronphoto

Here’s a signed photo of Hank Aaron holding the ball he hit for home run number 715 to pass Babe Ruth’s record.

I found most of the items through meeting collectors at shows, finding out what they had, and seeing what they were willing to let go of. Back then you couldn’t buy. We had to trade. It was, “Well, I’ll give up this thing that you need, but I want to get something good in return.” Now it’s all about money.

It was a whole different breed of collector then, too. These were people who talked about baseball because they were interested in it. The themes they collected were large landscapes, great ideas. All the old theme collectors are going away.

The collectors determine what’s popular and what’s not. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s going to be worth more in the future. People ask me for appraisals and I tell them what I think. They think they can keep a piece for 10 years and it’ll increase in value. It’ll probably be worth less due to inflation.

Nowadays, collectors aren’t baseball people. They’re just people who are into it for ego, who want to say, “Well, look at my signed Lou Gehrig photo. It’s better than anyone else’s.”

It started to change in the ’80s and early ’90s, as the business became bigger. I was working with a price-guide publication, and it was out of date every time we released it because the business was thriving. It became a $2-billion business pretty quickly.

Collectors Weekly: Do people still collect cards for their historical value?

Gutierrez: I see very few people collecting for history anymore. In fact, there are pieces that 15 years ago would have gone for a thousand or more, but now are only worth a hundred or a couple hundred. The older collectors are gone.

Today’s collectibles businesses are focused on the current crop of ballplayers, which is totally uninteresting to me. It’s like the stock market. If the players are good, their memorabilia is very expensive. If they do badly, well, then their prices drop. I was dealing with players whose careers were over, so you knew what you were collecting.

I’m interested in history. I don’t care what a Derek Jeter signed baseball can sell for as opposed to his rookie card. I’m interested in the fact that through the 19th century, baseball players were considered to be a bunch of hooligans. And how that perception didn’t change until President Taft went to a World Series game. He was the first president to throw out a first pitch. Taft was a heavyset man, so in the seventh inning, because he’d been sitting so long, he wanted to stretch his legs. When he stood up, everyone else also stood up. Hence, the seventh-inning stretch.

Collectors Weekly: When did sports memorabilia become collectible?

CyYoungball

This “bounder” baseball was signed by Cy Young in the 1940s.

Gutierrez: It goes back to Jefferson Burdick, who cataloged all the baseball cards in 1940. He was a janitor from midnight to 6 a.m. at a school, and all he did during the day was catalog baseball cards. There were a handful of guys back then. You were always an accountant or whatever it was that you did during the day, and then you did this as a hobby.

I’ve seen catalogs from the 1950s and ’60s, but it started to really take off in the ’70s. By 1980, people were working in this business full time, which was unheard of before.

In the 1970s, collectors of my generation realized that they were making money on sports memorabilia, and that spawned all the other collectibles categories, including rock ’n’ roll and entertainment. People like me invested in performers we liked as kids, and a lot of other people followed suit.

Before that, baseball cards, rock ’n’ roll, and entertainment collectibles were all skimming the bottom of the auction business. Baseball cards and memorabilia were the first to take off, though, and they are still far stronger categories than the others.

Collectors Weekly: Who are some of the most collectible Hall of Famers?

Gutierrez: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner, Cy Young. Those are the basis of a serious collection. From there, you collect other home-run hitters, other pitchers. You can collect teams. There are so many different themes to pursue and that’s what makes baseball so collectible. People collect by team, by player, by home-run hitters, by strikeout leaders, by players in the 3,000-hits club, the 500-home-runs club.

If someone is collecting a single player, they usually start out with baseball cards. They can go into jerseys, signed photos, signed balls, signed bats, game-used bats, game-used uniforms.

Collectors Weekly: Are signed items the most sought after?

Gutierrez: It depends on the collector. Some people just don’t like autographs. Some people want autographs from early on, like when the person started his career, or they might want a particular kind of photo or document.

Baseballs with lots of inscriptions are another collectible area. Same thing with signed jerseys or signed game-used jerseys, or autographed bats or game-used bats. There are loads of ways you can go.

Signed items are sexier, and because of that forgers prey upon collectors. Because the business grew so fast, there was an influx of forgeries, and the forgeries scared off a lot of people. A lot of bad material has been bought over the years.

Collectors Weekly: What’s the best way to acquire items now?

TedWilliamsjewsey

This 1990s replica of the rookie jersey worn by Ted Williams is signed below the “Sox.”

Gutierrez: The sports-memorabilia business has taken a strong turn toward auctions. It used to be about buying and selling through dealers. The dealer population has dwindled considerably because people like the fact that they can buy out of auction. They feel that they’re buying items at the price the market will bear, as opposed to someone saying, “I’ll sell this to you for $2,500.” You don’t know if that’s a good deal or a bad deal. But at auction, that piece of memorabilia you got for $1,800, you know it was worth it.

Plus, at auction, essentially all autographed material is now authenticated. There are two major autograph authentication companies that are well known and accepted in our business: James Spence Authentication, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, and Professional Sports Authenticator, in Newport Beach, California.

Of course, the only way that you can positively know that an autograph is authentic is if you watch someone sign something in front of you. Less than one percent of all autographs are made in front of collectors, though.

In order to keep the business honest, it’s important to use these authentication companies, not only for autographs but in other areas, too—for jerseys, for bats. There are authenticators for all that material because these people have exemplars they can use for comparison.

Collectors Weekly: What’s the most popular era in baseball to collect?

Gutierrez: Well, I don’t know that there is a most popular era, to tell you the truth. In baseball, vintage is generally considered as pre-1970. The farther back you go, the harder it is to find material, and the more expensive it is. Collectors are enamored by the ’20s and ’30s, and by the ’50s and ’60s because many of them grew up in that era. It’s the vintage memorabilia that sells for the most money.

Modern memorabilia, which is anything post 1980, is produced at private signings and convention shows. These are items that current players sign by the thousands. Companies buy and mass market them.

JackieRobinsonpostcard

Collectible baseball ephemera includes postcards such as this one written and signed by Jackie Robinson in 1943.

I think Mickey Mantle did the first signing for money around 1976 or 1977, and then Joe DiMaggio followed. People went to the convention shows and bought their autographs. After that, promoters started booking Warren Spahn, Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron, and that drew out the Hall of Famers.

Today it’s important for a lot of these players to make the Hall of Fame because with that comes a guarantee of at least $100,000 a year for private signings and attending convention shows. It’s a way for the older players to make far more money than they ever did in uniform.

Before the 1950s, just signing a ball would have been considered rude. Players always wrote, “With good wishes from Babe Ruth.” Now collectors are more interested in balls with just the signature. Nowadays, it’s about time and money. “I’m being paid X amount of money to sign X amount of balls at X amount per hour, so I’ve got to get rolling. You want a ball signed for your little boy? Sorry. Next.”

Collectors Weekly: What types of signed baseballs are most valuable?

Gutierrez: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Yankee team-signed baseballs are the most desirable. The Brooklyn Dodgers are also very collectible. Most collectors like to focus on signatures from when a player was still in the game because it would be on an older ball, with a different kind of signature.

TyCobbball

In 1960, just a year before he died, the great Ty Cobb signed this baseball for a friend.

Modern memorabilia dealers sell balls with a player’s career highlights printed on them. The player will sign the ball in the sweet spot, and then the dealer will put on all their home runs, how many hits they had, what their batting average was, the teams they played for, and some little ditty about their personal career.

Home-run balls are hard to authenticate. Dealers and collectors want some kind of documentation, but there was no documentation back in the 1930s or ’40s. Back then if you caught a Babe Ruth home-run ball, it would buy you a beer and a free dinner at a local restaurant. These balls, if they can be documented, are worth, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars. If you were able to find Babe Ruth’s “called-shot” home-run ball from the 1932 World Series, I’d venture that would be worth six figures.

In modern times most of the big home runs have been on TV. So you could see where it was hit and who caught it. Usually those people come forward and they say, “I’ve got Barry Bonds’ 61st home run, 67th home run, Mark McGwire’s home run.”

In fact, I did the initial appraisal of Mark McGwire’s 70th-home-run ball that sold at Guernsey’s in New York for $3 million. I got no part of that—the insurance company of the guy who caught it went to Bonhams & Butterfields auction house in San Francisco. They paid me to appraise it. If that ball was resold right now, my guess is it might bring a couple hundred thousand. When things are hot, they’re hot, and after they cool off, it is what it is. People hate him now because of his steroid use, so his memorabilia is considerably down.

Collectors Weekly: Is it more common to collect by team or by player?

Gutierrez: It always starts with the player. Collectors who are collecting by player are trying to get the definitive collection for that person—balls, bats, cards, uniforms, and photographs.

But then the collector will say, “God, I love Sandy Koufax. You know what? Because I love Sandy Koufax, I love Don Drysdale. Because I love Don Drysdale, I love the Los Angeles Dodgers. And because I love the Dodgers, I want to get into the Dodgers of the ’40s, the ’50s.” Jackie Robinson—that’s another great Dodger name.

There’s a guy I knew who had a nice collection, but I never thought of him as an expert in autographs or cards. Then all of sudden he started getting involved in Spalding World Tour collectibles—photos, balls, uniforms, programs—from the 1880s. Now he’s an expert because he’s collected the most stuff in that area and knows more than anyone else.

Collectors Weekly: What are the most difficult autographs to authenticate?

Gutierrez: Autographs by 19th-century players are the most difficult to authenticate because there are so few examples by those players. Back then, when those guys finished playing baseball, they went back to their farms. There are few-to-zero comparables we can use on some of those guys. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, for example; I know of  less than 10 of his signatures on balls or paper that are legit. Same with the Negro League Hall of Famers. Some of those players lived long lives and stayed in baseball, and other ones just faded into obscurity.

Collectors Weekly: Can you tell us about the collection of balls and photographs you appraised when we met you at the San Jose taping of Antiques Roadshow?

baberuthcheck

The 1936 recipient of this check for $105.50 would have done well to have saved this check signed by Babe Ruth.

Gutierrez: The guy’s great grandfather, I think, only played in the pros two years, but in those two years he collected and kept items that are now worth a considerable amount of money. It was nice that he did that. Most players at the end of their careers say “Here’s my uniform,” and then they leave, they walk away with nothing.

So that was a family situation, and I gave them an appraisal for insurance purposes. On Antiques Roadshow, we’re not there to try to get them to sell their stuff or have them go to auction. I ask the people on camera, “So all of this old stuff; do you plan on keeping this? Is this part of your family history here?” If it is, if these are heirlooms, we tell them what we think they should insure it for. I’ve worked with a lot of descendants of players who have material, and they’re usually not interested in selling their family heirlooms, either.

Collectors Weekly: What about game-used uniforms and gloves?

Gutierrez: The home uniforms, which are usually white or off-white, are the most coveted because they have the name of the team on them. The road uniforms are usually gray or a darker color, and they usually have the name of the city that the team is from.

You want to see some wear in a top-of-the-line uniform. On jerseys, you look for signs of sweating. If the player was an outfielder, you look for sliding and all kinds of stuff. Usually, those uniforms have been washed considerably if they’re vintage, which is a good thing. The newer ones are almost impossible to figure out. They ones they sell at the fan stores are essentially the same as those they make for the guys on the teams.

On game-used pieces like bats, you definitely want to see some ball marks. With vintage Spalding and Wilson gloves, you want to see some wear. If it’s in perfect condition, like it came out of the factory, it would probably be worth less. I mean, how could you prove that it was actually used?

Collectors Weekly: Are photographs also collectible?

TedWilliamsJoeDimagTVguide

One clever autograph hound got Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio to sign his copy of a 1950 “TV Guide.”

Gutierrez: Expect to pay a premium for signed original photos. An old AP or UPI wire photo from the ’20s or ’30s signed by Ruth or Gehrig? That’s cool.

Years ago, people used to collect photos from newspapers because they were trying to get whatever they could on a player. Well, the collectors today are too uppity to do something like that. They’ll say, “Well, that’s a really nice Rogers Hornsby-signed newspaper photo, but it is newspaper. I’d rather have an 8-by-10 photograph.”

The condition of the photograph is important. The fewer the creases and imperfections, the more it can be sold for. But the market for original photos isn’t really very big. If something is selling for a few hundred dollars, that’s pretty good. Something selling for a couple thousand dollars is great. There are large-sized cabinet photos from the 19th century and from the early 20th century that have sold for $20,000 to $40,000.

It also makes a difference if the photo is reproduced. If you have a photo of Hank Aaron from 1965 and it’s signed, “To Maribeth, best wishes. Hank Aaron,” a dealer might say, “Nice, but it’s reproduced.”

Collectors Weekly: What are some of the oldest pieces of baseball memorabilia you’ve come across?

Gutierrez: The earliest professional baseball piece that I know of is the 1869 Peck & Snyder baseball card, which highlighted the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. A collector in New Jersey owns the bat Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium when it opened in 1923. In fact, I talked to him this morning. And we at Heritage just sold the earliest known Babe Ruth bat from about 1917 when he was with Boston for $537,000. I thought it was going to sell for $120,000. That’s scary isn’t it?

Collectors Weekly: Do you think the market for baseball collectibles will remain strong?

Gutierrez: There are too many collectors for it to fall apart. That’s not going to happen in my lifetime. But as far as the next generation, it depends on whom they collect, who they want to put money into, and how much they appreciate history. Forget about Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ty Cobb. Everyone is going to know them and respect them forever. But who’s going to carry the torch for Cy Young, Chuck Klein, Al Simmons, or Connie Mack? Who’s going to do that?

(All images in this article courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries)

32 comments so far

  1. Bill Szczepanek Says:

    Very nice interview. Some old, some new and everything in between. The future will be left to those with an interest, but I think that there are many who will carry the torch and write about the players they remember for as long as they are alive to spread the word. However, there aren’t many left who remember the Cy Youngs, etc.

  2. randy Says:

    i have redstocking program dont know what year but nuhxall was pitcher can u help me thank u

  3. Mike Laird Says:

    My father-in -law, attended an exhibition game between the Yankees and Senators in Mobile, Al in 1927 and got a ball autographed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson and the Commissioner of the Southern League, and later we had that ball signed by Joe DiMaggio. What would you guess this is worth and what would be your recommendation as to how to maximize the amount we could receive for this ?

  4. bill monty Says:

    Not so related to this article, but, I have seen a 1986 pennant that has been signed by the 1986 team, and reads Boston Red Sox World Champions.Is this kind of odd, or are there many of these? How would I find out its worth?
    Thanks so much for any help….Bill

  5. Mike Fridgen Says:

    I have an autographed baseball from Hank Aron that was given to me in about 1960 when the Braves were still in milwake. He was in the hospital for some reason & my aunt was a candy striper & got him to sign a ball along with other braves,Wit Wyatt & more. I was wondering what its worth?

  6. chip Says:

    i have a 1952 baseball signed by
    mickey mantle
    john mizie
    phil rizzuto
    bill miller
    gene woodling
    hank bauer
    jim mcdonald
    vic raschi
    gil mcdougald
    phillies
    lou possehi
    stan hollmig
    jim command
    con dempsy
    this ball came from a pre season game(march 23rd). would it still be concidered a rookie year autograph for mantle and what do you think its worth?
    thank you

  7. Carole Kennedy Says:

    I have a bronze statue of Walter Johnson in pitching position…was gift to my father who was professional baseball player. I have been unable to find out anything about it. Are you aware of any similar ones? Thank you.

  8. Charlie Hurth Says:

    Mike,
    My uncle was Charlie Hurth who among other things was the Recruiting Manager for the Mets in their first year. He gave my father his 1949 Southern Association All Stars Team ring. I was wondering what the value might be? More importantly how can I make sure it is offered to some collector who might really appreciate it? I know that my uncles wife was a Rickey ( of Branch Rickey fame).. and that the Southern Association Black Players League has historical significance to the game … maybe this is a museum artifact? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Sincerely,

    Charlie Hurth

  9. Ron Lench Says:

    I have a red Dodgers pocket watch 1 think its from around 50 years if i could get your email adress i can send you a pic of it
    Thankyou

  10. Elizabeth Rambla Says:

    Good Morning;

    My father has an old baseball with original signatures from names such as

    Mark Ohlms, Kenny Greer, ” Filet Marion? and other signatures that I cannot make out. the ball is very old even the information pertaining to the identity of the ball is erased

    Can you tell me what year is it from? and who are the players that signed it? also it is signed by the coach last name Morris? that’s all I can see thank you for your time Elizabeth

  11. Dane Says:

    Just to answer the Mantle question:

    Mantle’s rookie season with the Yankees was 1951, not 1952.

  12. julie bramhall Says:

    I have a baseball signed by rogers hornsby to my grandfather the jack bramhall band circa 1930s what might it be worth?

  13. mike hanley sr. Says:

    Hello.I have a babe ruth ball from family hand me down signed by babe ruth when he was with th 38 dodgers along with names like leo durocher fred frankhhouse,kiki culyer etc etc etc.I have researched the ball extensively and it may be a ball yellowed and patented in 38 for night times games according to cooperstown literature.My exact name was also in the address book of the babe which was on exibition.I,ve known the ball for 60 years.Physically the ball is perfect,some autographs not legible.”I think”, a cousin of mine treated the babe for his throat cancer.Dr Swift Hanley,NY NY.Would you want to estimate a value??????I,m in Brockville Ont Canada.613 342 9159. Thank you!

  14. judy carr Says:

    Hi my name is Judy carr and I have an old Philadelphia philies uniformthat is all wool and was used by my father who played tripl a ball forthe phils. His number on his jersey is the number one and after him itwas Richie ashburns number and retired. It is in ok shape but is alittle stained and tattered. I wanted to know if you would know howmuch this would b worth today. It is an official phillies uniform andI can send some photos if u would like to c them. Thank you. Judycarr. Ps my fathers name is John Werner and he use to b a catcher forrobin Roberts. we also have an old lousville slugger babe ruth bat that he use to use

  15. mike Says:

    How much would a ball signed by jackie robinson when he was a rookie be worth?

  16. bob doherty Says:

    I have the original autographs of the entire 1950 Boston Braves team and the 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers team, including Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese. Warren Spahn, Bob Elliot, Tommy Holmes etc.. I got these autographs when I rode the train to New York and were written on the back of the trains dinner menu. I would like to know if they are worth much today

  17. BF Sites Says:

    I have a baseball from a local estate auction labeled “African depot baseball championships 1943″. It has two brigider General signature which are faded some what. Where or who might help me authenicate this item and it’s history.

  18. jim hanson Says:

    JUST STUMBLED UPON YOUR WEB PAGE….REALLY COOL. I AM 78 NOW…SIGNED WITH THE PIRATES IN 51….BOUNCED AROUND IN THE MINORS FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS…SEEN MOST ALL THE LITTLE PODUNK TOWNS ACROSS THE COUNTRY….NO FREEWAYS BACK THEN YA KNOW….NOW LIVING IN HI DESERT IN CALIFORNIA…. I BEGAN COLLECTING OLD BALL GLOVES IN 1982…I HAVE A SET OF BROOKLYN DODGERS GLOVES FROM THE 1941 TEAM….ONE PLAYER FOR EACH POSITION PLUS SEVERAL PITCHERS….ABOUT 14 IN ALL……NONE OF WHICH HAVE BEEN AUTOGRAPHED…SIMPLY THE PLAYERS NAME STAMPED IN LEATHER….ABOUT 6 OR SO ARE CONSIDERED RARE….JUST WONDERIN’ IF ANYONE OUT THERE IN THE BASEBALL WORLD WOULD BE INTERESTED IN BUYING THEM…..THANK YOU….JIM HANSON….baseballjim33@yahoo.com

  19. Heath Hazlett Says:

    My father has two unused Cleveland Indians tickets from the 1948 World Series along with a penent. Both are in mint condition how do I find the value so that he can sell. Thank you Heath

  20. R. C. Ramer Says:

    I have a 1946 Cardinals National League Series team signed ball that includes many prominant names ie, Stan Musial, Joe Garagiola, Al Brazle, Nippy Jones, Eddie Dyer, Manager, Johnny Bucha, George “Red” Munger, et al, also signed by Ford Frickie. It is in good not great shape. My mother was a waitress in St. Petersburg, FL back in the 40′s & 50′s and got this at that time.
    I would like to know what the value of this ball might be. I would like to sell it to someone that it might mean something too. Can you point me in the direction I need to go to accomplish this?

  21. isaac eskinazi Says:

    I have flash card of Ruth and Gerhig in street clothes. Ruth playing sax.
    and Gerhig holding his ears. July 11 1927. the underwood news photo archive.
    published by FPI. Printed by Rapoport printing corp.

    .

  22. G Burtt Says:

    My best friend and I went to the 4th game of the 2004 ALCS game between the Red Sox and the Yankees at Fenway. David Ortiz hit the game winning home run in extra innings to start one of the greatest comebacks in basball history. I caught the home run ball. I am curious to know how much the ball is worth and how I can prove that it is indeed the ball that I say it is. Thank you. Any help would be great.

  23. Mike Gutierrez Says:

    Hello Greg – That ball you have is quite intriguing and can sell for a good value if all the documentation is right. I agree with you that it is one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history, adding that the Red Sox had not won a world series in 80 plus years. Do you have your ticket stub or anything else from the game? Was there anyone from the Red Sox organization that assisted you? Can you be seen on a replay video clip that can verify you as the one who caught the ball? Were you ever interviewed by the press or anyone else? I know, a lot of questions here, but what I’m trying to do is help you start a file of documentation that would answer all of a potential buyers questions. These are the questions they and/or any auction house will ask. How do we know for certain that you are the one with this historic home run ball. I certainly look forward to hearing from you! This is, potentially, a real prize. Off hand, without knowing any of your answers, I would guess this could get $20,000+, at auction.

  24. Mike Guttierrez Says:

    @isaac – I am familiar with that photo. It is actually quite common. Sells in the $75-$100 area.

  25. Mike Guttierrez Says:

    @RC – A 1946 Cardinals ball is pretty good, but condition is the key to a good value. In fair to good condition it might only bring in the $300-$500 range. Email me at mikeg@ha.com for a selling reference.

  26. Mike Guttierrez Says:

    @Heath – Unused tickets are pretty scarce. I wouldn’t be surprised if those brought $300 each. The pennant – about $100-$200, all of these depending on the condition, of course.

  27. Mike Guttierrez Says:

    @Jim – Good to hear from an old ballplayer! Yes, Jim, there are avid collectors of gloves. The best guy out there is Joe Phillips in Dallas. Email me at: mikeg@ha.com for his contact.

  28. Mike Gutierrez Says:

    @BF – I would reccomend you email quality photos of each of the signatures to Sandra Palomino at sandrap@ha.com. I’m sure she can be of assistance.

  29. Mike Gutierrez Says:

    @Bob – autographs from that era are good! The Dodger signatures are really in demand, mostly because of Jackie & Campy. Team sheets of the Ddogers could sell in the $700+ range, $150-$250 for the Braves.

  30. Mike Gutierrez Says:

    @Mike – I assume this is on a team ball, right? At one time these were really in demand but interest is now mild. In average condition, about $1000-$2000. More in high condition meaning very dark signatures.

  31. Raymond Gutierrez Says:

    On April 9th of 1965 my dad and a cousin took me to the Pre Season Series opening ceremonies of the Astrodome in Houston, Tx. It was a game between the newly named Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. What I remember most is the standing room only crowd because it was kind of scary at the age of 14. Then Mantle hit that home run! The place went nuts and I just got more scared. Anyway, I bought both team pennants and the souvenir program which I still have today. Condition is quite good considering age and I was wondering if some collector out there might be interested in buying this assemblage. Any idea how I could direct myself and who could help me put a price?

  32. Mike Gutierrez Says:

    Hello Raymond! Hope you enjoyed the experience looking back at the pre-season game! The Astrsos pennant would be worth less than $85; the Yankees pennant, if it has the team photo attached, under $300. Here is who I would reccomend: http://www.pennantking.com/baseball/baseball1.htm. Good luck.


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