Eddie Gaedel, the first (and only) midget to play Major League Baseball.
Making general statements when it comes to collecting and investing in vintage sports memorabilia can be a little tricky at times. However, an almost sure-fire way to make sure you’re buying top-notch collectibles that will command about as much investment potential as an ounce of gold has, at least in recent years, is an item representing a “first” of pretty much any significant event in the sporting world.
Whether it’s a star player’s first game ticket, a rookie jersey or even a scorecard from a unique game, such as when famed baseball “Little Man” Eddie Gaedel took the field for the St. Louis Browns, “firsts” definitely rank near the top of the list in hobby categories. To help demonstrate this theory, Heritage Auction Galleries took a look through its Auction Archives database and searched for the key word: “first,” which turned up some intriguing results, including the following:
1947 Jackie Robinson’s First Major League Game Ticket Stub
• 1947 Jackie Robinson’s First Major League Game Ticket Stub: Arguably the most significant ticket stub in the entire baseball collectibles hobby, this historic voucher realized $11,352 in Heritage’s 2009 October Signature Auction. Most of these cardboard treasures were tossed away by attendees of the game, but fortunately for the winning bidder, this example remained unharmed after all these years and displays splendidly.
1929 Green Bay Packers Team Signed Panoramic Photograph from Team’s First Championship Season
• 1929 Green Bay Packers Team Signed Panoramic Photograph from Team’s First Championship Season: The first championship of the Green Bay Packers’ storied history is represented on this team-signed panoramic image from the 1929 season. Without question, the highest quality of its kind, this crystal clear photo was signed by multiple Hall of Famers, including Curly Lambeau, Cal Hubbard and Mike Michalske. This Canton-caliber piece set a record for the highest-selling signed football photo ever at a staggering $15,535 in Heritage’s 2010 April Signature Auction.
1924-25 Boston Bruins Game Worn Sweater from First NHL Season
• 1924-25 Boston Bruins Game Worn Sweater from First NHL Season: This jersey was purchased by an extremely alert game-used hockey guru using Heritage’s “Post-Auction Buy” feature for $27,000. There’s no question that the Boston Bruins are one of the NHL’s most historic franchises, and a sweater from the league’s first season is without question one of the most important auction offerings ever to hit the block.
1934 First Masters Tournament Official Program
• 1934 First Masters Tournament Official Program: While golf’s most prestigious “Major” tournament has a very devoted collector base, even the most serious Master’s enthusiasts have probably never even seen a program from the 1934 inaugural event. This stunning specimen sold for a little more than $5,000 in Heritage’s 2009 October Signature Auction.
1979 Wayne Gretzky’s First NHL Game Used Puck
• 1979 Wayne Gretzky’s First NHL Game Used Puck: This piece originated from the Mush March Collection, and while utilizing that rock-solid provenance, we were able to determine that this puck was used in Wayne Gretzky’s first ever NHL contest. Selling at $2,390 in Heritage’s October 2009 Signature Auction, this piece possesses loads of investment potential and would fit nicely in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The above list is just a small sampling of “First” pieces that are so coveted in the sports memorabilia hobby. So it’s probably a safe bet to keep your ticket stubs and programs. You never know when you’ll have a “first” in your possession.
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