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7 intriguing lots in Lelands’ Classic Auction

The objects featured in Leland's Classic Auction

I’m continually amazed by the variety of U.S. history represented among sports memorabilia offered at auction. I was reminded of this over and over again as I reviewed the objects featured in Leland’s current Classic Auction. The sale, which closes March 23, contains 1,250 lots, including many items that speak to moments/people/places in U.S. history.

Below are seven lots I believe represent that fact and are items I find to be fascinating. However, to get the full experience, your best bet is visiting for yourself.

Leland's Auction

Leland's. (All photos

Lot 589 is a cool example of a moment in history involving many history-making players. It is a program from the opening weekend of the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in 1939. As impressive as that is, the 10 signatures on the cover of the program — all in black fountain ink — takes it to another level of obscurity, and therefore, a rarity. Ten of the 11 Hall of Fame inductees signed the program, including Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, George Sisler, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Larry Lajoie. The only Hall of Famer not represented is Eddie Collins. The lot entered the auction with a starting bid of $10,000 and at present has more than doubled that amount.

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The story of this replacement silver medal from the 1960 Olympic Games is almost as intriguing as the medal and the games themselves. Isaac Berger earned the medal in weightlifting. Upon receiving the medal, Berger gave it to his mother for safekeeping. Later Berger’s mother gave the medal and another that he won during the 1964 Olympics to her other son, but both medals were stolen and never recovered. The medal presented at the auction is the replacement of that 1960 medal, which was one of three medals Berger won during the games.

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I’ll admit it; I’m a fan of antique and vintage sporting pennants. There is just something about pennants that make me smile whenever I see one. In Leland’s March 23 auction there are five lots of pennants, including this uncommon 1913 Cravats Felt example showcasing Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson. This item is one of only a few known to exist. The current bid, as of March 14, is $302.

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I’m not sure if the bright and bold colors on this set of 99 NBA basketball ball stars of the 1969/70 season caught my eye first or the description of the set as being the ‘Complete 1969 Tall Boy Set.’ Among the stars featured in this set are Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich, and John Havlicek, among others. The photos are an excellent depiction of some of the stars of the hardwood, and the presentation has a great vintage appearance.

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Lot #721 is a fascinating item of baseball memorabilia. It is one of only two original hot dog vendor baskets from the 1940s. The wicker basket contains stainless steel inserts with space for hot dogs and buns. The current bid as of $2,300.

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An early example of tobacco advertising displays appears in this auction in the 1911 Turkish Trophies multi-product display. The item promoted Turkish and Helmar cigarettes and one of the earliest trading card redemption program, where collectors could receive a leather card of Rube Marquard, a T3 card of Cy Young and an S81 silk card of Joe Tinker.

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A nod to American horse-racing history is this trophy from the Queens Steeple Chase of July 4, 1922, held at Belmont Park. The trophy measures 11 inches tall.

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