1935 Baseball Cards & Letter
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:27)
APPRAISER: Your father was a baseball fan, I see.
GUEST: He was. He was a big baseball fan. He grew up in New Jersey, just across the river from Yankee Stadium, and used to go to the games all the time. And one of the things he used to do was to write to the players at the hotels that they would stay at when they were on the road. I guess because he figured there was more chance that they'd read the letter and maybe send something back. And sometimes he would include baseball cards with the letters and said sometimes they'd come back and sometimes not. And occasionally he'd ask them to sign the letter or have some members of the team sign the letter. And I remember first looking at these in the 1950s. I was probably eight or nine years old when he showed them to me for the first time, and I've had them now for the last 20 years.
APPRAISER: Uh-huh. I see here's one of those letters. It's to Lou Gehrig. It's dated 1935. And in it, basically, he's a big fan of Lou. He even says he used to be a fan of the Babe, but now Lou's his guy. And who can blame him? Lou led the league in home runs and, you know, he was the big star. 1935 is a pivotal year in Yankee history, because Babe had left, Lou really took over the captaincy of the team and Joe DiMaggio wasn't there yet, so this was really Lou's year. In this letter, your father asks Lou if he wouldn't mind taking this particular letter and bringing it around the clubhouse, having the boys sign it and if he wouldn't mind signing it as well, which he did. Now, I don't know how many ballplayers today would do something like that. Not many. It was a different era. Here we have some of the all-time greats. Tony Lazzeri is right there. Bill Dickey is right here, and, of course, most importantly, Lou Gehrig right there. Now, back in the 1930s, most kids, when getting autographs, would take an autograph book with them, you know, and have the player sign it or send a little piece of paper, have the player sign it. Very few kids were like your dad and decided to send a baseball card. It's very rare to find baseball cards autographed from the 1930s. None are better than Lou Gehrig-- maybe Babe Ruth, but 1935, we're talking about Lou Gehrig. So here we have some 1930s cards, and most importantly, we have Lou right here and Lou right here. And in both cases, Lou signed the cards and he signed them in pencil. Some collectors enjoy it in pen, but it's Lou's signature and that's what counts. And then you have some other greats as well. You also have Tony Lazzeri over here, a very tough autograph. You have Bill Dickey, a Hall-of-Famer, and others. It's a pretty remarkable collection, to be honest with you, and I was really excited to see it. I would estimate this collection in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.
APPRAISER: Yeah. (laughs) It's really exciting to see. Now, there are some condition problems, but luckily the Gehrigs came through okay. You have some punch holes in some of them and that certainly affects the value.
APPRAISER: But all in all, it's pretty spectacular. I'm glad that these survived.
GUEST: His mother threw out his baseball card collection, but the ones that had been signed he had in a separate envelope and they somehow survived.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.