Kings' McNall putting on regal auction that features Ruth's cane, shotgun, jersey

October 06, 1991|By Ruth Sadler

Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall caused a sensatio last March when he and NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky paid a record $451,000 for a Honus Wagner card at Sotheby's auction of sports memorabilia.

Next week, McNall, a longtime coin dealer, will hold a sports memorabilia auction in California through his Superior Galleries.

"Had I known the energy and interest generated from the purchase of one beautiful T206 Honus Wagner card, I would have taken a closer look at this hobby long ago," McNall said.

The Superior Galleries auction contains 714 lots.

Among the items available are three that belonged to Babe Ruth and were once displayed at the Babe Ruth Museum -- his "snake cane" ($10,000-$12,000 estimated price), the shotgun his first wife gave him ($12,000-$15,000) and a baseball jersey he wore at St. Mary's Industrial School ($35,000-$50,000). These items were given by Ruth's widow, Claire, to Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and his wife, who sold them to Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown.

Other baseball items of note are a typed letter from Jackie Robinson to a fan in 1960 on racism, Mickey Mantle's 1956 World Series ring (bidding will begin at $285,000), Casey Stengel's 1949 World Series ring ($25,000-$35,000) and Lou Gehrig's 1934 MVP trophy ($75,000-$90,000).

In keeping with the auction's title ("Heroes and Legends of Sports"), memorabilia of some of the world's most famous athletes are represented. There's Joe Louis' 1937 heavyweight championship belt (bidding will begin at $100,000). Collectors can bid on a near-mint candy card of golfer Bobby Jones, a jersey Gordie Howe wore in his second NHL season ($20,000- $35,000) and baseballs autographed by Jack Dempsey, Red Grange, George Halas, Bronko Nagursky and Woody Hayes.

Among the off-beat items available are a floorboard from The Great Western Forum signed by the Los Angeles Lakers' starting five of 1989 and a post protector used in the 1991 NBA Finals and autographed by the Lakers.

There are also lots of trading cards. There is a complete set of RTC C56 hockey cards, believed to be the first hockey cards, including Lester Patrick and Art Ross. It is graded excellent. There are 1957-58 Topps and 1961-62 Fleer NBA sets, both graded near-mint to mint. There is a 1950 Bowman NFL set, graded near-mint plus with two Sammy Baugh cards. There is also a 1952 Topps baseball set described as the "finest ever auctioned" and graded overall mint ($125,000-$135,000). A 1952 Topps set auctioned at Sotheby's and graded near-mint to mint realized $75,900.

In addition to the cards, there are a number of card contracts -- among them Mantle's 1951 (rookie) Bowman contract, his 1952 Topps contract, Willie Mays' Bowman 1951, 1954-55 agreements and Frank Robinson's 1955-75 Topps contracts and 1955-60 checks from Topps.

I= For more information on the auction, call (800) 421-0754.

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For collectors who want to give Halloween visitors a baseball-card treat, Leaf Inc. is selling bags of Donruss baseball cards. Each bag contains 22 wax packs. The holiday wax packs consist of three cards and three puzzle pieces each. . . Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken is the cover boy for the December issue of Baseball Cards magazine. Featured are an interview with Ripken on his card-collecting days and a checklist of Ripkeniana by Bill Haelig of Reading, Pa., who compiles and regularly updates his list during and off-season.

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O-Pee-Chee's 1991-92 NHL cards will be shipped to dealers in mid-November. The set contains 528 cards. There will also be two subsets available only in wax packs: 56 cards featuring stars of three Soviet teams and 10 cards of San Jose Sharks players not in the regular set. O-Pee-Chee expects to ship factory sets in December. . . . Upper Deck is again planning to issue a French edition of NHL cards for sale in Canada. The 500-card set, in packs of 12 and 17, will be sold mostly in Quebec but will be available throughout Canada.

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Upcoming events:

Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Today, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Sunday, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Oct. 19, baseball card show, White Marsh Mall, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., 879-4651.

Oct. 20, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall, Sykesville (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Nov. 3, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Nov. 3, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nov. 9, baseball card show, Sheraton-BWI, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (717) 285-4550.

Nov. 17, baseball card show, Dundalk Community College, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 285-6980.

Nov. 23-24, Cal Ripken Jr. Winterfest for Literacy '91, baseball card-memorabilia-autograph show, Festival Hall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 254-2729.

Nov. 30, baseball card show, English Consul Volunteer Fire Hall

(I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Dec. 1, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dec. 3, sports memorabilia auction, Pimlico Hotel, 771-9000.

Dec. 8, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695, Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

Dec. 14, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.

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