Private collections go public for charity

MEMORABILIA NOTEBOOK

April 25, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Aaron Young is an art dealer. He's also a baseball card collector.

To assemble the extraordinary collection of sports memorabilia on display today (noon to 5 p.m.) at the downtown Hyatt Regency, he wore both hats.

As exhibit curator, he contacted collectors from around the country, Notebook

including Barry Halper, and asked if they would lend material to benefit the Grant-A-Wish Foundation; he then selected the best items and put them on display.

"We couldn't think of a way to raise money faster than an exhibit of sports memorabilia," Young says.

He says most collectors rarely put their collections on display, but "I was able to get people to part with these things." On display, privacy is protected, and ownership is not divulged.

Twenty collectors donated more than 500 items, most of which had never been on public display. Included are a golf bag that belonged to Bobby Jones, bats, autographed baseballs, the last jerseys worn by Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb, a postcard of Terrapin Park, a Honus Wagner card, programs, tickets and baseball cards.

In selecting and displaying items for the exhibit, as well as in collecting, Young says he draws on his art background.

"I've approached being a hobbyist with baseball cards using the same mentality that I've used in my art business," he says.

"I was offered 10 different Brooklyn Dodger baseballs," he says, and selected the best for the exhibit. He also was offered several jerseys, but chose the last ones worn because of their condition and significance.

He spent about 200 hours choosing items for display and adding the little touches, such as baseball cards to go with contracts or a photo with a letter from Bronko Nagurski.

The focus of Young's personal collection is pre-World War II base ball cards, "when the cards were artwork."

If this exhibit gives people thoughts of upgrading their collections or makes them wonder if they could ever hope to own items of such quality, Young has advice.

He suggests people concentrate on older material, pre-1964.

"I tell people very simply to buy fewer, buy better," he says. "That is how you build a great collection.

"That's the same thing I tell my art customers. . . . Buy something that you really care about."

Collecting in the food aisle

Collectors with a sweet tooth can satisfy two cravings at once, thanks to Hostess. Its newest product, a snack cake in the shape of a baseball, comes with cards. There are 32 cards in two series. The first series is out now, and the second will be available in June. Hostess Baseballs come in a two-pack with three cards or an eight-pack with six cards.

A golden Cobb

Megacards has a bonus for collectors who purchase its 65 packs of storage pages at Toys 'R Us: a gold-foil-bordered card of Ty Cobb sliding under third baseman Jimmy Austin, a #F reproduction of a 1909 photo by Charles Conlon.

Fashion black

Insert alert: Among the 22 American League luminaries on ToppsBlackGold cards in Series II baseball are Brady Anderson, Mike Devereaux, Cecil Fielder, Dennis Eckersley, Frank Thomas and Roger Clemens.

Debut photos

Chicago photographer Michael Gustafson was in the air again on Opening Day, this time shooting the home debuts of the expansion Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. Numbered lithographs ($25) and signed versions ($35) will be produced. Shipping for the 19x25 photos is $4.50. Orders are being taken at (800) 554-0153.

Start dealing

Front Row is offering collectors 18 and under an opportunity to sell

its product through its junior dealer program. Participants receive a card-selling guide and special posters and cards. Minimum purchase is $19.95. For an application, write to Front Row, Inc., Route 407, Box 187, Fleetville, Pa. 18420. Parents with questions can call (717) 945-5059 ext. 266 and ask for Bill Kolb.

Coming events

Through Oct. 31, exhibit "The Babe, The Birds and Baltimore: An All-Star Tradition" and an exhibit on Rex Barney's 50-year sports career, with memorabilia from his Brooklyn Dodgers days, Babe Ruth Museum, (410) 727-1539.

Today, baseball memorabilia exhibit to benefit the Grant-A-Wish Foundation, Hyatt Regency (300 Light St.), noon to 5 p.m., (410) 242-1549.

Today, card show (expected signer is Curt Blefary), Earleigh Heights Fire Hall (161 Ritchie Highway), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday-July 11, "The Artist and the Baseball Card," Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, (302) 571-9590.

Saturday-Sunday, card show and auction to benefit Essex Community College (expected signers include Leo Gomez, Tom Matte, Bruce Laird and Larry Stewart), Essex CC Fieldhouse, May 1 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 2 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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