Mathewson ball highlights huge Historic Auctions sale

When CEO Brad Wells and president James Brown started conducting Historic Auctions two years ago, the plan was to host three sales a year and build up a quality consignor base, while providing the best customer service possible to ensure future growth. Mission accomplished.

Historic Auctions final sale of the year is 1,600 lots strong and provides a wide array of items consisting of everything from vintage sports memorabilia to an expanded selection of collectibles from the world of music and entertainment.

“This is going to be our largest auction we’ve done,” Wells said. “In the past, we’ve typically done around 1,000 lots, so this is considerably bigger. This auction is headlined by a single-signed Christy Mathewson ball. Now I’m biased, but I would definitely say this is the nicest one of the small handful of them that have been found. This piece would probably grade real close to a 9, solid 8 signature, which would be about twice the quality of some of the other ones

The well-preserved Mathewson ball (A.G. Spalding and Bros.) was used in the game in which Mathewson recorded his career-best 17th consecutive win in 1916, with Mathewson’s signature appearing in black fountain ink and showing only minor degrees of fading and minimal scratching on its surface. Additional notations includes “17 Wins In-A-Row (Giants 3 May 29, 1916 Braves 0) Winner Mathewson” and is accompanied by an Ultimate James Spence Letter of Authenticity.
Wells believes the ball will sell somewhere in the $250,000 range, which would establish a new high mark for a single-signed or team ball.

Other featured items include an Eddie Collins side-written bat (1911-16), which was found in the Louisville Slugger plant; a Mickey Mantle game-used bat graded a 10 by MEARS and PSA; a single-signed Ty Cobb ball (signed in green ink); a game-used Roger Clemens (rookie era, 1984-86) glove; and a rare single-signed Honus Wagner ball among many others.

“We have a lot of vintage baseball stuff that we haven’t had in the past, seldom-seen little trinkets and stuff like that, but obviously our focus is on this bigger stuff because not only is it bigger stuff, it’s items that have never been seen or sold before, so that makes it pretty nice,” Wells added.

From the entertainment world comes a full, four-page letter from singer Janis Joplin which was written on July 7, 1965, when Joplin was still a teenager. The letter is to her then-boyfriend Peter and is expected to fetch $10,000-$12,000.

For more information on items consigned to the current sale or information regarding future sales, go to, call (888) 955-2211 or e-mail

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