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Spectacular New York Yankees "All-Time Greats" Signed Original Artwork
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $19,975.00
Of all the signed pieces in Barry Halper's collection, an inventory that once numbered in the thousands, this piece was always at the top of his list of favorites. This incredible oil on canvas painting, which was specially commissioned by Barry from noted sports artist Robert Simon, pictures twenty-one of the greatest players in Yankees history set against the backdrop of the old Yankee Stadium facade. As impressive as the piece is in terms of visual appeal, the painting takes on legendary status due to the numerous personal inscriptions to Barry that appear upon it. Eleven of the twenty-one players have signed the piece, with all but DiMaggio having included a lengthy inscription commenting on the painting. The signers, along with the text of their inscriptions, are as follows: Mickey Mantle ("Barry - I'm very proud to be in this picture - Mickey Mantle); Whitey Ford ("Barry, you're the greatest - Whitey Ford"); Reggie Jackson ("Barry - It's a great honor to be in this picture. But where would the Babe play? Your friend Reggie Jackson - 'Mr. October.' June 22, 1991."); Ron Guidry ("Barry - Thanks for making me a part of the 'Tradition.' - Ron Guidry"); Tommy Henrich ("What a spot - between Joe and Lou. I have arrived, but can I make this team? Best to Barry - Tom Henrich"); Joe DiMaggio ; Johnny Mize ("Hey Barry - I would love to pinch hit for these guys - Johnny Mize 'The Big Cat.'"); Phil Rizzuto ("Hey Barry - A great honor, but where would I bat. 'Holy Cow' Phil Rizzuto"); Yogi Berra ("To Barry - A great Yankee fan with all great Yankees. Your Pal. Best Wishes. Yogi Berra"); Billy Martin ("To Barry - All great Yankees. The Babe and I, how bout that. Your friend always - Billy Martin"); Don Mattingly ("Barry: I'm proud to be counted with these greats. Your Pal. Don Mattingly"). All of the signatures and inscriptions have been penned in either gold or blue Sharpie and grade "9/10." The painting has been signed and dated ("1988") by the artist in the lower right. The remaining players depicted in the work are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Bill Dickey, Joe McCarthy, Charlie Keller, Lefty Gomez, and Casey Stengel. Of those players, all but Maris had passed away prior to the creation of the painting. This is certainly the ultimate Yankees display piece, and one that is accompanied by the special provenance of having hung directly above Barry Halper's office desk for many years. In an interesting bit of background history, the reason that DiMaggio didn't personalize the piece was not due to his occasional moodiness or his unhappiness with who was chosen to be on this all-time Yankee team but due to Joe's vanity. When DiMaggio was asked to sign this piece he at first refused completely because he didn't think the artist captured him in a flattering light. This, of course, caused quite an unusual situation for Barry. Here he had the great DiMaggio right in the same room with the painting, but he wouldn't sign it! Their friendship being what it was, DiMaggio eventually compromised with Barry and said he would sign it, but he wouldn't inscribe it. In our estimation, that story only adds to the appeal of the piece, as the painting is now associated with another DiMaggio anecdote that adds further insight into his complex personality. The painting measures 48 x 36 inches and has been matted and framed to total dimensions of 54.5 x 42.5 inches. From the Barry Halper Collection. Please Note: due to the size and/or weight of this lot shipping costs (depending on where it is sent and its method of shipping) may be substantial. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open).
Additional images are available at http://photos.yahoo.com/reaphotos. SOLD FOR $19,975.00
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