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1884 David Orr New York Giants Presentation Watch (Ex-Halper)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,406
Elegant coin-silver watch, manufactured by the Hampton Watch Company presented in 1884 to American Association batting champion Dave Orr by his New York Metropolitan teammates. The front of the hinged case features an engraved floral pattern, while the back cover displays an intricately engraved image of a uniformed ballplayer throwing a ball (the "M" displayed on the front of the jersey stands for "Metropolitans"). Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this watch is that the engraved player image on the case does not appear to be generic, but is that of Dave Orr. The resemblance is so remarkable in fact that it leaves little room for coincidence, making this one of the most unique nineteenth-century baseball presentation pieces we have ever come across. The watch's provenance is made explicit in the form of a small handwritten card, scripted in vintage black fountain pen, that is housed within the back cover and reads "Presented to David Orr from the boys - October 19, 1884." This piece also has the singular distinction of having resided for many years in the prestigious Barry Halper Collection. The watch was eventually sold in 1999, along with the majority of Barry Halper's vast collection, at a special auction held in New York City, where at the time it realized a final sale price of $2,587 (Lot 258). Dave Orr was one of the greatest hitters of his era, and if not for a tragic health condition, he would almost certainly be in the Hall of Fame today. Orr batted a League-high .354 in 1884, which was his first full season in the Majors. Those numbers helped lead the Metropolitans to the pennant, which also earned them the right to take part in baseball's first World Series against the National League Champion Providence Grays (the Mets were swept 3-0 in the Series). In eight seasons Orr never batted below .300 and in 1886 became the first player in history to collect 300 total bases in a single season. In 1890, playing for Brooklyn of the Player's League, Orr was enjoying the finest season of his career when he suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed on his left side. The illness ended his career and he retired with a .342 average and a .502 lifetime slugging percentage. The white enamel dial has roman numerals and subsidiary seconds, and both the dial and movement are signed. There are some cracks and chips to the dial and the watch would benefit from a cleaning. In Excellent condition. This is an extremely substantial, extraordinary and unique display item and nineteenth-century presentation piece. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $4,406
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