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Exceptional Collection of Three Circa 1930 Val Picinich Catcher's Mitts (Picinich Estate)
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $3,231
When we were first shown these three gloves by Val Picinich's granddaughter she commented that according to family history her grandfather designed them. After an examination of the gloves, we believe she is correct. One of the gloves offered here appears to be Picinich's game-used glove and the other two are Val Picinich store-model gloves that copy the precise design of his "gamer." The first glove features the Spalding name, logo, and model number ("221-90010") stamped in silver at the top of the pocket, and has the words "Professional Model" stamped under the pocket. A Spalding label appears on the reverse of the glove, as does the stamping "Custom Built - Hand Tailored Padding." This was most likely a glove worn by Picinich during the late 1920s, that, as the markings denote, was custom made for Picinich to his specifications. The glove displays only light use and is in Excellent to Mint condition. The second example is a Val Picinich "signature model" glove that was produced according to the specifications of his "gamer." The glove is identical in size, shape, and design to the first glove, with the exception of a slight variation to the rear wrist strap. The notations "VP" (Val Picinich), "Spalding," "Professional," and "Permawear Leather" are stamped in silver at the top of the pocket, as is the Spalding logo. Val Picinich's endorsement, in the form of his stamped facsimile signature, appears along the base of the pocket. A Spalding label is located on the reverse. The glove is in Mint condition, displaying no use, and all of the leather and lacing remain soft and supple. This is one of the finest prewar store-model gloves we have ever seen and one that would most assuredly be one of the highlights of any vintage store-model glove collection. The third glove in the collection is also a store-model example, but it differs slightly from the first with regard to the stampings on the front, all of which are in black. Picinich's facsimile signature still appears under the pocket, but the stampings above it read "Spalding - Professional - Pat'd No. 808980." The Spalding logo is stamped directly below the notations. A Spalding label is situated on the reverse. The glove displays light wear, including a few minor stains on the front and reverse. In Very Good to Excellent condition. The glove remains housed in its original retail box (10.75 x 11 x 4 inches). The display box has a few moderate stains and a torn side panel (Gd/Vg). Picinich enjoyed his greatest success during the late 1920s (his .302 batting average in 1928 with Cincinnati was the second highest average for any starting catcher, in either league, that season); therefore these endorsed gloves most likely date from the latter portion of his career (he played from 1916 to 1933). Vintage gloves of this age and quality rarely surface. That fact, combined with their fascinating provenance, make this an exceptional find and one of the most unusual groupings of early baseball gloves we have ever offered. Included is a vintage 1920s/early 1930s official National League (Heydler) ball (Good condition) that is ideal for display with one of the gloves. Total: 3 gloves and a ball. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $3,231
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