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Lou Gehrig Collection of Photos and Correspondence with Unique Provenance (6)
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $3,231
While Lou Gehrig's baseball career is well documented, much less is known about his personal life. Unlike Ruth, who basked in the limelight and fully embraced his celebrity status, baseball's legendary "Iron Horse" led a much more reserved and quiet existence away from the ballpark. For that reason, collections such as this, which feature never-before-seen candid photos of Gehrig, along with various correspondence, are not only scarce, but also offer unique insight into his private life. Adding to the appeal of this collection is its amazing provenance. Each of the offered items originates from the family of Rosemary Mathews, who was one of Gehrig's steady girlfriends during the mid 1920s, and has been consigned to this auction directly by Mathews' daughter. According to our consignor, Gehrig and her mother dated for a number of years in the 1920s. After the romance ended, they remained friends and Gehrig kept in touch by sending notes and Christmas cards. Unfortunately, her mother only saved a small portion of Gehrig's correspondence over the years, but what remains makes for a most interesting and desirable collection of Gehrig memorabilia. Included are two items with writing in Gehrig's hand, including one initialed "L. G." but no full Gehrig signatures. 1) The most unusual item in the grouping is this novelty mailer sent by Gehrig in 1929 during a stay in Florida (presumably while he was there for spring training). The piece consists of a small leather fish (five inches in length) with an attached mailing tag that is filled out entirely in Gehrig's hand. Gehrig has penned his initials, "L. G.," on the card in black fountain pen (grading "8/9"), along with the name and address of the recipient, "Miss Rose Mathews - Manhassett, L. Is., N.Y." The preprinted portion on the front of the card reads "Greetings From Long Key, Fla." The postmark over the stamp is faded, but the date, "1929," is still clearly visible upon close inspection. Vg. 2-4) Three candid black-and-white photos of Gehrig. The first (4 x 5 inches) pictures Gehrig picking what appear to be grapefruits from a tree (Gd-Vg, with tears along the right border), the second (4.25 x 3.25 inches) captures Gehrig posing with four other unidentified men at the beach (Vg-Ex), while the third depicts him seated against a bridge or balcony railing (Vg, with minor edge tears). 5-6) Two undated Christmas Cards (5 x 4.25 inches and 6.25 x 5.25 inches, respectively), each bearing the preprinted name "Lou Gehrig" on the interior. The larger card is accompanied by its original mailing envelope (postmarked December 21, 1932) addressed to "Miss Rose Mathews - 511 Rahway Ave. - Woodbridge, N.J." The address, scripted in black fountain pen, is entirely in Gehrig's hand. A pencil notation, "Lou Gehrig 1932" (not a signature) also appears on the front of the envelope. Both cards are in Near Mint condition. The envelope has a large tear in the upper right corner and is otherwise in Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $3,231
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