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1967 H&B Advertising Poster with Mantle, Clemente, Maris, Aaron, and Many Others
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $4,406
This exceedingly rare retail store display poster (we have never before even seen another example showcases the H&B line of Little League bats for the 1967 season and features endorsements from nineteen of the game's top stars: Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Roger Maris, Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Brooks Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Joe Torre, Tony Oliva, Pete Rose, Rocky Colavito, Ken Harrelson, Rusty Staub, Tim McCarver, Jim Fregosi, and Willie Horton. All of the players are pictured along the bottom, while examples of the various Louisville Slugger Little League bats for sale are pictured above. Both Pete Rose and Tim McCarver have signed the poster in blue ink atop their respective images (grading "9" and "5," respectively). Although the poster bears no year identifier, it can be conclusively dated to the 1967 season because Rocky Colavito is pictured as a member of the Chicago White Sox. (Colavito only played with the White Sox in 1967.) This poster was issued exclusively to participating retailers and was intended for display on store walls in promotion of the company's most recent line of Little League bats. As clearly noted along the top, all of the Louisville Sluggers pictured here are "Approved Little League Bats." Given the "star" power of its endorsers, it's no surprise that Louisville Slugger bats were the bat of choice for nearly every youngster in America at the time. Vintage H&B retail posters are extremely rare and this poster is only the third example (each a different design) that we have ever offered. The first, featuring nine players, sold as Lot 1187 in REA's May 2009 auction and the second, picturing eight players, appeared as Lot 1305 in our May 2010 auction. Both of those posters realized exactly the same final sales price: $7,050. It should be noted that there are numerous H&B "fantasy" retail posters circulating in the marketplace, which might leave some collectors with a distorted notion regarding the availability of such pieces. Original, vintage pieces such as this are virtually nonexistent. The poster (22.5 x 35 inches) displays a number of flaws commensurate with its age and fragile nature (thin paper stock): Located along the right edge are a five-inch diagonal tear (touching upon the illustration of the "Rusty Staub" Little League bat) and an irregular border tear (approximately .75 x 2.5 inches) resulting in paper loss, both of which have been covered with clear tape. A few additional small border tears are evident along the top and bottom, as are staple holes in each corner. A few minor surface abrasions and/or scratches appear throughout. The poster has been laminated to a white cardboard backing (24.5 x 37.25 inches) that now protects it and allows for easy handling and display (it is apparent that that process was executed long ago). Despite the minor flaws, the central image area remains relatively clean and bright, especially the player panel, and the poster displays an overall Excellent appearance. This poster is an exceptional display piece from an era that has very few store-display pieces of this type or caliber, and would be a welcome and significant addition to any world-class advanced baseball advertising and/or bat collection. Please Note: Because the piece is laminated it must be shipped flat. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,406
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