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1912 Boston Red Sox World Championship Sterling Silver Cigarette Case
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $14,220.00
Extremely rare, most likely unique, Boston Red Sox sterling silver cigarette case commemorating the club's 1912 World Championship season. This piece is new to the modern collecting world and was only just recently discovered by a gentleman who deals primarily in vintage cigarette cases. This happened to be in a collection of antique cigarette cases he purchased. When he brought it to us, we were struck by the fact that the design of the medallion on the front of the case is nearly identical to that featured on the rare 1912 Boston Red Sox World Championship fob that we sold in our May 2012 auction (Lot 999; sold for $38,513). The main differences are the composition of the metal (the fob was 14K gold, this piece is not; it appears to be silver), and a slight design variation (the fob had a diamond mounted above the crossed bats, this piece has a metal baseball in its place). Interestingly, the metal ball that sits on this medallion is similar to that featured on the fob (it was used as the bridge between the fob and the ring). The reason why we have never seen this piece before, and why it may be unique, is probably related to the fact that it was not issued by the team in exactly this form. The medallion was almost certainly created specially for the recipient, and the medallion was then attached to the cigarette case by custom order. (In fact, over the years we have seen other players who received fobs do exactly the same thing.)
The 1912 Boston Red Sox World Championship fobs were produced by Joyce & Gendreau, which is still in business today (one can see a picture of the 1912 World Championship fob, along with a brief history of it, on the company's website (http://www.joycejlrs.com/html/our_history.htm). According to the website, Frank A. Gendreau, who was a watchmaker by trade, was a big sports fan (most likely a member of the Royal Rooters) and it was because of his close association with many of the Red Sox players that he was commissioned to create this beautiful medal. While we cannot state with certainty, it seems highly probable that if a player or team executive did not want a fob, Gendreau would have been more than happy to supply the medallion part of the fob for whatever purpose they wished. In this case it was for display on an exquisitely designed silver cigarette case. The case is marked "Sterling Silver" on the interior and the hallmark (the design of which is a heart containing the engraved notation "M&H Co") indicates that it was produced by the Wightman & Hough Company of Providence, Rhode Island. The initials "MK" are ornately engraved on the front lid. There was only one player on the 1912 Boston Red Sox with those initials: reserve infielder Marty Krug. 1912 marked Krug's first season in the Majors and his only season with the Red Sox. After his brief stint with Boston he remained in the minors for another nine seasons before returning to the Major Leagues for one final year with the Cubs in 1922. While we will probably never know with 100% certainty, Krug appears to be the player for whom this piece was made. The ambiguity of the "MK" initials of its former owner notwithstanding, this remains an extraordinary new discovery and one that would certainly be a highlight of any early Boston Red Sox or World Series collection. The hinged case (3.75 x 3 inches) displays normal handling wear commensurate with its age and former use, including a few light scratches throughout. In Excellent to Mint condition overall. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $14,220.00
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