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1913 Philadelphia Athletics World Championship Gold Pocket Watch
Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $26,662.50
This extremely rare, possibly unique, 14K gold pocket watch was issued to Philadelphia sportswriter Joseph McCready by the Philadelphia Athletics in commemoration of the club's 1913 World Championship. What makes this watch all the more special is its ornate design, the likes of which we have never seen before. The reverse casing features a high-relief illustration of an elephant (the team's logo) perched atop a ball and crossed-bats design, below which is the team name, "Athletics." A blue-enamel band encircles that design and reads "American Base Ball Club of Philadelphia" in gold letters. (That design is the same as found on both the club's 1911 and 1913 World Series press pin.) Engraved around the perimeter of the rear casing is "To Joseph M. McCready From The American Base Ball Club of Philadelphia 1913." The manufacturer's name, "Waltham Watch Company - Waltham Mass." is engraved along the interior, as are the specifics of the model: "Waltham Colonial 39230 - 14K Fine 585/1000."
It is fascinating to note that this particular watch is not the same style watch given to the Athletics players in 1913. In fact, it is not even manufactured by the same company. The players' watches, of which only a few are known, were produced by the E. Howard Watch Company and were much less elaborate. Specifically, they did not feature the elephant/bat and ball design, or the blue enamel band. They simply had the player's name engraved on one side and "Worlds Champions 1913" on the other. The offered watch is much more ornate and obviously much more expensive to produce. The Waltham Watch Company was one of the finest watch companies in the country at the time, renowned as makers of expensive, highly accurate timepieces.
Because of its exquisite nature, this watch might have been specially produced only for a few high-ranking team executives and VIPs. If so, than Joseph McCready certainly qualified to receive this striking presentation piece. McCready was one of the most highly respected sportswriters in the country at the time and from 1917 through 1924 (the time of his death) he served as secretary for the Base Ball Writers' Association of America. In addition to his lofty status within the fourth estate, McCready also held an even more prominent position with regard to the Athletics: he was one of Connie Mack's intimate friends. This watch (along with a number of other early A's World Series press pins and presentation pieces) has been consigned to the auction directly from the McCready family and has never before been offered for sale, either publicly or privately.
The practice of issuing World Series presentation pieces to players and personnel was the exception rather than the rule prior to the 1920s, with most pieces taking the form of watches, pins, or fobs. (World Series rings did not become the norm until the mid 1920s.) This is one of the most elaborately designed Wold Series presentation pieces of any kind we have seen from the era, and one that also ranks among the most aesthetically pleasing. The watch, which features a standard analog face with separate second hand, is missing the front glass casing (easily replaced). As a result, the facing displays a few minor scratches. General light wear is evident on the casing as well. The watch does not run, but can probably be repaired by a qualified jeweler. In Excellent to Mint condition overall. Together with its original case. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $26,662.50
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