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1939 Baseball Hall of Fame "Opening Day" Commemorative Bat
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $592.50
Extremely rare souvenir bat manufactured by H&B, issued to commemorate the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame on June 12, 1939. Similar in appearance to H&B's World Series black bats, the bat is stamped "Cavalcade of Baseball/Cooperstown N.Y./June 12, 1939" in gilt lettering along the barrel. The gold-painted 1939 Baseball Centennial logo appears between the barrel stamping and center-brand label. These bats were only presented to Hall of Fame officials and dignitaries attending the ceremonies on that day and were not available for purchase. For that reason, they are exceedingly rare. The opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame was the highlight of Major League Baseball's yearlong celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the sport. The festivities that day, referred to as the "Cavalcade of Baseball," included not only the formal dedication of the building but also the induction of the first twenty-six members of the Hall of Fame and an exhibition game between teams made up of Major League stars. Its rarity aside, this bat also has a unique provenance. Our consignor received this bat in 1948 from Leo Bolley, who was a popular sports radio commentator based in Syracuse during the 1930s and 1940s. Bolley attended the 1939 Hall of Fame dedication and received this bat as an honored guest. Nine years later Bolley made a gift of it to our consignor, who was eleven years old at the time. It has remained in our consignor's possession since that day. As one can obviously see, this bat, which is not cracked, was subsequently used by our consignor during his youth. The barrel displays numerous abrasions to the black finish and the handle was once taped (the outline of the spiral pattern is clearly evident). In Good condition overall. Despite the condition flaws, this remains a particularly rare souvenir from that historic day and is only the second example we have ever offered. The first, which was in far superior condition, appeared as Lot 852 in our April 2006 auction, where it realized a final sales price of $1,972. Length: 34 inches. Weight: 34 ounces. Together with a letter of provenance from the consignor. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $592.50
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