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Circa 1999 Walter Johnson Bronze Figurine - Direct Johnson Family Provenance!
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $2,963
Exceedingly rare bronze statue of Walter Johnson issued by Southland Plastics, circa 1999. The eight-inch high bronze figure depicts Johnson in a pitching pose and sits upon a two-inch high wood base bearing a metal plaque with Johnson's name engraved upon it. This particular example was formally presented to the Johnson family prior to its issue and has been in the family's possession since that time. It has been directly consigned to the auction by a Johnson family member. This is the first example of this rare statue that we have ever seen and we do not know how many were actually produced at the time. We believe very few. The only information we have is provided by a clipped article that appeared in the February 19, 1999, issue of the Sports Collectors Digest. In part:
Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner are on Southland Plastics' docket. Beginning with Ty Cobb in the summer of 1999, the statues will be produced every four months. The bronze statue will carry a price tag of $750 (100 statues produced), while a plastic statue - limited to 10,000 - will be priced at $79.95.
As noted in the article, Southland Plastics originally intended to produce just 100 bronze statues for each player; however, given the fact that we have never seen even a single other example of any of the five bronze statues mentioned in the article, it is likely that far fewer than 100 were actually produced for each player. It is possible that the sales for the Cobb statue were poor, and the company simply discontinued the production plans entirely, and that only a few final samples were ever made, including presentation examples to the respective player's family. If so, this sample presented to the Johnson family might be unique. Though we may never know the details of why the project apparently never came to fruition, this exceptional presentation bronze remains an extremely substantial and rare artwork commemorating the career of baseball's legendary "Big Train," and one that would complement any advanced Walter Johnson, Washington Senators, or baseball-figural collection. Mint condition. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,963
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