This extraordinary Lou Gehrig single-signed ball is new to the hobby and has been in our consignor's family since the day it was signed in 1934. Gehrig's signature is beautifully scripted in black fountain pen on the sweet spot of a Peerless "Minor League" ball. Graded EX-MT+ 6.5 by PSA/DNA (signature graded 7, ball graded 6, for a final grade of 6.5). While all grading is subjective, it appears that PSA/DNA was extremely conservative in assessing the signature, as it literally jumps off the cream-colored surface. The ball displays minor surface wear, but all of the manufacturer's stampings remain bold and bright. As one can plainly see in the photos we have provided, this ball displays at a much higher level than its technical grade, and is easily one of the finest Lou Gehrig single-signed balls we have ever offered. What makes it especially appealing is the fact that Gehrig has signed the ball on the sweet spot. Gehrig, like most Yankees players at the time, normally signed his name on a side panel when autographing a ball (the sweet spot was always reserved for Ruth). As such, Gehrig single-signed balls such as this are the exception rather than the rule and have always been highly prized. As nearly all collectors are aware, Gehrig single-signed balls, in any form, are exceedingly rare and far scarcer than Ruth singles. High-grade examples such as this, featuring a sweet-spot signature, are rarer still, and are absent in even the most advanced collections. As a point of reference, the only other Gehrig single-signed ball graded 6.5 by PSA/DNA that we could find at public auction, also signed on the sweet spot, sold for $44,400 in 2008.
As noted earlier, this ball has never before been offered for sale, publicly or privately. For the past seventy-nine years it has remained a treasured heirloom of our consignors' family. According to our consignors (a sister and two brothers), this ball was originally obtained by their great uncle in 1934 as a present for their father, who was six years old at the time. Family lore has it that the uncle, who drove his mother back and forth from Florida (where she lived in the winter) to New Jersey each year, specifically attended a Yankees game (most likely in spring training) in order to get this ball signed by Gehrig for his nephew. He did so because his nephew's favorite player at the time was Gehrig, not Ruth. That fact might not be as surprising as it sounds. 1934 was the year in which Gehrig finally stepped out of an aging Babe Ruth's shadow by winning baseball's coveted Triple Crown. Gehrig's league-high marks for batting average (.363), home runs (49), and RBI (165), also earned him the MVP Award at season's end. Their father obviously treasured this ball, given its outstanding state of preservation (he kept in in a drawer), and his children have been equally attentive caretakers until this time. This is a remarkable Gehrig ball in all respects and one that has the added extraordinary appeal of having original-family provenance and being entirely new to the hobby. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the family. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $142,200.00
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