1912 Boston Red Sox World's Championship Watch Fob Presented to Olaf Henriksen - Direct Family Provenance!

Sold For: $30,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 11

Item Year: 1912

Category: Featured

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Extremely rare and significant World Series watch fob issued to outfielder Olaf Henriksen of the Boston Red Sox in commemoration of the club's 1912 World Championship season. It should be noted that in the early 1900s Major League clubs did not issue World Series rings (that tradition did not become common until the 1920s). Instead, other pieces of jewelry were issued, including fobs. The Red Sox presented every member of the 1912 club with a World's Championship fob, with each fob bearing the respective player's name beautifully engraved on the reverse. Therefore, this is literally the equivalent of a World Series ring for Boston Red Sox players in 1912. The 14K gold medal, with scalloped edges and red enamel trim, features two figural crossed bats set upon a baseball diamond motif that includes the year, "1912." A single one-carat diamond bezel is set in the center. "Boston Red Sox Baseball Club - World's Champions" is lettered in gold within the red enamel border. A small figural baseball is attached to the medal at the top, which in turn is attached to a small ring to allow for its attachment to a watch fob. The engraving on the reverse reads: "Presented to Oluf [sic] Henriksen/by/Boston American/B.B. Club." Below that is the engraved name of the jeweler "Frank A. Gendreau" and the designation "14KT."

This is a particularly rare World Series award and one of only a few known 1912 Boston Red Sox World Championship watch fobs. We have seen only three other examples of this particular award over the years, including Joe Wood's 1912 Championship fob that was sold by the Wood family many years ago. Another example, issued to Clyde Engel, appeared as Lot 999 in REA's May 2012 auction, where it realized $38,513. The offered fob comes with the impeccable provenance of having been consigned directly by Henriksen's granddaughter, in whose possession it has been for the past many decades. It has never been offered either publicly or privately prior to this auction.

Interestingly, the jewelry company (Joyce & Gendreau) that made this medal is still in business today, and one can see a picture of a different example (only the front is shown; we believe it is the Joe Wood example), along with a brief history of the 1912 Red Sox World's Championship award, on its 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.

Olaf Henriksen, who was in just his second Major League season in 1912, played a pivotal role in the 1912 fall classic. Henriksen had just one at bat in the Series, but what an at bat it was. In the seventh inning of the eighth and deciding game of the Series in Boston (game two ended in a tie, necessitating a Game 8), with men on first and second, two out, and the Red Sox trailing 1-0, Henriksen was called upon to pinch hit for starting pitcher Hugh Bedient. Facing him on the mound was none other than Giants ace Christy Mathewson, who had been brilliant in shutting out the Red Sox until that point. Despite the pressure, Henriksen later stated that "I was certain - cocksure - that I could beat Matty." With the coolness and confidence of a seasoned veteran, Henriksen laced a two-strike curve ball down the third-base line for a game-tying double. The game remained tied 1-1 after nine, with the Red Sox ultimately winning the game 3-2 in ten innings.

This is one of probably fewer than five 1912 World Series medals known, one of which resides in the Massachusetts Historical Society. As stated earlier, it has been in the possession of the Henriksen family since the day it was issued. The fact that the medal (1.25 inches in diameter) has virtually not seen the light of day for decades no doubt has contributed to its survival in spectacular Mint condition today. This is an extremely attractive and rare World Series presentation piece commemorating the first of Boston's four World Championships during the decade. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open).

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