A Night at the Auction

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A Night at the Auction

Postby BretMan » August 21st, 2007, 3:03 am

I picked up a half-dozen old gloves tonight- and I have "our fearless leader" VintageBrett to thank for it! As it turned out, these gloves were nothing special enough to write home about, but the story is special enough to write about here.

Last week Brett L. was kind enough to send me an email giving me a heads-up on an auction he had found out about on the internet. Knowing that I'm from Ohio, he had forwarded to me information about an auction that listed "old ball gloves" in the sale and just happened to be in Ohio.

As luck would have it, the auction was just less than an hour from my house and not four hours across the state.

Getting there was an adventure in itself. I'm a city-boy and this auction was off the beaten path. Armed with a printout from MapQuest and a vague idea of where I was heading, I left early so to have a chance to check out the items before the auction began.

What is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? I thought that I was leaving with plenty of time to spare, but finally found the sale with only minutes to spare!

Just as I was about to leave the house, the skies darkened. Flipping on The Weather Channel, I found that a tornado warning had been issued in my area and the brunt of the storm was between me and my destination. But what dedicated glover would let a little thing like a tornado stop him from his search for old gloves?

What little bit of "city driving" my route would cover was disrupted by a power outage disabling trafiic lights for miles. So I sat and waited...and waited...and waited...

Most of the route was two-lane country road. But the small portion covering modern highway was brought to a standstill by orange barrels and major construction. So I waited some more...

My "just under an hour" commute turned into a nearly two-hour trip. But if old gloves are at stake it is worth it! I reached the little auction house with minutes to spare and found the gloves.

A quick glance through the box brought a tinge of disappointment. No Ruths or Gehrigs in the bunch, but old glove nonetheless.

And there was something else to be found there- several hundred old comic books. I collected them as a kid- still have them all- and while I haven't bought any in ages I'm still familiar with the market. Usually, you can expect to find nothing but junk at such sales. But this collection was different.

Peppered throughout the stacks were dozens of highly collectible comics! Books that would easily sell for $50, $75 or even $100 apiece. If no one else there was familiar with comic books, I was sitting on a virtual goldmine!

Finally the sale began. This auction had a great assortment of collectibles, from the comics to baseball cards to coins to Coca-Cola items. And, of course, baseball gloves.

The comics came up about an hour into the sale. Unfortunately for me, there were a couple of guys there that knew what they were. The books were broken up into about 20 lots of 25 comics each. The 20 lots sold for a total of about $700, bringing in by far more than any other items in the auction.

A tough break, but the gloves were still to be had. And I only had to wait two more hours before they eventually were offered up for auction.

Finally- the gloves! There were six gloves in the box and they were sold at "buyers choice". One price and you could have as many of them as you wanted at that price.

The auctioneer started the biding at $10 each. No takers. He went to $5. Still no takers. $3- nothing. At $2 my hand shot up. Not one other bidder was interested. $2 going once...going twice...SOLD!

Naturally, I took them all. For a grand total of $12 here's what I got:

- The only lefty in the bunch, a J.C. Higgins #150 Billy Pierce.

- A 1940's split-finger softball glove (I assume, from the stitched pocket) whose maker should be definite once I scrape the crud off of it.

- A J.C. Higgins split-finger, two tunnel webs with one of the tunnels missing and some unusual stampings not yet readable.

- A MacGregor G130 Gil McDougald split-finger "Junior Model".

- A Winfield F60 50's model that looks pretty nice and is fairly big- and has a VINYL lining!

- Another Winfield, F33 split-finger with vertical tunnel web and another VINYL lining! This glove looks cool, but is definitely a youth- heck, make that toddler- model as it is just a touch smaller than my actual hand!

I forgot to mention- these gloves, while being basically whole and undamaged, are hard as rocks, flattened out, covered with dirt and, the kicker, apparently infested with spiders!

While I was showing them to my wife after I got home, several tiny ones crawled out. You can probably image about how well that went over...

I would have to guess that these spent the last fifty years in a barn or outdoor shed. No doubt they can be brought back to life- I've restored worse before. Maybe some "before" and "after" pictures will be in order.

Brett, thank you again for the tip. While a rare find may have eluded me, I can't think of a better way to spend a Monday night!
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Postby wareagle34 » August 21st, 2007, 7:31 am

Aw, the good ol' days. Great story!

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Postby vintagebrett » August 21st, 2007, 7:55 am

Sounds like a lot of fun even if the gloves weren't super special.

I love going to auctions but usually the gloves are left until the end and you can get them for a song - that's if you don't mind waiting around for 5 hours or so. :)
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