Here they are, listed by the highest auction prices realized over the past twelve months. It is nice to see that these top cards are spread over the several different series that we’ve been working on.
Rank Amount Series Card # Player Name
1 $315.00 R319 49 Ruth, Babe
2 $305.00 R319 93 Cobb, Ty
3 $302.00 Helmar Die-Cut 14 Clarke, JJ; Young, Cy; Bradley, Bill; Joss, Addie;
Easterly, Ted; Flick, Elmer;
4 $294.00 Helmar Imperial Cabinet 11 Jackson, Joe
5 $286.69 R319 49 Ruth, Babe
6 $281.56 E145 2 Ruth, Babe
7 $277.00 R319 94 Lloyd, Pop
8 $274.00 R319 117 Mantle, Mickey
9 $265.00 R321-Helmar 2 Jackson; Williams; Risberg; McMullen;
10 $257.52 Imperial 18 Wagner, Honus
11 $246.02 E145-Helmar 2 Ruth, Babe
12 $244.27 E145-Helmar 1 Wood, Joe
13 $237.50 Helmar Imperial Cabinet 17 Ruth, Babe
14 $236.46 T206-Helmar 10 Cobb, Ty; Wagner, Honus;
15 $235.50 R319 129 Mantle, Mickey
The portraits below will soon be added to our R319-Helmar series. Schoolboy Rowe is already in the series (card #3) but I couldn’t resist adding this great pose. This is the first time, however, that Rudy York will appear on a Helmar card. He spent 10 of his 13 seasons in Detroit, finishing with 277 home runs in his career.
The Braves, whether they’ve been in Boston, Milwaukee or Atlanta, have usually had great looking uniforms. Today I’ll share with you two new pieces of art that showcase a couple of my favorites.
First off, we have Warren Spahn wearing the familiar “tomahawk” jersey that we all love. This style was introduced for the 1946 season, perhaps in recognition that with WWII now over, it was high time for a bit of enthusiasm and a fresh start. The sad fact that the team had not finished higher than fifth place (and usually much lower) in the previous 11 seasons would factor into the “fresh start” theory. The new uniform was ambitious in both design and execution, rivaling only the famous St. Louis Cardinal graphics. The simple blue chest script (reading “Boston” or “Braves”) was replaced by the three color, stylized “Braves” and the tomahawk graphic added. The new cap and hose redesigns added drama through color. Only the Indian head logo on the left sleeve was kept for continuity, and even that was reversed. In addition, a shimmering silk uniform version was introduced for the new-fangled night games.
Our second painting shows hurler Art Nehf in the Brave’s home uniform used from mid 1915 through 1920. Nehf pitched for the team, usually quite well, from 1915 through part of the 1919 season. This uniform style has an early, simplified version of the Indian head prominently placed over the left breast. The red and white head, encircled by dark blue, must have been quite difficult to make out at any distance. I’m not familiar with many cards from that era showing this uniform, and none in color. As for Nehf, his career spanned 15 years, over which he accumulated a very satisfactory 184-120 record.
It must have seemed that Bobo Newsom pitched forever and with nearly every team. In the minor leagues he donned ten different uniforms over nine seasons. His pitching record in the bushes was 146-112. The majority of his career, of course, was spent in the big leagues. He toiled for all or parts of twenty seasons there, appearing with nine different franchises, compiling a 211-222 record. By my count, that adds up to 357 wins and 334 losses. Just imagine a modern pitcher recording 691 decisions! All told, it took the big 6’3″, 200 pound righthander full twenty-five years to put those numbers together. This art shows Bobo with Detroit, with whom he played for from 1939-41. Those were some of his best seasons, if you overlook 1941’s 12-20 results. I’m also astounded by the sheer number of innings he pitched–5,971!
Del Pratt is another name known to studious baseball fans. He played 13 years in the bigs (1912-24) plus a full 9 years in the minors (1910-11, 1926-32). His big league career average was a solid .292. He played just two years with Detroit at the tail end of his career. He did well in the Motor City, batting .310 and .303 while splitting time between third and the outfield.
This second grouping of new art for the R319-Helmar series is also exciting:
Travis “Stonewall” Jackson has yet to appear in the series, so this portrait is overdue. Of course, Travis is one of those Hall of Famers that tends to get overlooked. He’s shown in his New York Giant uniform, the only big league team that he ever played with. Jackson was a pretty good hitter, batting .291 over the course of his career. It was as a fielder and team leader, though, that held his true value. I find it interesting that he commanded infields that included Bill Terry, Fred Lindstrom, George Kelly, Frank Frisch and Rogers Hornsby, each of which went to the Hall long before Jackson. Yet all these great batsmen depended upon Jackson’s glove and brain on a daily basis. Terry recognized this as much as anyone did, and it was at his prodding that Jackson finally reached the Hall. Welcome to the series, Travis.
Another New York Giant infielder, though of another era, also makes his first appearance in the R319-Helmar series. Davey Williams, an able second baseman from 1949-55, will be a high numbered card. Williams was suggested by longtime hobbyist and author C. Paul Rogers. Williams batted for a high mark of .297 during the storied 1953 season and I’m thrilled to have him join our series.
A new batch of art for our R319-Helmar series has just arrived from Sanjay Verma. Sanjay managed to get the pieces to us just prior to leaving for his exhibition in Greece. His exhibition is a joint effort on behalf of both the Indian and Greece governments. I am certain that he will do well and have a great time.
This week I will preview for you this new art. Today I’ll list some of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger pieces. Both Koufax paintings were commissions and are already spoken for.
I’m a Brooklyn Dodger fan and was glad to add Lefty O’Doul to the mix as a high number. Lefty already appears with the New York Giants as card #11, but his two and a half years with Brooklyn were among his most productive. In 1932, for instance, his .368 batting average led the National League.
It is a special thrill to finally add a Babe Herman card to the series. As a kid I remember reading humorous stories about Babe from a ratty old paperback. He seemed like a genuinely good fellow, more than a bit naive and a truly terrible fielder. Babe could certainly hit, though. He followed up 1929’s batting average of .381 with a .393 mark the following season. Between the two campaigns he had 243 runs batted in. Wow!
Robert Skead, writer and card collector, noticed our R319-Helmar Johnny Vander Meer that is currently on eBay. He’s alerted me to a wonderful article that he’s written about Johnny. It is really well worth the read and if you’ll click on the image of the Vander Meer card below, you’ll be able to read it as well. While you are on Robert’s website, please take a look around at the good work that he’s doing.