Christy Mathewson game-used memorabilia is elusive and expensive with the term “museum collection” being very applicable because there’s just one game-used jersey known to be in the hands of a private individual.
And that one gamer, a 1900-04 New York Giants jersey, is headed to the auction block in late August via Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
“This Platinum Night auction will close within weeks of the centennial of Mathewson’s final pitching appearance, the last of a staggering tally of 373 major league victories, third best in baseball history,” reads the auction description. “The Sept. 4, 1916, contest against fellow pitching legend Mordecai Brown would likewise prove to be the last game of Three Fingers’ career. And in that century that has elapsed since that battle of aging titans, only a single example of Mathewson’s game-worn jerseys has surfaced within the collecting community.
“Heritage Auctions is honored and privileged by the opportunity to present that garment.”
The auction house said it has only previously sold five baseball gamers predating 1920. This jersey had the words “New York” removed from the front of the flannel jersey but the dye in the fabric remains left behind all these years later.
According to Heritage, the jersey includes a 1992 letter from Louise Sisk, whose late husband was a first cousin of Mathewson’s mother.
“In the early 1900s Christy Mathewson used to return to Factoryville in the off-season and bring to the children his old uniforms and equipment,” reads the letter. “Christy gave to my husband a New York Giants uniform on one of his first return trips. My husband kept this uniform as well as other equipment in our attic, where it has been for the last 90 years.”
The jersey also has a letter of authenticity from MEARS and a Charles Conlon photo shows match the style if not the jersey itself. (Letter locations appear to be an exact match, though the style was used from 1900 until 1904 when this photo was taken.)
An opening bid price and estimate has not yet been set.
In terms of game-used memorabilia cards, Mathewson has just a dozen stemming from a pair of pants making their way into memorabilia cards from Upper Deck from 2001 to 2007. The most-plentiful cards can still command serious cash for what’s a plain, traditional memorabilia card.
The jersey should see some serious, serious auction among deep-pocketed bidders.
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