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Four Page Written Account of the 

29th Annual 2008 

National Sports 

Collectors Convention


Carlton Hendricks


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Alright, getting to the National, time to suit up. I can't say I was overly impressed with the material this year, but it was good. It was weak for advertising signs, but strong for figurals. Thanks to Mears there were a lot of great leather football helmets. Straight2.JPG (656919 bytes) I got a chance to examine a Heisman trophy up close thanks to Heritage Gallery. That was interesting. One dealer who hit one out of the park last year with stop you in your tracks baseball, pretty much struck out  this year. The surprise of the show was Mike Brown. I'd seen his name in memorabilia books but had never met him. Apparently he hadn't surfaced in the hobby in quite a while, as I heard more than one "Really? Mike Brown is here?". He brought out a lot of good baseball from of his collection.  Alright, after the National Anthem we'll begin our tour. As always, please know I'm only bringing you the highlights, the featured dealers had much more than I show you.








Jimi Hendrix


Just a few of the things you'll be seeing 

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c1910 FB Helmet, Dave Bushing/MEARS


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c1920's Spalding Trophy, Mike Brown

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c1910 FB Helmet, Dave Bushing/MEARS


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c1920's Spalding Trophy, Mike Brown


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c1890 Mcloughllin Football game, Bryan Dec


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c1910 FB Helmet, Dave Bushing/MEARS


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c1880 John Rogers football statue, Kevin Bronson


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c1910 P. Testi baseball statue,

Hunt Auctions

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c1930 Old Gold Cigarettes tri-fold sign, Hunt Auctions

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c1920 Ty Cobb gloves sign, Rick Giddings



Gary Polwort

Our first booth is that of Gary Polwort of Edwardsville, IL. First mention from Gary's booth was a c1890 "Baseball Game" by  McLoughlin Brothers (open). McLoughlLid.JPG (626742 bytes) It was one of the smaller square versions, with excellent graphics. I liked the word BASEBALL spelled out with little baseballs, 7 1/2" x 7 1/2", $1,200.00. Next up was a vintage St Louis Browns jacket, size 44, $4,500.00. Next, a nice little vintage Illinois porcelain pin with blue and gold  ribbons, 11 1/2", $350.00. 43CardOlJudgeCal.JPG (659015 bytes) Next was a 1943  Old Judge Coffee advertising calendar. It featured a large illustration of a red cardinal, surrounded by a border with small portraits of the 1942 world champion St Louis Cardinals , 30 1/2" tall x 14 3/4" wide, $650.00. Next up was a figural plaster ashtray with the St Louis cardinal mascot, 8" tall, $95.00. Last mention for Gary's booth was a c1955-60   Milwaukee Braves youth size jacket, $100.00.


Blair Jett 

Next up are a few things from the booth of Blair Jett of Baltimore. JLouisGodsSide.JPG (642789 bytes) First up was a WWI army recruitment poster featuring Joe Louis announcing "We're going to do our part...and we'll win because we're on God's side". It was the smaller 25" tall by 18" wide version of this poster, as it also comes in a 41" tall by 27" wide version.  You can read more about this interesting poster in a story I wrote hereNext Blair had some youth size football shoulder pads for $50.00. Next up was a youth size catchers mask, forgot to get price.


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Union Soldiers at Salisbury N.C. print

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Union S @ SNC BB print Lifson.jpg (310222 bytes)

photo credit Robert Edward Auctions

2003 Edition offered by Van Martin of M&M Baseball Cards and collectibles, Charlotte N.C., $350.00

Original 1863 Edition sold in 2005 Robert Edward Auction for $46,400.00



Vann Martin - M&M Baseball Cards and Collectibles

Next was the booth of Vann Martin of M&M Baseball Cards and Collectibles, from  Charlotte, NC.  Vann had a piece I zeroed in on like a heat seeking missile; a 41 1/4" wide by 28 1/2" tall (framed) print titled: "Union Soldiers at Salisbury N. C." ( North Carolina), $350.00. The image is one of the most important baseball art works, originally produced in 1863. There are only an estimated dozen originals. The one Vann had was issued by the Rowan Museum in Salisbury N. C., in 2003, and was offered as a limited edition, though no edition count was given. Nevertheless I found the print particularly interesting seeing it was commissioned in Salisbury, and I'd never heard of the edition before. Robert Edward Auctions sold one in 2005 for $46,400.00.


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Ryan Sims, 

Anaheim Hills CA

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Herbert Thomas lll

Germantown, TN

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Mike Hoevet, 

Ann Arbor, MI



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Paul Montesano, 

Streetsboro, OH

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Mike Brockman, 

Louisville, KY

Rich Gibson - Gibson's Collectibles

Next up was the booth of Rich Gibson of Gibson's Collectibles from Auburn Indiana. RIch had a pair of c1930's baseball catchers shin guards (back) made out of fiber composition for $85.00. I don't recall a pair quite like them. I think the soft padding that connected the knees may have been torn off most examples.



Presented to 

John Kanuit, Jim Griffith, 

and John Orban

(will somebody please beat these guys)

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Jim Griffith left, John Kanuit middle, John Orban right

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John Kanuit, John Orban, and Jim Griffith

Next is the booth everyone's waiting for. That would be the shared booth of John Kanuit from Palos Verdes Estates CA., John Orban from Cleveland Heights OH, and Jim Griffith from Novato CA.  If you've been reading these National stories every year, you know of their prowess. Yes they had the best booth again. John K asked me if he did. I told him he got edged out this year. He wanted to know by who. I told him the  Ladies of the Diamond booth, the little old lady softball gals that set up at shows! There were a few repeats in the booth, but most of it was fresh. John said as much, that he didn't do the usual amount of business before the doors opened, but that the public came thru for him and he had a good show. 


First up from the Kanuitgo booth was a very nice c1930's 15 1/2" long by 13" tall statue of a football carrier being tackled. It was sculpted by renowned sports sculptor Jack Lincoln Lambert, and cast in white metal and had a black patina. Excluding it's black wood base, it measured 8 1/2" tall x 14" long, $2,650.00. Next was a striking yellow c1920's felt pennant for Charles City, featuring an illustration of a girl basketball player, 24", $950.00. Next was a c1930's, 10 1/2" tall by 7 1/4" wide bronze relief plaque of Knute Rockne for $750.00. Apparently I forgot to shoot the Rockne plaque but it can be seen in this photo. You can also see a plaster version in this photo I took in the booth of Frank's Sportiques. DixFBTrophy.JPG (630903 bytes) Next was an impressive c1920's silver plate football trophy featuring a life size football engraved with the following: AWARDED TO DIXIE HIGHWAY GARAGE - WATSEKA  ILLINOIS - IN RECOGNITION OF THEIR SUPERIOR SALES ABILITY - THE INTERNATIONAL STUDEBAKER  GRIDIRON CONTEST - ALL CHICAGO BRANCH TEAM. It was one of the most impressive things at the show, great condition, 11 1/2" Tall by 11" wide, $2,200.00. 


Next up was a tall  c1941-42 silver plate trophy with a basketball player reaching high to block a miniature basketball while standing atop a larger basketball, which it's self was perched atop multiple stacked tiers of two bases. The metal band around the top tier was engraved with the names of the team members, while the metal band around the lower tier was engraved with: MAIN LINE BASKETBALL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 1941-42 - UPPER DARBY. It had the look, and for the price I kept gravitating to it, but it didn't quite reach the gotta-have-it level. It had a tag underneath that said Pearson Sporting Trophies, Philadelphia...(might have been a "goods" under sporting). First Pearson trophy I've ever seen, 24 1/2" tall, $650.00. 


EasternConnBBTr.JPG (623953 bytes) Next up was an exceptional c1922, 18" tall, silver plate, three handled baseball trophy cup. It was engraved: EASTERN CONN. LEAGUE - SEASON 1922 CHAMPIONS. The stem was supported by miniature crossed baseball bats. It was in excellent condition, and a glistening eye catcher, $3,250.00. Next was a c1924 silver plate basketball trophy featuring a life size 16" tall basketball with laces, mounted on a wood base. As these type of life size basketballs trophies go, this was an extra nice one for several reasons; it had a  Spalding logo prominently featured in relief in the front under the laces. Also it was made by Dieges and Clust, which automatically tells you it was made well. And it had a black wood base instead of the more typical bakelite ones. On the front of the wood base was an oval plate that was engraved: CHAMPIONS CALIFORNIA COAST CONFERENCE BASKETBALL 1924-25. As I understood, although it was in Kanuit's booth it actually belonged to Herbert Thomas III. 


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Next was silver plate golf trophy with an exceptional figure of a golfer in knickers. It was engraved on the front: CLYDE MACK TROPHY 1933, 10" tall, $375.00. ChampsPressIndstrialTr.JPG (624991 bytes)Next up was another large and impressive baseball trophy. It was 17 3/4" tall, and designed in a towering three tier style. The main body was a wide cylinder with a dome designed as half a figural baseball. On top the baseball was a figure of a batter. Underneath a small relief of crossed bats and a shield featuring stars and stripes, it was engraved: CHAMPIONSHIP  TROPHY - THE PRESS INDUSTRIAL LEAGUE - 1923. The black bottom base had a plate engraved:  WON BY THE EMPLOYEE TEAM OF THE FRISK AND LINDSAY COMPANY, $2,750.00. Next up was a rowing trophy plaque with a relief of an oarsman in the center holding an oar upright beside him. Below the oarsman was a simulated ribbon that appeared bronze and was engraved: OPEN SINGLES - CRESCENT BOAT CLUB 1909 37TH ANNUAL REGATTA - WON BY (unawarded), 16" tall by 12 1/5" wide, $600.00. 


HuebachPair.JPG (619609 bytes)Next was a pair of  Victorian style bisque statues of baseball players made by Huebach. One was wearing a blue striped uniform with ball in hand, the other a red striped with bat. The bat had been replaced but very nicely done, made of wood with two sets of black painted rings. Being 16" tall (red one) and 15 3/4"  (blue one). I believe they were the largest version of these, and appeared mint, $3,500.00. Next up was a Red Grange football box produced by Wilson, featuring a photo of Grange. It had a serious crease along the right side of the lid, but still better than most examples of this box you see, 13" long by 6 1/4" wide by 3" tall, $1,250.00. Next was another life size figural basketball trophy. This one was engraved: FAIRFAX COUNTY BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP - 1932-33, 16" tall by 9" wide, $395.00. Next up was a striking c1920's 14" silver plate baseball trophy with a 10" figure of a player reaching high for a catch. It was engraved: CHAMPIONSHIP INTRA-MURAL BASEBALL. The trophy was unusual in that the bases were designed in a marked art deco style, particularly the one the player stood on. Veteran collector Mike Hoevet of Ann Arbor Michigan deftly snapped it up for his collection,  $650.00. 


Next up we take a look at some of the bats. I'm only listing the ones I was sure weren't from last year; scanned at a rapid pace that is. First up was one marked Fungo, 35", $550.00. Next was one marked A.J. Reach Co. Deluxe, 33 3/4", $650.00. Next up was one marked  Giants - Special, in an exceptional Victorian style script, 34", $500.00. Next, a Hillrich and Bradsby Co. bottle style, 33 3/4", $850.00. Last up from the bats was an unusual c1880 ring bat, in that it had a series of five rings in the center of varying width, with a bold 2 1/2" one at the top, with the maker in the center, of which I could only make out the word MODEL because of wear, 34 1/2", $750.00, bargain of the group I thought. 


Next up was a c1930's orange colored pseudo friction football jersey. Pseudo because the friction strips were added recently John K said, $500.00. Next was a pair of c1910 football shoes with the rectangle stacked leather cleats, a bit worn but in  classic brown, $450.00. There was another black pair of early football shoes in mint condition, forgot to record price. Last mention for the KanuitGO booth was an interesting pyro-engraved wood picture frame with "Cornell" at the top, above a pennant with 05' on it. On the right was a union suited football player. On the left was  a list of scores of games against opposing schools for 1901. At the bottom were illustrations of various sports equipment. Apparently produced for a class of 1905 student. I believe it was the first example of it, and best example of pyro-art I've seen, 15" tall by 13 3/4" wide, $450.00.


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Chris Galbreath, Mike Sanders, Bob Long, and Herbert Thomas III


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John Ross

Next we come to National regular, John Ross of Harrisburg PA. SpaldingTr.JPG (654116 bytes) First up from John's booth was a fielders Spalding trophy, 15 3/4" tall, $4,000.00.This one and the one with the baseman reaching low for a catch are the two most classic of the Spalding trophies for their bold figures of the players. Next up was a signed c1910 European spelter statue, probably French, of a rugby player standing with ball in hand, 18 3/4" tall, $1,000.00. Coincidently, I had never seen this statue before, until just a few days earlier when I saw an example in David Perry's collection. We'll be touring Dave's whole collection latter. TennisGalPillow.JPG (794728 bytes) Next up was a c1900 cloth pillow cover featuring a litho of a young Victorian lady sitting on a fence holding a tennis racket, 21 1/2" tall by 17 1/2" wide, $525.00. It was one of the best of the tennis pillow covers I've seen. 


Next up was an unusual print of some kind I'd never seen before. It featured a large illustration of a c1925 Notre Dame football ball carrier with a game in progress set in a circle behind him, and flanked by cheer leaders. Above him were the words RAH RAH RAH, and below him NOTRE DAME , along with floral arrangements at both top corners, 18" wide by 17" tall, $850.00. A nice find for the serious Notre Dame collector. 


Next, were three c1910 individually framed prints of young collegian ladies by F. Earl Christy. One was a golfer 16" tall by 9" wide, $200.00. The other two each featured well dressed young ladies waiving college pennants, each measured 14" tall by 8 1/2" wide, and each were priced at $125.00. One had a red and white pennant with a C, the other waived a red and blue one with a P. Christy was one of the most prolific illustrators of the late nineteenth-early twentieth century and did a lot of college girl and sports illustrations for magazines, postcards, and sports themed porcelain, including plates and mugs. I have some small plates with football players on them he did.


Next up in the Ross booth was a tall 21 3/4" tall baseball trophy. I speculate it was about c1925, and was engraved: WRIGHT AND DITSON TROPHY - CHAMPIONSHIP - ROYAL ARCANUM - WON BY - MAPLEWOOD COUNCIL, $450.00. The "Wright and Ditson" engraved at the top made it very nice. Next up was an undated baseball game broadside / poster which I speculate to be c1930. The teams announced were the Federal League All Stars vs. Indianapolis Cardinals. I can not find anything on google about these two teams. Somehow it seems like it may have been Negro league poster, 22" wide by 14" tall, $950.00. OldGoldFB.JPG (660266 bytes) Next was a large 50 1/2" tall by 37 1/2" wide c1920's Old Gold Cigarettes advertising sign featuring a helmet less football ball carrier. John Buonaguidi had one of these and claimed it was Red Grange, but I've never thought it resembled him, forgot to get price. Next was a nice little Harvard football player doll. I say football based on the quilted pants and turtle neck sweater but there wasn't a football to prove it. 6" tall, $400.00. Probably German. Next up was a Red Grange doll which had the original ball that said "Red Grange 77" on it, 18" tall, $2,500.00. There is another Red Grange doll you see now and then in the $2,000.00  range, but I don't recall this seeing this one before. Having the original ball, and all in such nice condition, $2,500.00 may have been a bargain. FBNoseGuardRotated.jpg (278760 bytes) Next up was a c1890 Morrill's rubber football nose guard, $500.00.  It had a scull and cross bones and  the name Pal Moore crudely engraved into it which made it extra neat. Next up was a cool straight razor with Babe Ruth engraved in it, $650.00. Last mention for the Ross booth was a c1920 cast iron football kicker toy that had excellent condition original red and gold paint, plus what was most likely the original ball attached to a string, 8" tall, $375.00. Interestingly I got an email from Jon English of Tennessee, who saw it in my 08' National photo pages. Jon said he has one in the box and will send photos sometime. I have two, one all rusty that was my first sports toy, that I gave $150.00 for about twenty years ago. Then I got one with paint at some point, that can be seen in this photo of my games, in the bottom right of the case.


Booth Of Kirk Kovacs

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Lou Scalia

Next was the booth of Lou Scalia of Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Lou had one of the large Kessler Whiskey baseball player statues made of fiberglass, 47" tall, $500.00. Jerry Katz had an Antiques Bourbon football player statue of the same genera I bought at the show, seen here


Booth Of Bryan Dec

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Bryan Dec Vintage Sports

Next was the booth of the prolific Bryan Dec Vintage Sports from Lapeer Michigan. Bryan is another National regular who  deals in quality vintage and antique material. First up in Bryan's booth was the most ground shaking thing I saw at the show. A very rare football board game made by McLoughlin Brothers titled Parlor Foot Ball - A New Game, copyrighted 1891. I say ground shaking because it was the first and only example of this game I've seen. 19 1/16" wide by 10 3/8" tall, $2,900.00. 


Off hand I'd say Mcloughlin produced about four versions of football board games before 1900, each with varying dimensions. They all looked very similar since the same basic illustration was used on all them, except the illustration was reformatted to fit the design and dimensions of the cover. I recall ones titled: "Boys Own", "Parlor", and "Yale Princeton".  The Yale Princeton is the most desirable and sought after of all them.


And now there's this new entry that Bryan showed up with! This is what's so exciting about sports antiques and collecting... seeing something you've never seen before. I was shocked by it. My focus was on gathering a good story and photographing everything, so when I saw this I had to tear myself away mentally to focus and comprehend what I was wasn't just another great piece at the show, it was the best piece at the show.


When I first saw it I immediately recognized the football game illustration on the cover.  That's why I was so stunned; it's English! McLoughlin, the American board game company located in New York City. Mcloughlin, the king of board game makers, issued a football board game with an English scene. It's non sense but it's true, you see the photo! With all the American illustrators there were in 1891 who could have produced a red blooded American football scene, McLoughlin chose an English born and bred scene of a rugby game. I know I know...but they did! I saw it with my own eyes, I held it in my hand!


I'm familiar with the illustration many years, and have a sketchy understanding of it. Now and then it surfaces as a 24" wide by 16 1/2" tall chromolithograph art print. I recall Tony Bussineau had one in rough condition at last years 2007 National for $200.00. Mastro Auctions also had one in their last auction on June 9, 2008 that sold  for $225.00. 


Although the ones I've seen have an American flag in the background, it is not American. Every time I see one I think....yup, there's another one'a them great looking fake American football prints! And I suppose because of that I've never bought one. I do admit though it is handsome. Without thoroughly researching it, here's the scoop on them as far as I know.


The illustration is based on a painting by W.H. Overend (born 1851) of a rugby match between England and Scotland in 1889. A few years later in 1893 a chromolithograph print based on it was produced here in the United States by the New York City lithographic firm of Sarony, Major & Knapp, (or a variation of one or more of it's principles). I'm not sure the exact dynamics of how it all went down, but one story is that an artist named Albert Morgan, copied Overend's work and produced the American flag version, of which I would guess Sarony, Major & Knapp probably commissioned to use for their chromolithograph. Like I said, I'm a little sketchy, but this is my basic take on it without going into deep research, impractical this venue.


But getting back to the Mcloughlin game. It's what I would call an advanced piece for the advanced collector. If you wanted a classic example of a Mcloughlin football game, this wouldn't be it. However, if you were a serious collector of Victorian sports board games ("Victorian" is loosely but widely used to describe the McLoughlin graphics style), that say, already has one or two versions of the McLoughlin football gosh you-have-arrived, you've hit the million dollar baby! And I wouldn't be surprised if that game, in that condition, sells for over $1,000,000.00 at some point...serious as a heart attack....That is if two bidders recognized it as an extremely rare version of the finest football board games extant.


One last aspect of this game before you nod off....there is a possibility the game was intended for the English market, but I would say only a slight one. What we here in the United States call soccer, the English call "foot-ball", or "association foot-ball". And they called their rugby, "rugby". That being the case, if McLaughlin meant the game for the English market, it seems they would have titled the game "Rugby" not "Foot-Ball". End of play by play.


Next up in Bryan's arsenal was another Mcloughlin game, the "Game of Base-Ball" copyright 1886, 17 1/4" wide  by 9 1/2" long, $4,200.00. 


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