Friday, May 01, 2009

REA: The Barry Halper Collection Items

The REA auction catalog continues to impress me with its content. It even includes numerous items that once belonged to collector Barry Halper- who was considered to have, at one time, the greatest private personal Baseball collection in the country before his passing. This post only includes items that once belonged in his collection.

Below is probably one of the main prizes in his vast hoard. It is the extremely rare T206 Sherry Magie error card. This sounds far fetched, but apparently he kept this card in a secret compartment.
Barry kept this card, along with examples of the T206 Wagner, the T206 Plank, and the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card in a secret compartment hidden in a wall, which would magically open when one of his guests uttered the password.
It seems too crazy to be true.

In 1884 they didn't hand out trophies for winning the batting title. Instead, awards were typically given out by teammates for extraordinary accomplishments. Below is a 1884 presentation watch given to David Orr by members of his team- the New York Metropolitans. David had won the batting title that year in the American Association with an average of .354. By the way, 1884 was the year of the first World Series as the Mets lost to the Providence Grays in three straight games.

Barry Halper had an eclectic collection, from rare cards to game-used uniforms. He also collected player endorsed products. Below is a 1954 Stan Musial Rawlings glove box signed by "The Man" himself.

Below is a Princeton Baseball jacket attributed to Moe Berg. Some of you may know him as the Baseball spy.
Moe Berg was one of the most interesting figures in the history of baseball. Berg was a journeyman Major League catcher who played a total of fifteen seasons between the years 1923 and 1939, but it is not his baseball career that has intrigued present-day historians. Unbeknownst to all at the time, Berg was also working as a spy for the U.S. Government and was later recruited by the OSS, the forerunner to today's CIA. After his playing career, Berg traveled throughout Europe gathering information on Germany's nuclear capabilities. Following World War II he worked briefly for he CIA in an attempt to obtain Soviet atomic information. Always mysterious in his actions, the last two decades of his life were spent as a nomad.
He is known to have travelled to Japan during numerous "Tour of Japan" Baseball outings with camera in hand to film Japanese industrial facilities prior to WWII.

All game-used jerseys of the Yankees from 1927 that still survive today came directly from Barry Halper.
Many years ago Halper purchased a Yankees equipment trunk of uniforms containing a Lou Gehrig jersey, as well as jerseys of Dutch Ruether, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, Waite Hoyt, this Wilcy Moore uniform, and a couple of others, directly from the Yankees longtime former equipment manager Pete Sheehy. At the time Halper sold a few of the uniforms privately, including the Wilcy Moore, and kept the Gehrig and several others (which were sold in the famous 1999 Halper auction).
This jersey was worn by Wilcy Moore of the 1927 World Champion Yankees. He went 19-7 that year with a league leading ERA of 2.28.

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