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Effect of Pen Marks on Shoebox Full of 1960s Baseball Cards

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
June 15, 2005

Dear Babe: I've just run across a long-forgotten shoebox full of baseball cards from the early '60s and would appreciate your opinion on the value of a few of them: 1962 Topps Ernie Banks (No.380), 1959 Banks (10), 1966 Bill Singer/Don Sutton rookie card (288) and 1960 John Roseboro (363). There are many more, including Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Mickey Mantle. There are well over 100 cards. Some of the cards have a small pen mark in the upper left hand corner that will decrease the value, but others are in excellent condition.
Nancy Johnson, McCloud

Your best bet is to pick up a copy of a baseball Beckett monthly price guide. Check out the page that explains how to use the guide and how to grade your cards. You can also check out eBay auctions, especially completed ones to see what cards are selling for. Those ink marks will knock the value down to less than half "mint" value for just about every card and even more for others. As for the cards you've listed - keeping in mind that the card is from the one after the last year of stats on the back. Here are values from Beckett and Tuff Stuff: 1959 (actually 1960) Banks - $50, 1962 Banks (actually 1963) - $90-$100, 1966 Sutton - $45-$60, and 1960 (actually 1961) Roseboro - $5-$6 common.

Dear Babe: My grandfather was an umpire in the 1920s and 1930s for college and semi-pro leagues, including the U.S. Naval Academy. Major League teams would play at Annapolis on their barnstorming tours. My grandfather obtained the autographs of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Grover Cleveland Alexander on the same ball. I'm not sure of the manufacturer of the baseball. It is probably a 1920s era college ball. It is slightly yellowed. The Alexander autograph is pretty faded, but Ruth and Gehrig are still clear. Ruth is on the "sweet spot." The other two are on the side panels.
Bobby Foster, Cambridge, Md.

Even though it's a multi-signed ball, it's still going to be worth $4,000-$7,000, said Mike Gutierrez, owner of MGAuction.net in Arizona, and Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York. Ruth and Gehrig signatures are on the rise. The yellowing and the fact that it is not an official ball hurts. Much of the value will also depend on how the signatures of Ruth or Gehrig display, i.e., does it look like a single-signed ball.

Dear Babe: I have always known that in 1934, my father, his brother and some friends drove from here in Akron, Ohio, to Detroit for Game 7 of the World Series between the Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Just last year, my cousin found a perfect unused ticket for that game. Someone from the group must have not made the trip.
Bob Russell, Akron, Ohio

Whoever stayed home missed one of the most famous moments in World Series history. With the visiting Cardinals routing the Tigers, Joe Medwick slid hard into third baseman Marv Owen in the sixth inning. A brief wrestling match ensured. When Medwick trotted out to his spot in left field in the bottom of the inning with the Cardinals comfortably ahead 9-0, he was pelted with soda bottles, food and garbage. In the end, he was called over to the box of Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis. After a brief chat, Landis ordered Medwick out of the game for his own safety, so the Series could be finished in peace. The Cardinals added a couple of more runs en route to an 11-0 win to clinch the title. MastroNet.net auctions in Chicago sold a full ticket from that memorable Game 7 in its December auction for $874.

Dear Babe: I have a wallet-sized sports schedule card with Rocky Marciano's autograph on the back.
Matt Engel, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

It sounds as if you got this autograph yourself, so we don't have to worry about it being ghost signed in response to a mailed request. Rocky Marciano would often sign just "Rocky," which would, of course, affect the value, said Jim Stinson of Stinsonsports.com in Miami. A full Marciano signature such as this one is worth $125, Stinson said.

Dear Babe: I have two original wooden bullpen folding chairs that were removed for the renovation of Yankee Stadium in 1973. They were manufactured by the Snyder Chair Company. They have "Property of N.Y. Yankees" stenciled on the bottom of the seat.
Jim Hyde, Vero Beach, Fla.

Unfortunately, there's nothing to identify these seats that easily since the stenciling is underneath. They're probably worth $300-$500 each, said Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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