View Full Version : FanFest Appraisal

07-12-2006, 11:12 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/allstar/468x40mastallstar.gif How much is that baseball junk in your closet worth?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

John Beale, Post-Gazette photos
Steve Blassingame of Euclid, Ohio, displays his baseball signed by 14 Hall of Famers from the first All-Star game. He hopes the ball, which he found in his mother's closet, fetches $5,000 to $7,000 at auction.

By Gary Rotstein
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Autograph expert David Hunt studied the faded signatures on the 73-year-old baseball intently and put it back down in its plastic case on the table.
The ball, signed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and a dozen other Hall-of-Famers, had spent years in a bag of nylons in a closet at Steve Blassingame's mother's home in Euclid, Ohio.
"A ball like this in mint condition would be worth $20,000 to $30,000, but it's a rare ball in any condition," autograph expert David Hunt told Mr. Blassingame yesterday, suggesting it might fetch $5,000 to $7,000 at auction.

More Coverage:
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The Blassingame ball was among the unexpected gems brought to the attention of Mr. Hunt, one of the experts offering free appraisals as part of the Major League Baseball FanFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Hunt's company, Hunt Auctions, is running a day-long auction Tuesday of hundreds of items that could attract more than $1 million combined in winning bids. But not everyone was bringing treasure to the Hunt Auctions section of FanFest yesterday.
When James Elias of Du Bois began removing prized possessions from several boxes to show to appraiser Dave Bushing, the poker-faced Mr. Bushing knew just what he was in for: stuff well-suited to a dark corner of a den shelf rather than Cooperstown.
"Look at the mint condition of this -- do you like it? Boy, I'm like a little kid today," the 52-year-old Mr. Elias gushed about his 1975 Pirates yearbook, as Mr. Bushing nodded as politely as he could.
After examining the odd little assortment of books and photos, a personalized letter to Mr. Elias from Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and a book signed with a personal message by former President Jimmy Carter, Mr. Bushing suggested Mr. Elias keep things with personal meaning and visit nearby memorabilia dealers who might offer $25 for his other items. The Carter-signed book might actually be worth a couple of hundred dollars, the appraiser noted, more than the entire box of baseball-related material .
Once Mr. Elias left, thanking him for the advice, Mr. Bushing said, "The hard part is telling people they have nothing, but saying it nicely. ... You see a wide range here, from the stuff that's worth more to the person who owns it than anyone else, to the truly one-of-a-kind stuff."
In the latter category, Andrew Revetta of Monongahela on Friday showed Mr. Hunt 12 colorful, unused pieces of a "Beat 'em Bucs" billboard intended to be used by Iron City Beer in the early 1960s. Placed side by side, the 12 pristine pieces show a 10-by-20-foot team picture of the 1960 World Series champions. Mr. Revetta was able to get Bill Mazeroski's to sign the section with his picture.

http://www.post-gazette.com/images4/20060709jb_fan_appraisePJ02_230.jpg (http://www.post-gazette.com/popup.asp?img=/images4/20060709jb_fan_appraisePJ02_450.jpg)http://www.post-gazette.com/images/blank.gif

David Bushing, who works for an independent authenticity company, examines a baseball autographed by Pirate players from 1970 at the Hunt Auctions booth.
Click photo for larger image.


Mr. Hunt liked the unused billboard so much he accepted it immediately as an add-on to Tuesday's auction, in which his company receives a commission for whatever bid its able to raise on Mr. Revetta's behalf.
Although it's uncertain just who has room to make use of the billboard, Mr. Hunt said, "It should bring at least several thousand dollars. It's perfect for auction, because it's so unusual it could be worth two to three thousand dollars to one person, and five or six thousand to someone else."

Gussing game

The memorabilia business is, at best, a guessing game of values, according to the market's supply and demand, the condition and availability of items, and whom they represent.
For instance, items associated with Barry Bonds' home runs have been plummeting in value, both because of his unpopularity and questions over whether his home-run record was tainted by steroid use. A ball and a bat connected to historic use by Babe Ruth, meanwhile, are each expected to fetch more than $100,000 at Tuesday's auction.
FanFest visitors lacking six-figure bank accounts can take advantage each day of silent auctions for items on which the bidding may not top $100. For today's auction, potential buyers bidding in advance went up to $150 for a pair of Elroy Face black leather cleats and a Pedro Martinez 1999 American League All-Star jersey signed by the pitcher. Bids were just $10 for a Ruth-Gehrig photo and 1960 Pirates pennant.
Much of the memorabilia people brought with them from basements and dens yesterday was, as would be expected, Pirates-related. And most had no intention of selling it, but just wanted to know its potential value and be assured it was authentic.
Dale Deabenderfer, 50, of Indiana, Pa., brought baseballs signed by Pirates teams of 1967, 1970 and 1971. He wanted to be sure he had authentic balls, especially for Roberto Clemente's signature, which is what makes them most valuable.
"That's a good Clemente. See how flowery that signature is?" Mr. Bushing noted for him, though Mr. Hunt came along and pointed out that manager Danny Murtaugh's name appeared to have been signed by a clubhouse employee, which was not unusual. Mr. Hunt had to tell someone the day before that their Brooklyn Dodgers ball's value was diminished by hundreds of dollars because the signatures of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Carl Erskine were all faked by the team's equipment manager.
Larry Bunevich, 46, of Scott needed no one to verify his Clemente autograph. He obtained it himself, on a photo of Clemente in 1972 when the Pirates star was making a guest appearance at an Oldsmobile dealership in Washington, Pa. Mr. Bunevich had a separate photo that included the back of his 12-year-old, blond-haired head as he stood beside the seated Clemente, doing the signing.
Mr. Bunevich was told his signed Clemente photo would be valued in the $1,500-$2,000 range. He appreciated the information, which was also taken in by the 12-year-old boy beside him, who had reason to be interested.
"That'll be yours someday, Dan," Mr. Bunevich told his son, who might be more likely to part with the photo than his father. After all, Mr. Bunevich explained, "He really doesn't know much about Clemente."
Correction/Clarification: (Published July 10, 2006) Andrew Revetta's name was misspelled in this story as originally published on July 9, 2006 about fans bringing baseball memorabilia to the Major League Baseball FanFest for appraisal. Mr. Revetta is from Monongahela.

07-12-2006, 01:47 PM
I have not seen the ball in person in the opening of the article Eric posted, but I will pay $5000 - $7000 for it from just the picture. I do not know what they were using to guess that price.

07-12-2006, 03:06 PM
Hunt Auctions had the 1st floor back corner with a dozen huge glass display cases at Fanfest in which they had auction items from their current catalog.

The Hunt booth was very impressive in an overall lackluster Fanfest compared to the Boston and Chicago Fanfests in recent years.

When I saw Bushing and Hunt in the middle of their space, nothing much was going on. Part of the problem was, the Security guards wouldn't let you bring in bats so you were limited to jerseys, photos, balls, etc.