SMART COLLECTOR

Player association biggest hit with baseball glove collectors

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 9:56 p.m.
Playing card cowboy boots from the collection of late actress Elizabeth Taylor brought $5,040 when her treasures sold recently at Christie’s New York.
Courtesy of www.christies.com
Playing card cowboy boots from the collection of late actress Elizabeth Taylor brought $5,040 when her treasures sold recently at Christie’s New York.

Q: My Spalding baseball glove is from the early 1950s. There are letters and the name of Joe Crovin or whatever, and the mark 166M. Any info?

A: Joseph Edward Cronin (1906-1984) was a MLB player and manager who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Senators and, primarily, the Boston Red Sox. A seven-time all-star, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956.

Back in the ’50s, every kid on the block had at least one baseball glove, and odds were it was a Spalding. The company has made gloves from the 1880s to today, and there are many, many vintage Spalding gloves out there.

Glove collectors rank desirability by Hall of Fame status (is the player a HOFer?) and whether the glove is pre- or post-WWII. Players whose careers straddled the war may have two different prices. As example, a pre-war Cronin glove, while common, is more desirable than one made after 1945. Same for Joe DiMaggio.

A consultant to sports auction houses and author of several books on collectible game equipment, especially baseball bats and gloves, Dave Bushing told us that player association is the No. 1 factor in value. So a buyer who relates to Cronin is the reader’s selling goal.

We found three vintage Cronin stamped gloves, one identical to the reader’s, on eBay posted for $49.95-$79.95. Completed sales? Zero.

FYI: Bookseller sites carry Bushing’s price guides. Try abebooks.com, biblio.com, or bookfinder.com.

Q: Would like any additional info you can find on the plates pictured.

A: This query arrived with the image of a cranberry transfer plate. With it was a line IDing the plate as Spode, plus a pattern number and “Rust border and Floral center, no trim.” That’s it. Period.

This is a case where The Great Arnet, the clairvoyant, is called for. What exactly does this reader want to know? Is it about finding more plates? Learning the history? Perhaps determining value — or a combination of everything?

We’re still stumped. But we did recognize the image and information as coming from the china, glass and tableware replacement giant replacements.com.

We figure the reader asked the site for ID on the plate, got it (probably from their research department), and learned that they have no inventory on the pattern at this time. It happens. This plate is a very old transfer ware pattern.

Transfers began as an engraved design, often a scenic view printed in blue, green, red and sometimes brown. Applied to a white blank before the final glaze, the image was transferred, hence the name.

Transfer ware reached a peak around Victorian times with blue and white china.

We still don’t know if obtaining or selling is the issue, but for sure the reader hoped we could help.

We are solid on this: When seeking out historic or obscure English china, it’s smart to look for an English seller.

Andrew Pye, owner of Lovers of Blue and White, blueandwhite.com, in Hertfordshire, England, has handled Spode and all kinds of blue and white china for decades. He told us that our reader has the Copeland Spode factory number for the pattern. From that mark we learn that it is on earthenware (the 2) and that it was introduced in 1879. The date and pattern number are in no way identical.

Copeland is William Copeland, who bought the factory from Josiah Spode in 1833. Both names appear on several Spode marks.

The pattern is so rare that Pye told us, “I have never seen this pattern in real life.”

“Relatively few patterns had names, and many went by their numbers,” he added. A pattern name would be printed on the back, with the back stamp.

If the reader wants to buy pieces, Pye needs to see an image or photo of the stamp on the plate back.

FYI: Reach Pye at andrew@blueandwhite.com.

Auction Action: The recent sale of Elizabeth Taylor Treasures at Christie’s New York was a sensation. The final tally: Almost $157 million, including $9.5 million from an online-only sale that included 12 pairs of cowboy boots. Playing card boots labeled “Rio’s of Mercedes 2009″ fashioned of black calfskin leather with hand-cut playing cards, dice on heel counters and card suits on scallops at the tops sold for $5,040. We asked, and a staffer told us they were approximately size 9. Most proceeds went to the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.

Collector Quiz

Q: Which of these popular Depression Glass patterns has NOT been reproduced: Royal Lace, Cherry Blossom, Frances, English Hobnail, Normandie, Sharon, Floral?

A: Frances is the only one. Much has been reproduced. Source: “Mauzy’s Depression Glass: 7th Ed.” by Barbara and Jim Mauzy(Schiffer, $34.99). User friendly, plus info on repros.

Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send e-mail to smartcollector@comcast.netor write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.

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