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1934-1944 Honus Wagner Pro-Model Coach's Bat (Wagner Family Provenance!)
Starting Bid - $2,500.00 , Sold For - $5,875.00
In our opinion, this is the finest Honus Wagner Coach's bat in existence. Honus Wagner H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers), dating from the 1934-1944 manufacturing period. This bat was issued to Wagner during his coaching tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates (Wagner was Pirates coach from 1933 through 1951) and originates directly from Wagner's granddaughter, Leslie Blair. Our consignor purchased this bat directly from the Christie's sports auction held in New York City on October 17, 1992. That auction featured thirty-two lots from Wagner's estate, all of which were consigned directly by the Wagner family, representing items personally saved by Wagner. At the time of its purchase, this bat was accompanied by an LOA from Blair; however, over the years the letter was lost. Despite that fact, its direct line of provenance is forever preserved by the inclusion of the original Christie's catalog, which features this very bat (the bat can be positively photo matched based upon the surface markings) as Lot 229. The bat displays no use, save for a few surface marks, and all of the manufacturer's stampings, especially Wagner's name, are deep and well defined. This bat was personally brought home from the ballpark by Honus Wagner and put in the closet as a keepsake. Because there is no use, this bat is graded only A7 (as opposed to A10) by MEARS. Coach's bats typically show great use, often leaving them with an unattractive appearance from overuse, as they are utilized in practice day in and day out. This bat did not get the extra three points for use, as it was not used, but in this rare case we believe that an A7 is better than an A10. With a coach's bat, it is a given that the bat was not used in a game. Therefore the ideal coaches bat in our eyes is one with great display value, not an example which is unattractive and worn from overuse as intended. This bat was personally saved by Wagner and preserved by his family specifically because it looks great. For a collector, in light of the fact that a Wagner bat from his playing days is essentially unobtainable and if a perfect documented example were available it would sell for six figures, a coach's bat is not only a more affordable alternative, it might be the only alternative. That being the case, we can think of no more ideal example than one which can with certainty be placed directly in Honus Wagner's hands, originates directly from Wagner's estate, and is in perfect condition. There are no factory records for bats issued to Wagner during his coaching days, but the specifications are consistent with the very few known examples dating from his playing career. Length: 35 inches. Weight: 43.8 ounces. Graded A7 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 2 points for provenance). This is one of only four Honus Wagner pro-model coach's bats listed in the MEARS census. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $5,875.00
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