Fan strikes out with Mantle signature
‘I’m a longtime baseball fan,” Dorothy Mahlin admitted to DuMouchelle appraiser Jerry Anderson at a recent Trash or Treasure? appraisal session held at their downtown auction house and art gallery.
“Sometime about 1957, the New York Yankees were in town to play the Tigers, and I was with two women downtown near Cunningham’s Drug Store. I saw a young man standing against a wall. We thought we recognized Al Kaline, so I went up to him, and it turned out to be Mickey Mantle!”
Mahlin and her friend gathered signatures from Mantle and others on a small child’s mitt that was given out as a souvenir at the time. “I used to have one of these,” Anderson told the Tigers’ fan. “It’s definitely from the 1950s.”
Because it was signed in her presence, Anderson didn’t doubt the piece’s authenticity. “Sometimes you can get very good fakes,” he told her. “I’m familiar with his signature and this fits.”
He said the other signatures — Enos Slaughter and John Blanchard — wouldn’t bring a lot. “I looked it up online and didn’t find much of any great value,” he says. “It appears their signatures aren’t particularly collectible.” Even Mantle’s signature didn’t represent big money — at least in this form. “He signed a lot of these,” he told her, which brings down the value. “Now, if you had a signed game ball or the glove he used in a game, that would be a different story.”
Even with multiple signatures, he valued Mahlin’s piece at just $100-$200. “I’d recommend you get it authenticated if you wanted to be sure or if you’re thinking about selling it at psacard.com, but that would cost you about half of what it’s probably worth,” he told the baseball enthusiast.
Either way, he recommended she safeguard it from the sun so that the signatures don’t fade even more than they already have after more than 50 years.
Mahlin said she’s been considering selling it even if it’s not worth the fortune she had hoped for. “When I look at it, I don’t feel any great sentiment,” she told the appraiser. She had hoped to leave it for auction at DuMouchelle’s, but Anderson told her it wouldn’t bring enough to make it worth her while and recommended she consider selling it online or at a sports collectible show.
“I can handle the news that I won’t get rich on it,” Mahlin said. “At least it got me downtown that day.”
Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 615 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to firstname.lastname@example.org. If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Photos cannot be returned.
About this object
Item: Signed child’s baseball mitt
Owner: Dorothy Mahlin, Southfield
Appraised by: Jerry Anderson, DuMouchelle Art Gallery and Auction House, Detroit
Estimated value: $100-$200 at auction