Treasure: Winning seasons bring more money

Khristi Zimmeth
The Detroit News

The Detroit Tigers’ current season may be disappointing, but Tigers collectibles are perennial winners. That’s the overall message that DuMouchelles’ appraiser Jim Flannery shared with Bob Pearce and others who brought their treasures to a recent appraisal session held at the downtown gallery and auction house.

Robert Pearce holds his 1955 Detroit Tigers autographed baseball at DuMochelles Art Galleries in Detroit.

 “I believe that this is a 1955 autographed baseball,” Pearce wrote in an email to the column asking for help with his heirloom. He gave background in the email as well. “I acquired it in probably 1955 or 1956 while at a baseball game at Briggs Stadium with my father and another gentleman named Randy Hollinger who I believe was briefly in a major league club’s farm system. I believe he may have been a pitcher? Hollinger knew a number of the Tigers and was able to acquire the ball back in the dressing room. I would have been 9 or 10 years old at the time and have had the ball ever since.”

Flannery took a closer look at the ball and pointed out Al Kaline, Bill Tuttle, manager Bucky Harris, Ray Boone, Charlie Maxwell and Jim Bunning. “Some of the names on the ball are Hall of Famers, which is always good,” he told Pearce.

That was the good news. Then came the bad.

“Unfortunately, the Tigers were only slightly above 500 in 1955,” the appraiser pointed out. And while vintage Tigers memorabilia is a good bet and generally goes up in value, especially as it gets scarcer, winning seasons typically bring bigger money. “The larger values are in the years the team did really well, namely 1968 and 1984, when they won the World Series,” Flannery told Pearce. For this reason, he valued the ball at $100 to $150, which he reminded him was pure profit. “You didn’t pay anything for it, so going from nothing to $150 isn’t bad,” he said.

Robert Pearce shows his 1955 Detroit Tigers autographed baseball at DuMochelles Art Galleries in Detroit.

Tigers’ collectibles are an ongoing fan favorite, and championship years are especially sought after. “If you could find a ball from 1935 with a number of Hall of Famers’ signatures, that would be dynamite,” Flannery added. “They’re out there.”

Flannery added that baseballs with single signatures can bring higher values as well. “Give me a Babe Ruth anytime,” he quipped.

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?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

About this item

Item: Baseball

Ownd by: Bob Pearce

Appraised by: Jim Flannery, DuMouchelles

Estimated value: $100-$150