Trash or Treasure: Early Tigers items are winners

Khristi Zimmmeth
Special to The Detroit News
Larry Smith with his 1907 Tigers pennant winning team photo.

The current Tigers season may continue to disappoint, but many sports collectibles are perennial winners, says DuMouchelle appraiser Jerry Anderson, who specializes in the topic. He recently took a look at two Tigers-related artifacts brought in by Larry Smith at a downtown appraisal session held at the landmark gallery and auction house.

“I have two items for consideration,” Smith wrote in an email asking for advice with accompanying photos.  “The first shown here is a watch fob with watch, not shown.  I understand these were issued to the Detroit Tigers ball players when they won their pennant in 1907.  The second item is a poster of the Tigers from 1907 when they won the pennant.  People have claimed to have seen this poster in the past but no one else has been able to produce it.  It's very possible this is a one of a kind.”

Smith brought both items to DuMouchelles. “I got it about 1950 from my Dad’s uncle, or my great uncle, who worked for the Detroit Police Department,” he informed the appraiser about the poster. “It hangs in my office.”

The poster is a reminder of a winning team from the past and reads “Hughie Jennings and His Great Tigers,” with photographs of team members. Anderson identified it as being postcards on an uncut sheet made by the Dietsche Postcard Company.

The appraiser said he looked for comparables in gathering information for the appraisal, and that an original postcard featuring just Jennings sold in 2004 for $20.

Unfortunately, Anderson told Smith that his sheet is a reproduction of the original, albeit an older reproduction by today’s standards if he acquired it in the 1950s. “You know that it’s a print and a copy because you can see the microdots,” Anderson explained as he showed Smith and the others attending the event. “The dots are left behind by the printing process.”

Even as an older reproduction, the poster would have a value of $100 to $200, he said.

He was less successful finding out much about the watch, which was made by Waltham and gold-filled. “I couldn’t find anything similar so there might not be many around,” he told Smith. “I found one from the New York Yankees that was issued to players as a token but nothing from the Tigers, so this might be something similar.”

The brass fob has a Tigers 1907 on it. “It may have been sold separately for your watch chain,” he said. He valued the watch and fob at $250 to $300.

Anderson said he wished he could tell Smith that the postcards and poster were original. “If they were, they’d fetch more like $2,000 to $3,000,” he added.

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: Tigers poster and watch

Owned by: Larry Smith

Appraised by: Jerry Anderson, DuMouchelles

Estimated value: $100 to $200 and $250 to $300