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Lot # 1242 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1914 Johnny Evers Boston Braves World Series Ring (Evers Family Provenance)

Starting Bid - $10,000, Sold For - $52,875

Extraordinary Boston Braves World Series ring, issued to Hall of Fame second baseman Johnny Evers in 1914, with direct family provenance. When we were first contacted by a member of the Evers family about this ring we were both somewhat skeptical and excited. Skeptical because it was our understanding that the first team-issued World Series rings ever produced were those given to the New York Giants players in 1922. Excited, because the discovery of this ring not only potentially rewrites World Series ring history, but solves a long-standing hobby mystery as well. Incredibly, this is not the first 1914 Boston Braves World Series ring we have ever seen. The first example, which once resided in the famed Barry Halper Collection, was issued to Rabbit Maranville, and, like the offered ring, also came with direct family provenance. The mystery surrounding that ring was the fact that no one had ever seen another. Player rings, especially those fashioned from precious metals and featuring diamonds, are normally saved, cherished, and passed down from one family member to another. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are also sold. They are never simply discarded or looked upon as trash. When the Maranville family sold their 1914 ring in the 1970s, no one knew exactly what to make of it. It was a great item regardless, but if every player received one, how come no one had ever seen another example? Certainly at least one other example would have surfaced over the years. But that wasn't the case. The Maranville ring, like many (perhaps most) of the greatest baseball treasures in the collecting world during his collecting prime, naturally ended up in the incomparable Barry Halper Collection. Barry thought that the only explanation that made sense was that the Maranville ring was not team- issued but was either specially produced by Maranville himself, or presented to him by friends, family, and/or admirers. In fact, that is how it was described when offered in the famous Halper auction, even though the Maranville family clearly identified it as his 1914 World Series ring in a letter that accompanied it. This seemed reasonable and the general consensus all these years has been that the ring was some type of unofficial ring, even though its provenance can be traced directly to Maranville.

The emergence of this Evers ring now requires reconsideration of that theory. The offered 14K gold Evers World Series ring, like the Maranville example, features a single diamond set within the center of a baseball-diamond motif on the front. (Note: The Maranville ring had a different less expensive stone that we are certain replaced the original diamond.) “World's Champions 1914” is lettered in relief along the circular perimeter of the front. Neither a design nor or any additional lettering appears on either shank. Engraved on the reverse of the ring is the name “John J. Evers,” the manufacturer's stamping, “F. H. Co.,” and the ring's carat weight, “14K.” One interesting aspect of this ring is the name of the manufacturer. “F. H. Co.” is the very same manufacturer of the rare Jake Daubert 1919 World Series pin offered elsewhere in this auction (an example of which was given to each 1919 Cincinnati Reds player). In addition, “F. H. Co.” is also the manufacturer of the pins awarded to members of the World Champion 1910 Chicago Cubs. Not coincidentally, the design front of the Evers ring is nearly identical to the design front of the 1910 Chicago Cubs and 1919 Cincinnati Reds championship pins that were awarded to each player in honor of being a member of the World Championship club. It is also nearly identical in design to the center portion of the gold watch fobs that were presented to members of the 1917 Chicago White Sox (also produced by “F.H. Co.”).

While the discovery of this Evers ring is enlightening, it does not fully answer all of the previous questions concerning the Maranville ring, most specifically: where are all of the other player rings? It could simply be that only two have survived. Only four 1919 Reds Worlds Championship pins are known, and even fewer 1910 Cubs Championship pins are known. It might still be the case that both Maranville and Evers decided to have these rings specially made. It might also be the case that rings were offered to the players, but only at their expense, and most passed. Or, it might be that players were given a choice of a ring and another type of gift, and few chose the ring. It might even be the case that the players on the 1914 Braves team were originally issued World Championship pins, like the Cubs in 1910 and the Reds in 1919, and that both Maranville and Evers later each independently had them fashioned into rings. Or that they were given the choice of having their pins turned into rings. Obviously, we will never know for certain the circumstances regarding the origin and production of the Braves 1914 World Series rings, but the discovery of this Evers example, and the fact that both the Evers and Maranville rings both originate directly from the estates of the players, speaks for itself, and clearly establishes that World Series rings were highly prized by at least two members of the 1914 Boston Braves team. We have never seen or heard of a 1914 Braves Championship pin award, though it is possible one may surface, or additional research will provide more information in the future.

One thing we do know for certain, however, is that this was Johnny Evers' 1914 World Series ring. The ring is accompanied by a copy of the Last Will and Testament of Marion C. Evers, in which she specifically leaves the 1914 World Series ring to Donald Ghegan, Johnny Evers' nephew. The ring has been consigned to this auction directly by Donald Ghegan and is also accompanied by a one-page letter from Mr. Ghegan in which he details its provenance.

The 1914 “Miracle” Braves are one of baseball's most legendary clubs. On July 18, 1914, the Boston Braves were in last place and trailed the first-place Giants by eleven games. Miraculously, the team then went on a remarkable winning streak that saw them post a record of 60-16 to close out the season and capture the pennant. Dubbed “The Miracle Braves,” the team continued to work its magic in the World Series by sweeping the heavily favored Athletics in four straight games. This ring is one of most incredible pieces in existence relating to the Braves' legendary 1914 World Championship season. The fact that it was issued to Hall of Fame second baseman Johnny Evers, in what was one of the greatest seasons of his career, certainly adds to its great historical significance. This is a remarkable museum-caliber piece that would be a highlight in even the most advanced World Series ring or memorabilia collection. The ring displays light wear, including a slightly malformed band. In Excellent to Mint condition. Size: approximately 9. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $52,875

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