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1917 Honus Wagner Silver Trophy Cup Presented by Brooklyn National League Baseball Club
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $15,405
Sterling silver trophy cup presented to Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1917. Honus Wagner, in addition to being one of the greatest players of his era, was also one of the most respected and popular players in the history of the game, beloved by his teammates, opponents, and legions of fans in every city. That universal admiration was never more apparent than in 1917, Wagner's last season in the majors, as his planned retirement approached. In that final season, many of the National League clubs honored him with special farewell ceremonies at their respective ballparks. The Brooklyn Dodgers were no exception, and on July 12th at Ebbets Field they honored Wagner by presenting him with this magnificent sterling-silver trophy cup. The engraving on the cup reads: "Presented to/John H. Wagner/by the/Brooklyn National League/Baseball Club/In commemoration of his long, faithful/and conscientious service/in the National League,/a gentleman on and off the field/and one who has earned/in his chosen profession/the highest esteem/of all interested/in the National Game./Brooklyn N. Y./July 11th/1917." Interestingly, according to a New York Times article, dated July 12, 1917 (a copy of which accompanies the cup), the cup was supposed to be presented to Wagner on July 11th, but the game was postponed due to rain (that is the reason why the cup is engraved with the July 11th date). In part:
Robins to Honor Wagner - Loving Cup to be Presented to Honus at Game with Pirates Today - The heavy rain of yesterday prevented the celebration of Hans Wagner Day at Ebbets Field, in conjunction with the scheduled opening of the Pirates-Robins series, but the day will be fittingly observed this afternoon if the elements permit. Before the game the veteran Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh shortstop, will be presented with a loving cup by President Charles H. Ebbets of the Brooklyn club, on behalf of his team.
This cup was originally sold at auction by Christies in its October 17, 1992, auction (Lot 203), where it realized a final sales price of $12,100. The cup, along with a number of other Honus Wagner personal items and effects, was consigned to that auction directly by Leslie Blair, Wagner's granddaughter (who is the source of nearly all the most important Wagner pieces in the hobby today). The cup has never been re-offered at public auction and has been in the possession of our consignor for over a decade. This is a remarkable presentation piece in all respects. Not only was it presented to the player many consider to be the greatest shortstop of all time, but it also comes with the impeccable provenance of having originated directly from the Wagner family, and its original presentation by Charles Ebbets in 1917 is documented by a primary news source. The cup (13 inches high; top diameter of 7 inches) is stamped "Sterling" and "1122" on the underside of the base and displays light-to-moderate tarnishing that is commensurate with its age. In Excellent to Mint condition. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $15,405
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