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Circa 1999 Honus Wagner Southland Bronze Figurine
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $540
Exceedingly rare bronze statue of Honus Wagner issued by Southland Plastics, circa 1999. The eight-inch-high bronze figure depicts Wagner in a fielding pose and sits upon a two-inch-high wood base bearing a metal plaque with Wagner's name engraved upon it. This is only the second example we have ever seen of this Wagner bronze statue, which was one in series of five baseball bronzes produced by Southland beginning in 1999. We know about the series because REA sold a Walter Johnson Southland bronze which was presented to and consigned directly from the Johnson family in its October 2013 auction (Lot 950; realized $2,963) that was accompanied by a clipped article that appeared in the February 19, 1999, issue of the Sports Collectors Digest, which read, in part:
Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner are on Southland Plastics' docket. Beginning with Ty Cobb in the summer of 1999, the statues will be produced every four months. The bronze statue will carry a price tag of $750 (100 statues produced), while a plastic statue - limited to 10,000 - will be priced at $79.95.
As noted in the article, Southland Plastics originally intended to produce just 100 bronze statues for each player; however, we have recently learned that the statues were produced by order only (i. e., the company did not produce 100 statues and then ship them out as orders came in; when an order came in, the company notified the foundry to produce a bronze). Given that information, and the fact that that we have seen only three examples of the Johnson, and just two each of the Cobb, Wagner, and Mathewson, it is almost a certainty that far fewer than 100 were actually produced for each player. Our consignor obtained the offered figurine directly from a former owner of Southland Plastics, who had it made for his personal collection! It's a shame that so few of these Wagner bronzes were actually produced, for it is an extremely substantial and rare artwork commemorating the career of baseball's legendary "Flying Dutchman," and one that would complement any advanced Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, or baseball-figural collection. There is tiny amount of adhesive residue on the front of the base, as well as a miniscule nick; otherwise the piece is in Mint condition. Height: 10 inches. Oval base: 6 x 5 inches. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $540
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