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AT THE NATIONAL: Mel Ott bat stolen from dealer

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

BALTIMORE – The bat Frank Robinson used to hit his 500th home run sat in its own display case in the front of a booth. Onlookers stopped and marveled. It brought attention to JT Sports‘ booth where game-used bats were everywhere.

John Taube, owner of the game-used bat authentication business, said his booth has been busy this weekend, even better than the visit to Charm City for the National Sports Collectors Convention.

But Taube’s busy weekend was darkened before it started.

A game-used bat by Mel Ott from the 1930s, which was bought for $48,000 from Hunt Auction during MLB All-Star Weekend in Kansas City, was stolen from his booth on Wednesday. Taube filed a police report and planned to speak to detectives on Saturday because of the value of the bat.

“It’s been a tremendous show. Sales have been brisk,” Taube said. “Other than that it’s been a fabulous show.”

The bat was brought to him for authentication from Scott Foraker, a long time customer. He wanted a letter from Taube’s company before taking possession of the bat. Taube planned to take it back to his office in Margate, N.J., then ship it out.

The bat was left in a rack in the booth for Taube to store later. At the end of the day when he went to pack everything – he takes the very expensive bats with him back to the hotel – the Ott bat was missing.

In nearly 30 years of business Taube has never had anything stolen.

However, when the high-profile nature of the theft and the number of people talking about it, it will be difficult to re-sell the back on the open market.

“That’s the hope (to recover it),” Taube said. “Scott’s a great guy. He’s mild-mannered to begin with. He understands how it can happen. His concern is to recover the piece.”

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazine. You can email Susan here with ideas, comments and questions. Follow her on Twitter here.

5 Comments

john

what kind of low life would steal the bat. Especilly being it could never be resold without being reconized. I aguess some people are just Low Lifes and get their kicks in seeing if they can get away with it. Isn’t that a felony based on the value? Why mess up your life to get your kicks. I guess you have to lock every thing up no matter where you are.

Posted August 5, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

i wonder if it was left on a rack with others was it mixed up and given to someone else, given the value maybe it should have been secured better, than put on a rack. hind site is 50/50, sorry this happen it was a great piece of baseball history. i hope its found.

Posted August 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

This is a sad situation when someone would go out of their way to steal an item that is probably easily idenitifiable, I bet they probably intend to keep it so it may never be found unless there is security footage of the theft ot the thief is an idiot who will try to sell it or shows it off.

What is worse is that the person who bought it at auction is the one getting screwed, I understand that insurance or Taube will cover the loss for the owner but that does not replace a rare bat. The guy sent it to be authenticated under good faith that Taube would return it in the condition he had received it in. I was wondering, did Taube have authorization from the owner to display it in his booth? Something like this bat should have been secured properly in a way that it could not just walk away (like Charles above stated).

I hate to throw salt in to an open wound, but this just seems like a situation that could have easily been prevented.

Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

This is sad and I’m sure Taube feels bad enough. Whoever stole the bat is scum. Unfortunately this wasn’t the only high profile item stolen at the show. I know a dealer who had a 52 Topps Mantle stolen.

Posted August 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
RHONDA CORTE

I WAS NOT AT THE NATIONAL THIS YEAR BUT, I ALSO HEARD THAT A GOOD FRIEND AND DEALER OF MINE ALLAN GUTTERMAN LOST A RUTH GEHRIG SIGNED BASEBALL. IT WAS STOLEN FROM HIS TABLE.
I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW IF THERE WAS ANY VIDEO CAMERAS THAT MAY HAVE SEEN THE THEFT OF THE MEL OTT BAT & RUTH GEHRIG SIGNED BALL? IF THERE WAS NO VIDEO CAMERA THEN, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHY??? IF I WAS A DEALER SETTING UP NEXT YEAR AT THE NATIONAL, I WOULD MAKE SURE THERE ARE CAMERAS. IF THE SPORTS CARD CONVENTIONS CAN’T AFFORD TO HAVE CAMERAS AT THE SHOW I WOULD NOT SET UP AS A DEALER. SORRY ALLAN AND JOHN. FROM A COLLECTOR WHO PURCHASED GREAT ITEMS FROM EACH OF YOU. RHONDA & MICHAEL

Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

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