By Chris Olds | Editor
A heavily scrutinized Topps baseball card featuring the autographs of nine members of the 1927 New York Yankees has been judged to be authentic, according to more than one authentication company, and will return to the auction block on Thursday.
However, the card’s examination wasn’t without a new caveat not previously mentioned publicly as the autograph of Lou Gehrig appears to have been painted around to obscure lesser signatures near it — making it more visually appealing — according to James Spence Jr. of James Spence Authentication.
How rare is this kind of alteration?
“More often than a flat item, multi-signed baseballs are often painted over to give the illusion that they appear as single-signed,” Spence said Thursday. “A company in California specializes in this type of craft.”
This aspect is noted on the Spence Letter of Authenticity, which will be included with the card when it is sold by Beckett Select Auctions , the consignment auction service division of Beckett Media. The auction will launch Thursday with an opening bid of $20,000. The auction will close on on Super Bowl Sunday following the game here in Dallas.
The 2010 Topps Tribute Legendary Lineup Cuts card features the signatures of Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Dugan, Pat Collins and Waite Hoyt — all on one booklet.
A redemption for the card was found by a collector in Missouri, who opted to sell the card through Beckett Select. The auction briefly ran in December with a starting bid of $20,000. However, Select ended the auction early as a precaution when it received multiple questions about the authenticity of the Ruth and Gehrig signatures.
Topps maintained its backing of the card after the auction was pulled and said it kept its authentication letters for the signatures on file — the autographs were backed by PSA/DNA. The Gehrig letter from PSA does note the modifications done to the piece of paper around the signature, something not previously disclosed to the public beyond appearing on the letter.
Topps has provided copies of the Gehrig and Ruth letters that will appear with the auction information, but the card’s new owner will not receive the letters.
Below is a video that shows the card before it initial auction launch in December.
For more on the auction of a legendary Topps creation or Beckett Select, visit Beckett.com/Select.
Once the auction goes live, you will find the information right here.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.