The Big Bang & Little Bang by Joe Phillips

A sale on ebay that’s been up for over a year carries some mint and mint in the box gloves that we determined came from 1980s sale of gloves from a store or warehouse in Baltimore. That sale resulted in a Glove Collectors Book being produced by Jim Mace, son of a doctor who had purchased many of these gloves. I think we estimated that there may have been easily more than one hundred gloves and many with their boxes. Collector John Graham and I got a “sniff” of these at the 1991 Sports Collectors National held in Dallas. A lawyer in Fort Worth had purchased them from the original sale and had about 30 of these gloves on his table. John and I got busy buying some. I still have my mint Eddie Miller MacGregor Goldsmith glove from that purchase.

We thought, at the time, this would be it for a large lot of near mint to mint gloves and boxes up for sale. This turned out to be the second largest of this type.

I had a couple of leads on mint “warehouse” gloves existing in Kansas somewhere from a Nocona rep who worked out of Kansas at one time saying that a former employer of his had stored some gloves in a warehouse. Months later some of the gloves actually showed up in our giant East Texas flea market in Canton Texas. (“found, the story goes, in a yard sale in Wichita, Kansas.”) Weeks later a phone call resulted in us finding a gentleman Frank Wolfe, former owner of the Wichita Sporting Goods. To make the story short Mr. Wolfe hadn’t paid his rent on his storage of some 400 gloves and the Warehouse owner had taken over the property. We contacted the owner and Dave Bushing and I purchased the 400 plus gloves, divided them and had a heck-of-a glove sale for about six months shortly thereafter. Seeing all those gloves at one time sort of took our breath away. One glover who came by got a glance and said “well I just died and went to heaven!”

As we mosey on down the road some 20 years later, nothing like these two sales has emerged, not even from the TV show “Locker Wars.” But, there’s always that hope. Near mint and mint gloves still demand the best prices on ebay and this is true for virtually all antiques and collectibles.

The Baltimore find released many late 1930s early 1940s gloves and the Kansas Sale mostly 50s gloves. There might have been a total of 600 gloves combined from both sales. Some of these seem to drift by the ebay stream from time to time. A smaller sale of dozens of gloves “Em-Jays” wound up in the hands of Collector Dan Creed in Chattanooga. It seems these came from North or South Carolina. Dan still collects gloves today.

Oddly a year before the Kanas find I purchased 30 mint and mint in the box gloves including a couple of Mickey Mantle gloves from the just closed Potchernik Sporting Goods in San Antonio, Texas.

Biggest change in the hobby has been that the premium gloves like the Rawlings Heart of the Hides, USA Wilson A2000s, late model Nokonas demand very good prices.

This was illustrated in a 125 glove purchase I made early last fall, mostly autograph models but the best sales came from the 1980s and 1990s Nokonas and Rawlings Heart of the Hide Gloves.

The future will tell us when another “Time Capsule” of gloves may emerge! Keep your eyes and ears peeled. Or just test the air for glove leather.

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