Fall Premier Auction 2020

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From the late 1940s and on through to the next decade and a half, no baseball team was as dominant as the New York Yankees. Whereas other sports dynasties would burn bright for a short time and decline as their players aged out, the Yankees seemed to have a never-ending supply of fresh stars on tap. This was never as evident as when Joe DiMaggio retired after the 1951 season and his place flawlessly taken by a 19 year-old kid from Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle. Within two years of putting on the pinstripes, Mickey had become the undisputed star of the New York sports world and the idol of millions of kids across the country. As his batting average and home run numbers rose, the Yankees registered World Series championship after World Series championship. In 1956 and 1957, Mantle won back-to-back American League MVP Awards, his average never dropping below .350. With The Mick in the lineup, the Yankees established an unprecedented dominance the baseball world had never seen: from 1951 to 1964 the team won a dozen pennants and seven World Championships. Emulating the pinstriped greats of the past like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig who shined even brighter in World Series play, Mickey Mantle, too, seemed to explode in the Fall Classic. In twelve Fall Classics, Mantle hit 18 home runs in 230 at-bats – that’s an average of one homer for every 12.77 times he came to the plate – not even Ruth hit ‘em out at such a resounding pace.

As the Yankees won the 1964 American League pennant by a margin of one game over the Chicago White Sox, their greatest star was beginning to dim. While on the surface Mickey Mantle had always presented as the epitome of the healthy, strong athlete, he was by 1964, showing the effects of fourteen big league seasons and countless late nights. An endless stream of injuries, beginning with his tearing of his ACL in his first World Series way back in 1951, had the star playing in almost constant pain, with his damaged legs encased in an endless spiral of athletic tape. Knowing the condition under which he played makes Mantle’s World Series production even more impressive. In the last World Series he would play in, Mantle hit .333 against the vaunted Cardinals pitching of Bob Gibson, Curt Simmons and Ray Sadecki (combined 57 regular season wins). He also went into home run overdrive, hitting three home runs in the seven game series (his third time doing so), bringing his career total to an unprecedented 18. New York would win no more pennants for the next decade, and Mickey Mantle would retire after the 1968 season, going down in history as one of the greatest to ever play the game, and the dominance exhibited by the Yankees during the Mantle years has yet to be matched.

This is the Rolex watch presented to Mickey Mantle upon appearing in what would be the last Yankees World Series of baseball’s Golden Era. Besides its unique Yankees/Mickey Mantle provenance, the 'Pre-Daytona' Chronograph Reference 6238 stainless steel Rolex is significant in that only an estimated 1,000-2,000 6238s were produced by the Swiss watchmaker. What’s more, advanced Rolex collectors refer to the 6238s as the “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” model, due to its prominent appearance in the James Bond film of the same name. Mick’s 6238 is case number 1007718 with a Rolex caliber 72B nickel-finished lever movement. The silver-brushed dial has three subsidiary dials to mark constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hour registers, and the outer perimeter features a tachymeter scale for miles. Most importantly, the screw-back case cover has been engraved with, “1964 American League Champions, Presented to Mickey Mantle” below an intricate Yankees hat and bat logo. The Mick’s Championship 6238 is in excellent condition, with the expected surface wear from occasional use and age.  A stunning tribute to the last of the Yankees 1950s-60s dynasty World Series,’ awarded to the very man most responsible for them – Mickey Mantle.

 

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