Spring Premier Auction 2020


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/2/2020

Presented here is one of the most unique Willie Mays pieces of memorabilia ever to hit the auction block: his used traveling trunk dating to the 1950s and 60s when he was in his prime as a ballplayer. The Say Hey Kid must have used this well-traveled, player-specific suitcase on numerous National League road trips with the Giants. It most likely began its use in New York in the early-mid 1950s and continued as Mays’ loyal travel companion on flights and bus rides when the team moved to San Francisco in 1958. The level of use and wear indicates it couldn’t have been just some one-season piece of property for Mays.


According to our consignor, the trunk used to belong to her husband’s grandfather, Harold J. Gibbons, a prominent St. Louis trade unionist once considered to be the heir apparent to Jimmy Hoffa. One of the most progressive Democrat labor leaders in the 1950s and 60s, Gibbons was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP, working to desegregate schools throughout Missouri and put an end to Jim Crow. It makes sense that, being such a well-connected man and staunch supporter of civil rights, Gibbons may have received this trunk as a gift from the game's greatest African-American ballplayer after the Giants came to town for a series against the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. Interestingly enough, the original site of the Cards’ old baseball stadium in St. Louis is now a neighborhood playground named "Harold J. Gibbons Field" in his honor.


The large, nearly square-shaped steamer trunk measures 20” by 25” by 9.5" and weighs 12.5 lbs. It was made by “Priesmeyer Brothers Trunk Co. St. Louis”, an established luggage manufacturer throughout the first half of the 20thcentury. (All of Stan Musial’s personal travel trunks from his estate collection were tagged by this same brand.) The legendary Hall of Famer’s name “WILLIE MAYS” and iconic jersey number “24” flank the front opening to the vintage black suitcase, whose traditional brass latching and key locking systems still function without issue. Willie’s jersey number also appears faintly above the left side latch, as if prior metal numbers or decals had fallen off at some point. Both the top and bottom sides have the “Giants” baseball club’s 1950s-era logo nicely painted in orange. The interior has leather straps for keeping clothes neatly packed together. The robust trunk shows heavy exterior wear, yet all elements appear to come as-issued and problem-free. A letter of provenance from the consignor will be provided. Her huband's mother was the daughter of Harold Gibbons.


Please note that third party shipping may be required due to the its large dimensions.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $17,365
Number Bids: 22
Auction closed on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
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