Spring Premier Auction 2013
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
A more poignant artifact from the turbulent times of the 1960s would be hard to imagine than this amazing batting helmet used by the great Phillies slugger Dick Allen in 1968. The plastic helmet came into use in the major leagues in the 1950s, obviously to protect batters from pitchers capable of ending a career - or even a life - with a single errant fastball. How wrenching then to consider that this incredible artifact - while certainly employed in the traditional fashion to protect against the machinations of the likes of Don Drysdale, Bog Gibson, Tom Seaver, et al., might well have also been utilized by the beleaguered Allen as he manned first base at Connie Mack Stadium in front of his own fans. Often pelted with batteries and coins thrown from the stands, the great star took to wearing his batting helment while manning first base, as disturbing an admission as one can recall in recounting the over-exuberance of fickle fandom. The Size 7 1/2 helmet is truly a incomparable artifact of 1960's Philadelphia Phillies baseball, riddled as it is with scratches - many of them very tiny - that veritably insist that the wear you see in this remarkable treasure stems from sources much different than what you typically would find on a vintage piece. And still the helmet is in largely intact condition, betrayed only by a 3-inch crack above the right ear (were it the left ear, we might offer Drysdale as a suspect). The year "1968" is hand written in black marker on the inside of the helmet; a slightly lighter 7 1/2 appears on the top of the bill. Allen himself signed the top of the bill in black marker in what one can't help but suppose may have been a bittersweet moment.
Pre-certified by PSA/DNA.