February 19th - 25th, 2010 9:00 P.M. CST w/ 15 minute rule
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 2/25/2010

The authenticity of game used items is a study MEARS has taken very seriously. It is no different for the many collectors whom strive for items that can be irrefutable placed into the hands of their heroes. When it comes to hero worship, there is no player more revered among today’s collectors that Mickey Mantle. When talking about collecting game used bats, collectors have to know that their player used that item in a major league game. Mantle collectors are even more fanatical in their pursuit of items used by “the Mick”. Did Mickey use the bat?

With great pride, MEARS is able to emphatically answer, Yes. Offered for our February 2010 auction is a 1965 Mickey Mantle game used Louisville Slugger bat, which includes matching factory records, documented series the bat was used, documented player use characteristics and a notarized letter direct from the New York Yankees actual bat boy! Provenance, Player Use Traits, Factory Records, Known games of use, this bat truly has everything a Mantle collector could ever dream for. Very recently our consignor purchased this bat directly from Daniel Noe, the former Yankee batboy, where it remained in his collection for the past 45 years. Since handed over by Mantle, this is the first chance collectors have had to own this bat with a direct lineage to Mantle.

As most collectors know, it is almost impossible to obtain games used bat of anybody and know exactly when it was used, cracked or given away. But to know exactly when Mickey Mantle used, cracked, and gave away a bat, well, those facts will make for some very interesting bidding. We know the whole story on this incredible game used Mickey Mantle bat. Then batboy, Daniel Noe, writes in his notarized LOA:

“I began working for the Yankee Organization during the 63’ season and Continued with them through the 64’ and 65’ seasons until I left to join the U.S. Army 101st Airborne division in 1965.

I started out as a ballboy and then became the batboy for the visiting team and Finally batboy for the Yankees in late 64’, at times I was even lent out to the Mets as a batboy.

When I told Mr. Mantle that my little brother was a huge fan he told me his next cracked bat was mine and in 65’ during a game with Tigers was when he game me the bat.

Unfortunately I don’t remember many other details about the game but I gave the bat to my brother and left it from there.

Yours,

Signed

Daniel R. Noe

Notarized”

There was a four game series played at New York from a double header played on 7-27-65 through 7-29-65. Mantle got a total of five hits during that series. According to the factory shipping records, Mantle received a total of (9) 36"-32 oz bats shipped on 6-21-65, a month before this series and never ordered any other 36", M110 models during the era this bat was made, 1965-68.

The factory-recorded specifications of the bat are as follows:

Date 6-21-1965: According to H&B factory records, on 6-21-65 (9) ash bats, measuring 36” and weighing 32 ounces were shipped directly to Mickey Mantle. The centerbrand is consistent with the H&B factory production methods used during 1965.

Length 36”: As verified by the 6-21-65 H&B factory order, this bat perfectly matches the 36” length listed by Louisville Slugger as requested by Mickey Mantle.

Weight 31 ounces: The bat currently weights 31 ounces. With the 6-21-65 record listing the bat at 32 ounces, a one ounce loss of weight is acceptable and still allows the bat to be consistent with the referenced factory order and can be considered consistent with the listed 32 ounce weight.

Louisville Slugger Model M110: Factory applied on the knob is the M110 model. When examining the H&B factory records, on only one date was the model (M110), length (36”), weight (32 ounces), and M110 model ordered during this label period, 6-21-65. Additionally, images support Mantle as using H&B bats during this timespan.

Game Use: The bat itself shows tremendous game use with a handle crack that extends 14" and would best be described as a multiple shatter. The middle of the handle is covered in pine tar, which was a Mantle trait during this time period. The pattern & application of the pinetar is quite consistent with two images (image provided) which support this bat being used by Mantle with the documented player trait of the pinetar application:

-1965 Sports Illustrated cover shot which shows the coverage of the pinetar in a 6” concentrated area starting about 8” from the knob

-1964 Mickey Mantle World Series bat shows pinetar on handle applied in a consistent manner to examined bat

There is some grain separation on back of the barrel from extensive use. To say it is pounded with use and ball marks all about the barrel and on all sides is an understatement. Given the heavy use, it is very likely that this bat was used prior to the Tigers series but it was cracked and given away during this series. Had it been used for the weeks proceeding this Tigers series, who knows how many hits or home runs were acquired with this very bat.

The following specific use can be seen:

1. Multiple ball marks on all surfaces of the bat’s barrel

2. Below the barrel facsimile signature stampings is a 6” area consisting of pounded game use, which due to the heavy concentration of use, can created the “deadwood” affect of the loosing of barrel grain. This is a positive trait associated with heavy, specific, and concentrated game use.

3. Above the barrel is also a concentrated area of heavy game use. This can be viewed as heavy areas of surface marks with occasional stitch marks that have penetrated the surface of the wood.

4. Cleat marks: Towards the end of the barrel, 4 distinct cleat marks can be found.

5. An overall evaluation of the bat shows heavy, heavy game use from the knob end to the barrel end. There are no signs of use commonly associated with playground use, and the use is thought to have been applied by Mantle. The presence of the handle crack was the cause for this bat being retired and the bat gifted to the brother of the consignor.

It is a rare opportunity indeed to get a bat that now exists just as it was the day Mantle gave it to Daniel Noe where it has resided for 45 years, unmolested and awaiting it's next home. A true 100% Mantle gamer that has the look of a favorite Mantle bludgeon.

Final Grade: MEARS A8.5. For the base grade, 5 full points were awarded for the bat matching H&B factory records. 3 full points were assigned as the bat exhibits heavy game use. 2 points were assigned for the accompanying notarized letter of provenance and the pinpointed factory record. 1.5 points were subtracted due to the handle crack and some slight deadwood on reverse.

Professional authentication & grading Letter of Opinion provided by MEARS/Troy R. Kinunen

1965 Mickey Mantle H&B Louisville Slugger Professional Model Game Used Bat - Yankees - Used July 27-29, 1965 w/ provenance and pinpoint factory records (MEARS 8.5)
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Auction closed on: 2/26/2010