JOPLIN, Mo. — A signed photograph of professional major-league baseball player and Oklahoman, Mickey Mantle, fetched a hefty sum at auction.
Dating back to his 1951 rookie season, this “Burke & Brace” photo out of Chicago, Illinois, captures the “Commerce Comet” posing for the camera. When this photo was taken, Mantle was just 20-years-old.
According to the auction information, Mantle signed the photo for the photographer that took the picture, George Brace. It captures Mantle in his road uniform as he poses for the camera on one knee with a bat under his arm. Mantle signed the photo in blue ink.
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Although undated, the auction information claims there are photo features that give it a date: The one-year-only American League 50th anniversary patch on Mantle’s sleeve dates it to 1951. On the reverse side is the photographer’s credit (“Burke & Brace Photo/2638 Drake Ave./Chicago 47, Illinois”). The location tells us the photo was taken at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.
George Burke retired in 1948 after suffering a heart attack and passed away in 1951. His business partner, George Brace continued to use both their names on his photos during Burke’s retirement. It was only after Burke’s death that he replaced the dual stamp with one of his own.
The 4″x6″ photo was sold by Robert Edward Auctions in New Jersey. With a reserve of $400, and estimated to sell for $800 to $1,200 — the signed photo of young Mantle fetched a final sale price of $5,288.
This photo you see pictured throughout this story is identical to the “Burke & Brace” photo that Mickey Mantle signed in 1951. However, this photo was not signed by the famous baseball player. This particular photo was purchased in Joplin in the 1980’s.
At several auctions over the last few years, Mickey Mantle memorabilia has fetched a pretty penny. A 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card recently sold for a record $12.6 million.