Subject: 1938 Lou Gehrig Jersey Article

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

In response to this article:

regarding this Lou Gehrig jersey (link to follow):

Dave and Troy, Thanks for helping us to fine tune the pre-publication preview copy and correct a very clear error in the 1938 Gehrig jersey description. One important note, however: First, we vetted the (now slightly edited) description with Troy, sending it to him by email (”please review and provide suggestions, corrections etc as anything could be off”) and he was fine with everything (”You addressed all of the issues, quite tastefully.”) and did not note any errors for us to address. Second, we also communicated with  Dave Grob about the description and Dave Grob did not mention the error regarding the Gehrig dugout photo (we cited this as being the same jersey as the team photo - this was an error). Instead of communicating with us, Dave Grob writes an article. This is the equivalent of REA, rather than bringing errors of many kinds that we have found with MEARS authentication letters (which has happened numerous times) to MEARS’ attention and sincerely trying to be helpful, giving you the opportunity to address and correct, instead publishing the letters with problems and pointing out the MEARS errors, or in other ways calling attention to MEARS related problems or errors in a public forum rather than communicating directly.  As it was, the  authentication process of this jersey - as all three MEARS authenticators who were involved with it had different interpretations of the jersey and provided a different grade (A5, A7, and A9), was unprecedented and very confusing to us, creating a host of issues with the consignor, and creating uncertainty for us as to how to best address the conflicting MEARS opinions.  

Regarding “the theory that “The cut of the number “4″ is unique to every Gehrig jersey,”  we didn’t know this was even up for discussion. We have always thought: of course it’s unique to every Gehrig jersey, as is every hand-cut “4″ (or any other number) on every Yankees jersey. To our eye, the cut of the number “4″ on this 1938 jersey is very distinctive.  That said, it is a given that we are limited by the quality of available photos to conclusively declare a true technical photo match, and we have always agreed that the 1938 World Series batting photo may not allow for a stand-alone technical declaration of a photo match as the term is used in the science of photo-imaging.

With reference to whose voice is being used in the description of the jersey: We went out of our way to specifically ask Troy Kinunen, the signer of the MEARS letter, if the description was clear in his opinion as to the distinction of what the MEARS letter was saying and what REA was saying. He responded in the affirmative. We in no way would ever want to create any confusion regarding this; we would never want to put words in anyone one else’s mouth; and we will make absolutely certain that every bidder on the jersey fully understands that the use of the term “photo match” in the description is not reflective of MEARS’ opinion, and that our use of the term in the description (as we believe is communicated in the description) does NOT allow for a technical declaration of a photo match as the term is used in the science of photo-imaging. We are trying to do justice to a great jersey but certainly do not in any way wish to step over any bounds in making claims that are not fair and reasonable, and properly qualified if necessary. We will make sure that all bidders are fully aware of all relevant information, including the MEARS article regarding the jersey.

The purpose of providing the following illustrations is simply to show a random selection of Yankee number “4″ jerseys to illustrate the point that there are differences to numbers, at least in our opinion on these samples. (Note: many but not all of these jerseys have been authenticated by MEARS).

Here is the image of the back of the 1938 Gehrig jersey (click to enlarge images):


Here’s a random sampling of some illustrations taken at the same angle of the number “4″ on the back of various Yankees jerseys that have come to auction over the years. (Even the two numbers comprising the number “44″ on the same jersey are slightly different to our eye.)   

1939 Lou Gehrig Retirement Number that hung in Yankee Stadium: 


1939 Lou Gehrig July 4, 1939 famous speech jersey:


1937 Bump Hadley jersey:


1951 Joe Collins jersey:


circa 1933 Lou Gehrig jersey:


1961 Jim Hegan World Series Coaches jersey:


1959 Moose Skowren jersey:


1956 Tommy Carroll jersey:


1977 Reggie Jackson:


1960 Moose Skowren jersey:


1993 Mark Hutton jersey:


1970 Dick Howser jersey;


1972 Frank Tepedino jersey:


Below are: the MEARS letter, work sheets, and illustration plates that we have been provided with to date (as with all images on this page, click to enlarge).             

  mears1.JPG    mears2.JPG   mears3.JPG                        

  grob-gehrig.jpg   grob-gehrig-2.jpg   grob-gehrig-3.jpg  

 grob-gehrig-worksheet.jpg   grob-gehrig-worksheet-2.jpg  gehrig-unnumbered-plate.jpg

gehrig-plate-i.jpg  gehrig-plate-ii-2.jpg  gehrig-plate-iii-2.jpg                        gehrig-plate-iv-2.jpg gehrig-plate-v.jpg   gehrig-plate-vi.jpg                      gehrig-plate-vii.jpg  gehrig-plate-viii.jpg

The following additional “Plate VIII” has been recieved late (on 3/26/11) and has therefore been posted later than the other plates above (it appears that an error was made in the numbering of the plates, as there are two exhibits identified as “Plate VIII”):


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