An original press pin from the 1911 baseball World Series could fetch a five-figure sum when it comes up for sale at Heritage Auctions early next year.
The pin is one of just five or six examples known to have survived, and the only one which remains in pristine condition.
The first World Series press pins were created for the 1911 series between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Athletics, to make sure local journalists could cover the games.
As the series approached, the problem facing sportswriters lay with one man: New York Giants manager John McGraw.
With the Giants facing off against the Athletics, the press were in trouble, as McGraw was famous for packing the press box with his friends, meaning there was no room for genuine sports writers.
McGraw was a former star player from the ‘Dead Ball’ era of baseball, who went on to become one of the sport’s most successful managers. Nicknamed ‘Little Napoleon’, he was renowned for his fiery temper, his bending of the rules and his inside knowledge of the game.
To date, McGraw’s record of 2,763 victories ranks second overall behind only his great rival Connie Mack, legendary manager of the Athletics.
It was S.O. Grauley, a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who came up a solution. Using his close relationship with Mack, the World Series Press Pin was created, and issued by the A’s to accredited members of the press only.
Not only was the pin a beautiful memento of the World Series, and a guarantee of entry to the press box, but it was also one in the eye for McGraw from his closest rivals.
"McGraw was notorious for cramming his buddies into the press box for important games," said Heritage Sports Collectibles Director Chris Ivy.
"With Philly within easy striking distance of New York City, Grauley suspected McGraw would attempt the same for the 1911 World Series games at Shibe Park. Thus the press pin was born as a means of regulating entry to the limited square footage of Philadelphia’s home field journalist quarters."
Described as "quite simply, the most significant World Series press pin that exists", and originally owned by the very man who invented them, the pin is expected to sell for more than $40,000.
Grauley’s collection also includes press pins from the World Series championships of 1913, 1914 and 1915, as the Philadelphia Athletics reached the finals for three consecutive years.
The entire collection will be offered as part of the Heritage Auctions Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction in February 2017.