Lou Gehrig (detail) from the Charles M. Conlon archive of baseball photography, which realized $1.79 million at an August 2016 Heritage auction.

For Gehrig fans, the story begins with an email

It’s not every day that you discover artifacts linked to one of the biggest names in sports history. That happened recently when Rob Rosen received an email from a man in Connecticut.


As vice president of sports collectibles at Heritage Auctions, Rosen fields scores of emails and phone calls every week. But this note was special. “We are owners of a wide range of Lou Gehrig memorabilia, which was passed upon his death to [parents] Christina and Heinrich Gehrig,” the email read. “Upon their death, it was passed into our family.”

The specialists at Heritage Auctions knew immediately there was a good chance this was something special. “We called and listened to their story, got more details, more specifics,” Rosen says. “It checked all the boxes … provenance, a Yankees great, the freshness of the items, the newness to the hobby.”

After meeting the owners at Heritage’s New York office, the family decided to auction the artifacts, more than 100 items that include baseballs, caps, gifts and photographs once owned by Lou Gehrig. “It’s not often that something makes you go, ‘Wow,’” Rosen says. “This was one of those moments.” The collection is expected to realize at least $400,000 when it goes to auction Feb. 23-24, 2019, at Heritage Auctions (see “Newly Discovered Gehrig”).

For now, the consignor wishes to remain anonymous. “He’s a nice, down-to-earth guy who’s very knowledgeable about the subject matter,” Rosen says. “It sounds clichéd, but I don’t think it’s about the money. I really think he’s more concerned about the material, how it’s presented and where it goes. He received joy and appreciation out of it, and now it’s the time in their lives to move the collection.”

And that should make collectors everywhere very happy.

DROP ME A line at HectorC@HA.com to share your stories. I remain interested in your discoveries.

Hector Cantu
Cantu signature

Hector Cantú, Editor & Publisher

This article appears in the Winter 2018-2019  edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.