Winter Auction 2016 Closing January 30th
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/31/2016
The New York World's Fair of 1939 was one of the most popular and influential of all the World's Fairs, so popular in fact that it was re-vamped during the winter and held over another year as the "1940 World's Fair". Not only was it a celebration of the world's nations but it also became a showcase for America's unique culture and lifestyle. One of the most widely followed events of the fair was the contest to find "The Typical American Family". Children from all across the country wrote in to their local newspaper detailing why their family exemplified the American ideal. Forty-five families were chosen, each receiving a week-long, all-expenses paid trip to New York where they lived right on the fair grounds in a new FHA home decorated by Sears. In addition each family was given a brand new Ford V-8 in which to drive around the fair grounds. One of the 45 families chosen was the Burnette's of Rockmart, Georgia. The Burnette's 14 year-old son Gladstone entered the contest and described each member of his family. Father D.G. Burnette was "postmaster of Rockmart, commander of the local Legion Post, a member of the Kiwanis and taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church." His mother Reba was a Wesleyan grad who "was also active in Lutheran church and social affairs and was an excellent golfer". His 10 year-old sister Gloria liked to "read, swim and dance." As for Gladstone, he fancied himself an inventor and shared that his "favorite invention to date is an automatic peashooter". Each of the winning family members received a keepsake in recognition of their status as the Typical American Family, and what could possibly be a better present for the "typical American boy" than a trophy topped with an autographed Babe Ruth baseball? That's exactly what Gladstone Burnette, Jr. received, and this is that very trophy. The base of the wood trophy measures 5" tall and is painted in orange and blue, the official colors of the 1940 World's Fair. An orange card affixed to the front is inscribed "GLADSTONE BURNETTE, JR. - NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1940" But what's most notable about this piece is the baseball perched atop the pedestal. Most Babe Ruth signed balls have no date inscribed on them and are difficult to accurately date - not so with this example. Being that the ball has rock-solid documentation as having been given to young Gladstone in July of 1940, we know exactly when The Babe signed it. The signature is in strong black fountain pen and remains dark and bold. The Spalding Official Association ball has light toning along with some surface loss on the back side, opposite of The Babe's signature, so it displays well. The wooden pedestal shows scuffs and abrasions from age but the original blue and orange paint remains strong. The orange paper label has been chipped on three sides and the inscription is still bold and legible. Also included in this lot are four Atlanta area newspapers featuring articles about the Burnette's, three 8x10 press photos of the Burnette's, a 1940 newspaper clipping with a July 31, 1940 dated tag from the National Capital Clipping Bureau and a three page typewritten list of each of the 45 "Typical American Families". The Newspapers are toned and brittle from age but are easily read. The 3 page listing of families has edge wear and staining from age and the staple clipped in the upper left corner has slightly rusted. A very complete and interesting group featuring a Babe Ruth signed ball - the only gift fit for "The Typical American Boy". Letter of Authenticity (V12469) from PSA/DNA.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $10,755.00
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Sunday, January 31, 2016.
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