January 28, 2022

New York Public Library Fighting to Retrieve Baseball Artifacts Stolen by Thieves and Sold Online

From The NY Post:

Baseball artifacts stolen 40 years ago from the main branch of the New York Public Library are popping up online, and the FBI appears as stumped as a grade-schooler deciphering the Dewey Decimal System.

The library is missing several hundred relics donated by baseball magnate Albert Spalding’s widow in 1921 — including a $50,000 photo of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, ancient baseball cards and letters to and from one of baseball’s founding fathers, Harry Wright.

The missing materials — including score sheets from baseball’s first game in 1846 between the Knickerbockers and the New York Nine, and the constitution of Brooklyn’s Excelsior baseball club from 1865 — are worth more than $1 million, memorabilia blogger Peter Nash estimated.

The FBI launched an investigation into the ballgame bygones in 2009, confiscating 25 lots of letters from Pennsylvania-based sports memorabilia dealer Hunt Auctions.


Now the library is playing hardball to get its property back and is exploring legal options against consignors.

“The New York Public Library has made it extremely clear that it wants all of its materials returned and made accessible to the public, where they belong,” said spokeswoman Angela Montefinise.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.