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Old 08-06-2018, 12:52 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
Jeff Lazarus
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 566
Default Has the market for Negro League/Puerto Rico contracts collapsed?

I've been following auctions (and looking at historical pricing) for player contracts from the Negro, Puerto Rican and Mexican leagues and it seems like prices have collapsed over the last few years.

A few years back, contracts for Willard Brown went for $4k+ and $7k+, recently a couple went for right around $1,000.

Similar story for guys like Leon Day etc.

My only thought is that there were 1-2 people who aggressively pursued these who are no longer in the market (presumably including the person who consigned the collection to Christie's that reintroduced many of these into the market).

Anyone have any thoughts/insight into this?
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:31 PM
jerseygary's Avatar
jerseygary jerseygary is offline
G@ry Cier@dkowski
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 701

I think it is a combination of the small market for them as well as the seemingly large availability in the past two years or so. I have been collecting Negro League items since the 1980's and don't recall seeing Puerto Rican and Mexican League contracts but once every few years if lucky. Nowadays it's as if a major auction isn't complete with one or two of these things.

Negro League contracts seem to be much harder to find.

Another issue may be that the signatures of the player contracts offered aren't that uncommon. If a Chino Smith, Lefty Brown or Josh Gibson came to auction, that would be one thing, but signatures of Leon Day, Willard Brown, Cool Papa Bell and some of the other big guys aren't that hard to find, and can be had on something more visually attractive (to some) than a player contract, leaving these to the guys who collect items signed during a player's playing days. So this considerably narrows down an already narrow field of collecting.

And though important to baseball history, the Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican Leagues don't generate the same excitement that the Negro National League, Eastern Colored League, Negro American League, etc has with many American collectors.

If a Satchel Paige 1936 Pittsburgh Crawfords contract was located and put up against a 1939 Guayama Brujos Puerto Rican Winter League contract, I'd bet the Negro League one will beat it every time.

So I believe there is no easy answer, but a combination of them.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:54 PM
Scocs Scocs is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 263

Everything Gary said makes a lot of sense. Ditto.

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Old 08-06-2018, 03:05 PM
Jason19th Jason19th is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 379

I think that for guys like Leon Day and Willard Brown the market is realizing that they actually have a lot of autos out there. The buying surge when they were elected to the Hall has passed and there are a lot of other auto options available. I think the better market indicator would be the contracts for which there are not a lot of other autographs available. I am thinking players like Pedro Cepeda, Pancho Combrie, Alejandro Oms, etc
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