On June 3, former Sotheby’s senior vice president Leila Dunbar will give a presentation titled “Stories In Hand – Baseball History Told Through its Memorabilia” at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York as part of its annual symposium on baseball and American culture. The 2010 Symposium runs June 2-4, featuring lectures and panels of more than 60 baseball academics and presenters discussing baseball’s effect on American culture.
Dunbar’s talk will focus on the stories behind selected rare pieces from her $36 million of Sotheby’s sports memorabilia auctions, Antiques Roadshow televised sports memorabilia segments and her current appraisal business. Items include heretofore unseen Babe Ruth signed WWI Jewish Relief campaign game tickets, the only known baseball signed by Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; Woodrow Wilson’s own 1915 Federal League baseball pass, a 1956 signed photo of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella on Robinson’s last trip as a Dodger before retiring, a group of 1937 telegrams from teams to Tommy Henrich after he was declared a free agent by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis, and a collection of 1936 Olympics baseball memorabilia from the estate of Paul Amen, who later went on to a baseball and football coaching career at West Point and Wake Forest.
From 1999 to 2008, Dunbar served as director of Sotheby’s Collectibles department – sales highlights include the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium on Grand Opening Day, 1923, for $1.25 million; the 1919 agreement selling Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees for $996,000; the Boston Garden parquet floor center court Leprechaun logo for $332,000; and the Heisman Trophy original mold for $248,000.
Since its inception in 1996, Dunbar has been a participating appraiser on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, with more than 45 filmed segments and more than 2,000 verbal appraisals.
In 2008, Dunbar founded her own business, Leila Dunbar LLC, preparing insurance, estate tax and donation appraisals. Clients include the United States Golf Association (USGA), the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, Floyd Mayweather Jr., the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Tammy Wynette Estate, Sotheby’s, Bank of America and Lloyd’s of London, as well as numerous private clients. Dunbar recently was a featured speaker at the 2010 International Society of Appraisers Conference held in Toronto, giving a presentation the “Wild and Wacky World of Appraising Sports and Entertainment Memorabilia.” The talk will also be featured as a Webinar later this year. She also recently contributed articles on historic Olympic memorabilia and “Odd Celebrity Memorabilia” to the Antiques Roadshow Insider.
Registration is $165 for participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program and $175 for all others. For more information and a schedule of registration fees, contact Hall of Fame Librarian Jim Gates at 607-547-0311.