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I recently inherited a Zimmer's Baseball Game from 1893 in excellent condition (besides missing the bat it almost looks new - I'll post a picture tonight). I am not a collector, but from what my father told me I understand this game is very rare. My father picked it up at a farm auction maybe 20 years ago, and I know before he died he told a memoriabilia auctioneer he owned one, and the auctioneer didn't believe him!
Can anyone here be kind enough to tell be how to go about selling this, and about how much it would sell for?
pictures are below
If you know anything about the three other items (Utica Baseball Scorecard (NY, International, American and National League (Christy Mathewson got the win for NY)), National Baseball Trade Game, or the autographed Negro League Legends (#75/250 on 4/93), please let me know.
This message has been edited by MurphyBrooks on Feb 20, 2008 9:56 PM This message has been edited by MurphyBrooks on Feb 20, 2008 9:29 PM
The Zimmer game is exceedingly rare and valuable. It is the king of all baseball board games...I'm not sure what it would sell for nowadays, but it is surely in the 5 figures. Also not sure when the last one sold.
Can't wait to see your pics of the game.
edited to add: It's too late to get it into the REA and Mastro April auctions as far as I know and either of those venues would be your best bet as to where to sell it. Make sure you negotiate a 0% consignor fee if you go with an auction house.
This message has been edited by slidekellyslide on Feb 20, 2008 3:35 PM
The Zimmer Game is the finest of all baseball board games, and the most valuable. It's hurts it somewhat that the bat is missing, but more importantly, how clean is the game's surface? Are all the player portraits clear? That is probably the most important factor.
Murphy, great item, thanks for the pics. It's in exceptionally nice shape, the broken bat notwithstanding -- that should be an easy and inexpensive bit of restoration, so it should have next to zero impact on any auction price. Whether Zimmer's is the finest of all games is very much a matter of taste and opinion (we'd say it's the T206 Wagner of games, with all that implies), but Barry's right, the overall condition is key and yours is exemplary. Five figures should be a shoo-in.
We've seen or heard of only one reasonably complete example selling in the last eight years, and that one -- nice, but not as sweet as yours -- fetched $10,440. at REA not quite three years ago. Two sold at Hunt in the late '90s, but we don't have details on their condition. One brought $7,500. The other went off at $27,500. REA, Hunt, Mastro, or Lelands would be your target venue.
No opinion on the Utica scorecard nor the Negro Legends item, but the National punchboard, while collectible, is probably not a big-ticket number. Some rare or elaborately illustrated punchboards can reach or top $200., but this one's a sort of generic piece that would probably go for $20.-$40. tops. Just our opinion.
From the pictures the game appears to be in exceptionally fine condition. As to its value, it is a classic auction piece. To my knowledge there have been no transactions of high condition Zimmer games in a good several years. As noted, the bat should be restored. What impact that will have on its value is hard to say but IMO it will have some impact. The one Hunt sold some years ago for 27.5k, besides also being in exceptional condition (though not as nice as what your's appears to be) also I believe came with the box lid (and in very nice condition at that) which is very unusual. Shortly after the Hunt sale one sold privately (again in exceptional condition with the box lid and with some of the game pieces) for a price around what Hunt realized.
I might add that missing the bat can from a certain perspective be regarded as having ADDED value to your game. Often times these games appear with tremendous wear around both the pitching and the batting mechanisms. After all, if was a game meant to be played and every time a ball was pitched or the bat swung a tiny bit of degragation was generated on the board service. Without the bat, the game could not be played thereby preventing this degragation from occuring. Yes, not having the bat will most likely reduce the price somewhat. But that reduction, due to the tremendous eye appeal of the board, IMO will probably be considerably less than the reduction had there been material wear on areas of the board surface.
That is a true treasure my friend. To think that game is some 115 years old and shows so little wear and has such vibrant colors is really amazing, especially considering it was intended to be played with. As Corey said, the fact that the bat is missing may be a blessing in disguise as it probably kept the game from being used much, in turn preserving its condition. Get the bat repleaced, send it to REA, and cash in on the small fortune its worth. Congrats.
I talked to Robert Edward Auctions, and they are excited to be able to squeeze the Zimmer Game into their April Auction. They told me it was the best example they've ever seen - better than the one they gave to the Hall of Fame.
This message has been edited by MurphyBrooks on Feb 21, 2008 12:38 PM
Congrats Murphy on a great piece, and $getting$ it into REA last minuteůyouĺve contributed some excitement to our hobby! We were just discussing Zimmers not long ago, in a Nov 9th 2007 string, link below:
Murphy - Where do you work? I live in Westfield - a stones throw from REA. Maybe I can come over one night and we can play the game He He. That is if I can ever dig my car out from all this snow we are getting.
Just want to add that this board game is an incredible piece! Congrats and good luck with the auction.
Also, I provided a link to sports collectors daily which has a small youtube video on it. On the video, a collector shares his collection, which includes a Zimmer Baseball game. He actually shows it and talks in brief about the history of this board game.
Bruce didn't pull a fast one on the school teacher. It took a four year campaign which should have been plenty of time for the guy to seek out someone willing to pay more. Furthermore, the school teacher actually got a higher return on the card than Bruce did.
i wonder what year the bruces purchased the card? my guess it was longer than 20 years ago and maybe the teacher did shop the card around.remember even a 52 mantle was under a grand back then. $1400 for a family of 4 to fly it had to be awhile ago.
Good point, Dennis. I'll also point out that the school teacher must have known that card had some value even before Bruce contacted him. Why else would news of the purchase have appeared in a newspaper/magazine article? Seems like it might have been him that pulled a fast one on the original seller.
Bruce, I'm glad I viewed this video. You seem to be a likabe, normal guy and the writing style is just a harmless eccentricity. I have several myself.
I do have a question about one thing you said in the video, however: Mathewson over the Big Train? If you were just talking NL then I'll change the question to: Mathewson over Pete Alexander?
Apologies for not following up more promptly on the news of the discovery of another example of Zimmer's Base Ball Game. We received photos from one of the owners, who asked us to post them on our own website. Indeed we have those posted there ("had" them posted, by the time most of you read this), and were just about to post a couple of those shots in this thread as well when the ownership contacted us again and asked us to remove them, thinking their presence might undermine the REA auction of Murphy's Zimmer's.
Very well, that will be done momentarily. We can say, however (and feel at some liberty to say, since the pics were already viewable for a couple of days), that the Missouri Zimmer's is, in our opinion, definitely on a par with Murphy's in terms of overall condition. The Missouri example -- glossy finish to the gameboard, no stains nor any apparent wear whatsoever but for a tiny bit of paper loss near the bat -- has an intact bat and features both (what appear to be original) wooden balls, as well as a few extra bits which may or not belong to the game. The most significant flaw is with the pitcher-plunger device, which is missing the pull-back dowel that propels the ball but could easily be replaced (the rest of the mechanism is present and functioning).
We're told that the institution's board of directors has made no decision as to whether or not to sell the game, in the near future or ever, considering it may be better kept as an attraction and central feature among its other antique games and furnishings.
It's a thoughtful decision to pull the game from your website, but the one in REA will do great either way. The appearance of two at the same time wouldn't have much of an effect on the realized price.