"Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century."
– Mickey Mantle
Born the eighth of nine children to Italian immigrants on November 25, 1714, Joseph Paul DiMaggio, nicknamed Joltin’ Joe, took the Major League Baseball world by storm, becoming one of the most legendary men to ever play the game in MLB history, routinely filling the Yankee stadium with adoring fans.
The New York Yankees’ center fielder and Baseball Hall of Famer enjoyed an honor-studded 13-year career with the franchise, including but not limited to becoming an All-Star each season during All-Star games, a three-time winner of the Most Valuable Player Award, and his greatest achievement - his 56-game hitting streak record that still stands today in Major League Baseball history.
With all of his tremendous sports career achievements, such as winning multiple American league MVP awards, it’s no wonder that the personal effects of the great Yankee Clipper command such incredible attention and fame by lovers of baseball, sports and unique Americana. M.S. Rau Antiques is proud to have on offer some fascinating objects owned by DiMaggio – objects that serve as a fitting homage to one of the most popular figures in modern American history.
Created by the illustrious Cartier, this elegant sterling silver tray was given to DiMaggio in 1984 by the New York Yankees in commemoration of his 70th birthday. DiMaggio led the franchise to nine World Series games and won 10 American League pennants, honors that forever positioned the Yankees as one of the top teams in the American League in all of baseball history. Though DiMaggio played for them for a brief 13-year span from 1936 to 1951, the Yankees never lost sight of the tremendous contributions the Yankee Clipper made in the history of the team.
Another exquisite birthday present, DiMaggio received this watch from Harrah’s Casino in 1967 in commemoration of his 50th birthday. The timepiece was created by the Swiss watchmaking firm of Sylvan Kocher & Cie. under their Eska brand and incorporates a rare 1912 U.S. $10 gold coin punctuated by a fine leather band. The façade adorned with the feathered head-dressed profile of a Native American opens to reveal a sleek watch face. The interior side of the façade is engraved “Happy 50th Joe / Harrahs” while the rear of the watch face is further inscribed “Happy 50th to Joe from Harrahs”. A certificate of authenticity signed by the late great’s grandchildren accompanies this watch.
DiMaggio’s relationship with Harrah’s Entertainment continued throughout his retirement, as the company often compensated the baseball great to make promotional appearances to bolster Harrah’s image and gifted him numerous tokens of appreciation over the years. Along with the gold watch, this wonderful desk clock with weather indicators is just such a piece. Gifted to DiMaggio for his participation in Harrah’s 1967 invitational golf tournament, this Swiss timepiece was retailed by Relide of New York and features a brass cube form that rotates to show four different indicators: a clock, a thermometer, a barometer and even a hygrometer to measure humidity. The top of the clock bears the engraving "Harrah's Invitational 1967 Joe DiMaggio". This clock is also accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity.
Golf was a favorite pastime for DiMaggio throughout his later years, and he often participated in charitable golf tournaments as a means of philanthropy. This money clip was given to DiMaggio for his participation in the 1972 National Italian Invitational Open charity golf tournament. The brass presentation piece has the central inset of a golfer atop an inset white diamond, all of which are surrounded by the words “1972 Italian Invitational Open Joe DiMaggio”. This clip too comes with a signed letter of authenticity.
Though not owned by the baseball legend himself, this touching image of DiMaggio and his son attending the funeral of his former wife Marilyn Monroe speaks to the genuine and profound individual he was. This silver gelatin print is signed and numbered by the talented photographer who shot it, the great Lawrence Schiller. Even after their divorce, DiMaggio held a special place in his heart for the Hollywood starlet, with many speculating the pair may have rekindled their romance shortly before her untimely passing. Poignant and immensely intimate, this photograph strips DiMaggio of his sports-centric ballplayer persona and presents the unfiltered image of a heartbroken man in mourning.
The effects presented here give insight into a man who was so much more than a great ballplayer. His mere presence commanded the fame and admiration of generations of Americans who respected not only his skills, hitting streak, and home runs on the ball field, but also his generous character and heart. These authentic objects present the collector with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire the incredible personal effects of a truly great American.