Today, as part of JewishSportsCollectible's profiles of Jewish World Series Most Valuable Player Award winners, we look at some of the trading cards and memorabilia of Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Famer pitcher who won the World Series Most Valuable Player in 1963 and 1965.
Collectors seeking Koufax cardboard have a wide variety of options.
Beckett.com lists 947 different Koufax cards in its online checklists. The Koufax card catalogue includes dozens of modern commemoratives that book for a few bucks, as well as vintage pasteboard and modern autograph inserts that can set you back thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.
- Koufax's Topps 1955 rookie and 1956 cards. Both feature beautiful designs and were among Topps' "All Time Fan Favorites" cards, as mentioned in a previous JSC.com posting.
Expect to pay big bucks for these cards, if you value high grades. Pristine Koufax pasteboard has gaveled for $40,000+, according to the Sports Collectors Digest Auction Database.
- The 2000 Upper Deck issued the Brooklyn Dodgers "Master Collection," a limited edition,15-card set numbered to 250 and 11 memorabilia chase cards.
The Koufax memorabilia card (LOF 11) includes an action shot of Koufax in full windup, over the exterior of Ebbett's Field. It includes an autograph and a swatch of one of the hall of famer's game-used jerseys. The card sells for $800-$1,800 on eBay.
- Artist Gary Joseph Cieradkowski's "Infinite Baseball Card Set" includes two uniquely designed Koufax cards. A 2010 University of Cincinnati card was subjected to a cease and desist order by the university. Does anyone have an image of this card?
Cierdkowski's second Koufax card, which features the pitcher in his high school Coney Island Parkviews' uniform, is part of the debut issue of 21: The Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball. The magazine includes illustrated cards for 14 Jewish athletes (Kaplan's Korner reviewed the magazine in April 2011; JewishSportsCollectibles.com will offer a review of the magazine and cards in the near future) is available for $25 and can be ordered from the artist's website.
Koufax also has a card in the 2003 debut Jewish Major Leaguers card set. His card is, in fact, the first in the set (JML 2003, #1). Like the lefty's other cardboard, the Koufax JML single commands a premium. The standard issue card sells for nearly $20 on eBay. Collectors should expect to pay as much as $65 for the gold limited edition card.
Despite the southpaw's notable public reclusiveness, there is no shortage of Koufax autographed baseballs on the market, for collectors wanting to put a signed orb on their mantle or in their display case.
Steiner Sports (fair warning: you'll inexcusably, in my opinion, be required to enter your email address in order to view the Steiner website!) offers five varieties of Koufax autographed balls, including signed balls with World Series, Perfect Game and Cy Young inscriptions, for $500-$1,000.
Amazon.com sellers offer more than 150 different Koufax autographed baseballs, including those offered by Steiner, Upper Deck and balls authenticated by James Spence and PSA/DNA. Cost varies widely by seller and inscription, but expect to pay at least $300.
Koufax signed jerseys -- both autographed and unsigned -- are also available on Amazon.com. Unsigned replica jerseys start at $75. Mounted Memories offers Koufax autographed jerseys -- including Mitchell & Ness home and away jerseys with a variety of inscriptions -- both on its site and Amazon. Prices range from $800-$1,000.
Vintage Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers team- and multi-signed jerseys, balls and bats occasionally come up for regularly bid at the marquee action houses. Given collector demand and the other Hall of Famers on the Dodgers squad, these always realize premium prices.
Koufax's signed 1966 World Series game-used leather -- which the pitcher autographed, inscribed and gifted to umpire Doug Harvey -- hammered for $107,550 during Heritage Auction Galleries' April 23-24, 2009 sale.
One of Koufax's signed, 1957 game-worn Brooklyn Dodgers road jersey gaveled for $77,675 during the September 11, 2004 sale by Heritage. A jersey like this would almost certainly realize more money now than it did 7 years ago, despite today's bleak economy.
If you like your collectibles hanging on the wall, there are numerous Koufax photos and artwork available for purchase.
Steiner Sports offers 15 Koufax photos. Expect to pay between $699-$1,400 for the unframed, autographed, 16X20 black and white images.
The same Steiner memorabilia is also available on Amazon.com. Purchasing through the Internet superstore can save budget-crunched collectors a few sheckels (as much as $150!).
Also available on Amazon.com are several Upper Deck Authenticated images of the southpaw, including the signed photo of Koufax celebrating his fourth no hitter shown to the right above.
Koufax is also the subject of a well-known Leroy Neiman serigraph, pictured at right. Expect to pay $2,000-$6,000 on eBay for the print. Collectors with modest budgets can occassionaly find promotional postcards for the serigraph for about $10 on eBay .
The Hall of Famer has been pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated six times, as detailed in this previous JewishSportsCollectibles posting. Originals, some autographed, can be found on Amazon.com and eBay. Sports Illustrated's Classic Cover Collection sells reproductions.
For Jewish collectors who prefer their memorabilia hardbound, Koufax is featured in hundreds of books.
Koufax is also graces the pages of Day by Day in Jewish Sports History, The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players and is the cover photo on The Big Book of Jewish Baseball and Jews and Baseball: Volume 2, The Post-Greenberg Years, 1949-2008.
I've touched on just a few of the tomes in which Koufax is the subject. Amazon.com lists 1,3254 titles for Koufax. What books do you have on your shelf? What's your favorite Koufax book?
Last but not least, Koufax is featured prominently in the documentary film Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story. The movie (check out the JSC.com review) includes vintage game footage of Koufax and a rare interview with the pitcher. Collectors can purchase the DVD from JewishMajorLeaguers.org or on the documentary's website, which also offers posters, baseball caps, t-shirts and other tchotchkes.
Koufax is considered hobby royalty, by both Jewish and non-Jewish baseball collectors. No doubt, this posting has overlooked and omitted some of the Hall of Famer's memorabilia. What have I missed?
What's your most valued Koufax collectible? Have you been fortunate enough to have meet the hall of famer in the past? Do you have a Koufax signature in your autograph collection?
Leave a comment below to share with JewishSportsCollectibles.com readers.
I'd hoped to complete all of the profiles of the Jewish World Series MVPs during the World Series. This review of Sandy Koufax's collectibles took longer than expected, however, given the breadth of his available memorabilia.
While it may publish after the Series is over (come on Feldman and Kinsler!), stay tuned for a posting in the coming days on the cards and memorabilia of Steve Yeager -- who converted to Judaism after his career.