Ask Babe: Valuing archival AP photos, kickers' signatures and more

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 12:31 PM

Babe Waxpak

Dear Babe: From my grandfather's scrapbook, I have Associated Press pictures of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens along with the teletype stories. Joe Louis is on the scales weighing in for a fight with Jack Sharkey who is pictured shaking hands with Louis. It's from Aug. 10, 1936. They are in Yankee Stadium. The Jesse Owens picture refers to his triple win at the Berlin Olympics. It is from Aug. 20, 1936.

-- Dianne Watkins, Jacksonville, Fla.

Babe: Here's another category of collectibles that has taken a hit, thanks to the Internet. In this case, it's because newspapers have been selling off their archived photos because readers aren't looking to them for historic images.

"These AP photos are worth $25 each on average," said Mike Heffner, president of "More and more are hitting the market since newspapers are selling their archives."

Dear Babe: Attached is a 1969 photo with signatures of Mac Percival and Bobby Joe Green of the Chicago Bears. My dad is in the middle of them.

-- Nina Dietz, Hemet, Calif.

Babe: Heffner agreed with me when he said: "I am sure that it is worth much more to the family of the gentleman in the photo. Sentimental value definitely outweighs any monetary value." Pressed to put a value on it, Heffner said $25. Since both players are in "civvies, it's basically two cutsignatures," he said.

There must be a story behind the photo. It's not often you see a shot featuring a team's kickers. In 1969, Green was the Bears punter, while Percival was the team's place kicker. Green enjoyed a 12-year NFL career, while Percival kicked for the bears for seven seasons. Green led the league in punts as a rookie with the Steelers in 1960. He had 64 punts good for 2,829 yards -- a 44.2-yard average. He also had the league's longest punt of 74 yards that year. Percival led the NFL in field goals with 25 in 1968 while with the Bears.

Dear Babe: I have an autographed card signed by the Intimidator himself, the late, great Dale Earnhardt Sr. It's in an 8-by-10-inch picture frame. Alongside the Earnhardt card is an autographed Richard Childress card.

-- Wayne Baracz, Ione, Calif.

Babe: Obviously, the prize here is the Earnhardt Sr. signature. However, it's important to keep in mind that race car drivers are among the most accommodating athletes when it comes to autographs -- and Earnhardt signed for years.

"It's worth $125 to $175 for the piece," said Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert.

Dear Babe: I have a baseball signed by Willie Mays, above that is Barry Bonds and below it is Bobby Bonds. Mays' name is on the sweet spot. It's on an "Official Major League Baseball" with Allan H. Selig as commissioner.

-- Frank Jones, Riverside, Calif.

"I like this ball," said Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions ( "It revolves around Barry (doesn't the world!). There is a family story here with the deceased father and his son along with his godfather."

Taking all that into account, Gutierrez said the ball should fall in the $300-$500 range.

(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or email

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