Marshall Fogel: Grand Slam Baseball Memorabilia Collector

Marshall Fogel

Marshall Fogel heard a variety of colorful names when he began amassing his collection of baseball memorabilia. In the days before sports collecting was a five billion dollar industry, not many of those names were very flattering.

“Now they just call me eccentric,” smiles Fogel on the front porch of his home, guitar within easy reach by his side. 

A more appropriate title for Fogel might be the Sultan of Swag as owner of arguably one of the most valuable baseball memorabilia collections this side of Cooperstown.

Marshall FogelFirst in the Batter’s Box: The Collection

Fogel rekindled his love for America’s pastime in 1989 when he walked into a sports memorabilia convention in Chicago and left with the first of what would become hundreds of artifacts.

Over the next three decades, the collection grew to tell the history of the game with items ranging from the Cincinnati Red Stockings to Derek Jeter.

In what can best be described as a heavenly collection that emerged from an Iowa cornfield, you’ll find an original print of Babe Ruth’s hand, original images of Jackie Robinson and Cy Young, and game-used gloves worn by Sandy Koufax and Pete Rose.

Lest we forget the mirror formerly owned by Joe DiMaggio that the Yankee Clipper hung on the hallway wall of his San Franciscan apartment. That mirror came with an original photo of DiMaggio, depicting Joltin’ Joe gazing into his own reflection.

And so much more.

That’s in addition to hundreds of autographed game-used bats originally wielded by members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and players of note throughout history.

The Mick

Fogel hit a grand slam when he purchased a piece of baseball card collecting lore, adding a pair of PSA 9 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie cards to his collection.

Marshall FogelHe eventually used the sale of those two Mantle rookie cards to purchase a GEM MNT version of the same 1952 Mickey Mantle — Fogel’s favorite player.

The card is one of just three in known existence and is considered just as valuable, if not more than the 1909 Honus Wagner T206, which is widely considered the other holy grail of baseball cards because of their rarity.

There are only three GEM MNT 10 versions of the 1952 Mickey Mantle in the world. Fogel’s GEM MNT 10 Mantle is considered the “Holy Grail” of the three cards because of its color, sharp cornering and perfect center.

Today, Marshall’s 1952 Mantle is valued in the market around $12 million and finds itself protected by the watchful eye of armed guards when displayed in public.

Not that Fogel needs much protection. After all, the former deputy district attorney spent a week during the summer of 2009 training with the Israeli army as part of an exclusive program open to few outsiders.

If someone were to get past Fogel, they’ll have to contend with his good friend and former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Evan Mathis — who sold his Mint PSA 9 1952 Mantle for $2.88 million in the spring of 2018.

Seventh Inning Stretch: In Pictures

Marshall FogelAs Fogel’s collection expanded, so did his interest in photography. In particular, original images that captured the essence of the game. With the addition of each new original Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth photographs to his collection, Fogel’s passion for original Type1 images only grew.

It was Fogel’s authentication process that essentially created the market and industry for original Type1 sports photography, including a patenting process.

In 2005, he teamed with Khyber Oser and Henry Yee to publish a book that offers a definitive history of baseball told through photos, news-services and the photographers themselves. Check out “A Portrait of Baseball Photography” on hobbyDB by clicking here. Fogel’s love of the pen also inspired him to author a book on World War II on Major General Maurice Rose.

Bring in the Closer: Collecting Tips

When it comes to building your collection, Fogel recommends collecting horizontally, as opposed to vertically.

That means a fan should choose four or five of their favorite players or teams and collect the best items related to those subjects.

A fan of the New York Giants, for example, can focus on subjects such as Willie Mays, Christy Mathewson or Mel Ott and find the best items of those players that their collecting budget will allow.

“You have to know your history,” Fogel says, while showcasing a framed piece dedicated to Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, better known as the Babe Ruth Called Shot game.

Marshall FogelThe Ruth piece is one of many that features a Type 1 original photo and is accompanied by several other items, such as an original ticket stub, game program or some other artifact from the event.

None of the pieces come pre-packaged together, explains the self-professed “addict for condition.” Pieces such as these can take years, patience and more than a fair share of diligence to comprise the snapshot of history that it is today.

“You can’t rely on third party info for validation,” added Fogel, “It’s always great to get the back story on this stuff.”

Hall of Fame Road Trip

Fogel’s collection doesn’t remain locked away in some basement.

He routinely sends items for display at museums, such as the Yankee Stadium Museum. That’s where you’ll find one of Fogel’s personal favorite items, one of the last bats ever used by Lou Gehrig.

Fogel’s “Play Ball” gallery — along with the Mickey Mantle rookie card — went on display in the summer of 2018 at the History Colorado Center in honor of the Colorado Rockies’ 25th anniversary.

His collection is meant to be shared, examined and admired. For Fogel, the true wealth lies in the humanity of the sport and its parallel with the everyday man.

“You can see the personality on this bat,” Fogel says while showing off the nails and scuff marks that pockmark a bat swung by Ty Cobb several lifetimes ago.

Fogel has essentially retired from adding more items to his collection. These days he’s content to sit back and soak in the words passed on by Gehrig himself on that fabled 1938 bat to a kid named Jerry.

“May you use this to better advantage than I did.”

Rest easy, Iron Horse, your bat is in trusted hands.

Fogel and hobbyDB

The admiration shared between Marshall Fogel and hobbyDB is a mutual one based on our respect for each other’s craft.

A resource such as hobbyDB has been long-awaited, says Fogel, who is enthusiastic about helping out with advice on sports memorabilia and more.


Article by Christopher C. Wuensch

Marshall Fogel

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Stake Your Claim in the Collector-Verse – Become a Shareholder today!

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At hobbyDB, it has always been our mission to create the ultimate resource for collectors and fans worldwide. A place where you can explore, track, and celebrate your passions, while connecting with like-minded geeks, builders, and enthusiasts who love all the same things that you do. Thanks to the support of the hobbyDB community, we’ve made giant leaps forward in creating a home for the collectors everywhere and with your help, are about to take things to the next level. 

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Comments (2 Comments)
Bud Kalland

If only it were 15 years sooner. :(

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Furby Finds a New Home in hobbyDB Furbies Database

furby gameboy

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

In another big step towards becoming the definitive source of info for anything and everything collectible, hobbyDB has added Furby to our database. As in every single variant of Furby ever made. The Furbies Database includes over 200 of them. The talking ones, baby ones, video games, and accessories.

Furby first appeared in 1998, just in time to become THE holiday toy craze of the year. Furbies are sort of a cross between a hamster and an owl in colors both loudly whimsical or inspired by nature.

furby first generationThe big appeal, of course, was that they not only talked but learned and interacted with the owner and other users. In fact, despite their partly invented speech (called Furbish), they were programmed with a real vocabulary, translated to 24 different languages worldwide. Over 40 million of them were sold by Tiger Electronics in three years. Baby Furbies appeared in 1999 with higher voices and an increase in cuteness.

furby gizmoThe National Security Agency banned them from government offices, however, fearing they could be used as recording devices, even though they didn’t have that capability. (So in a way, Furby predicted Alexa and other modern household devices). Also, the makers of the Gremlins movies sued them over the design at one point. They managed to work things out doing a special Gizmo themed Furby at one point.

And then in 2000, they just sort of stopped. But not for long.

furby second generationfurby chewbaccaHasbro revived the brand from 2005-07, with some upgraded features. They began speaking only Furbish, but “learned” new words in English (or their new native tongue depending on where they were sold), and replaced the old with the new. They also had more expressive facial features due to more sophisticated robotics.

One of the great things about the Furby listings on hobbyDB is that our database connects them with other brands and characters, such as the Furby-powered Star Wars characters or Garbage Pail Kids cards.

furby generation 3Furby has since come back in 2012, this time to stay. Hasbro once again upgraded the expressiveness through eyes (and ears) that could show additional emotion, as well as an expanded vocabulary. There is also an online component, which is the sort of thing the NSA once again raised their eyebrows at.

The current run of Furby is the longest in their two-decade history. We have them all online at hobbyDB, and we (along with all of you fans) will keep it up to date with new developments.

Of course, we know there are always collectors who might know just a bit more than we do, so if you can think of one we haven’t listed in the Furbies Database, please add it for us.

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The Loyal Subjects and hobbyDB team up!

Collectibles company The Loyal Subjects is our newest partner to open its kingdom doors and create a Brand Archive

loyal subjects night king

Founded in 2009 by Jonathan Cathey, The Loyal Subjects celebrates a decade of artistically crafting nuanced collectibles in the name of promoting culture, story-telling and, of course, fun.  

We’ll be working together and with TLS community to create a database detailing every TLS item ever produced. It will highlight the brand’s wide variety of licenses — from Aliens to WWE and all your favorite characters between.

loyal subjects slimerIn addition to the Archive, fans will be able to manage their own collection and wishlists, find out the prices of many of TLS’s retired items, showcase their collections to others and buy and sell. In fact adding items from the database to your collection, such as the four-foot fiberglass Raphael (TMNT) or the How to Train Your Dragon’s Human and Dragon bundle, is as easy as the click of a button. Working very closely with the TLS community, hobbyDB will update the database as new items are introduced. If you’re a huge TLS fan and want to get involved, just email us to let us know!

loyal subjects boneshakerAlso included is the newly launched 2019 SDCC exclusives. Among the 18 new convention items are figures dedicated to characters such as the Game of Thrones’ Night King, Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, as well as a commemorative Hot Wheels Bone Shaker.

loyal subjects how to train your dragon

Check out the TLS Archive here and let us know what you think!

loyal subjects stay puft

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Sindy coming to America (and changing its Advertising Agency)!

Charlie Rosner started an ad agency with Harvey Herman in the early 80s which had a lot of unexpected results and here he is sharing some of interest to the hobbyDB readership. Here are his Musings.

Our very first account was the venerable Marx Toys, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, where in future years I would spend a lot of time, have several clients, make some close friends, even do work for a Stamford city agency called The Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, a town where Joanie Rosner recently moved.

Marx was most famous for children’s tin toys, but it happened to be owned by a British firm called Dumbee Combex Marx, Ltd. A DCM subsidiary Pedigree Dolls & Toys had launched and made a great success out of an 11” fashion doll called Sindy, the English equivalent of Barbie, although a complete opposite of Barbie in every imaginable way.

When the Brits decided to try selling Sindy in the US, it happened that Harvey Herman was living and working in Los Angeles, freelancing as a marketing consultant. And he had developed a friendship with a man who had spent his life in the children’s toy business. His name was Larry Aledort. Larry was just a terrific guy, and when Marx asked Larry to recommend someone to help them launch Sindy in the US, Larry recommended Harvey.

Harvey knew nothing about children’s toys, but he was as savvy marketing guy as one could ever hope to work with- who had graduated with a degree in chemistry but quickly decided his future ought to be on Madison Avenue. He became an expert at what they called sales promotion, and could pretty much figure out how to do anything.

Harvey had been my boss, at Smith Greenland Advertising, and when he moved to California he asked me to help him with an account called Merns Clothing. I was a Group Creative Director at Lord Geller Federico at the time, but Dick Lord gave me permission to make a few extra bucks and help Harvey out. So when Harvey asked me to help him with Sindy, I non-shalantly said “sure, Harv.” Talk about “tipping points.

Honestly, Harvey did all of the work. I did almost nothing, except for one TV commercial I did with Harvey. We developed a positioning for Sindy as the wholesome alternative to Barbie, who was the 11.5” version of Marilyn Monroe. And boys, honestly, it was not a great commercial. But the Charlie Morrow jingle was nice.

One of the brochures for the US launch

Sindy clicked with mom’s, and eventually their daughters, and over the next year, Sindy became the first doll to take a significant share of market out of Mattel’s Barbie. It was a big deal in the world of toys, and Marx Toys invited Harvey to open an in-house advertising agency. We talked it over, but Harvey was a bit of a maverick and iconoclast, and so we told Marx no, but we’d open an advertising agency in Manhattan to handle it.

Harvey was eleven years older than me, and a much more sophisticated business person, but honestly neither one of us really knew what we getting into. Marx Toys was a big account. It was being handled by the gigantic McCann Ericson.

Marx Toys US President, Bob Butler asked us what we’d need to start our shop. I think in retrospect he meant how much cash did we need before we would open a shop, but Harvey, perhaps in an instant of pure unthinking bravado, just said “…just pay us exactly what you’ve been paying McCann.

They were paying McCann $33,000. A month, plus 17.65% markup on production, which translated into an additional $5,000. To us, it seemed like a fortune. Of course, we had no offices, no staff, not lawyers or accountants, zip. And there was a boatload of work to be done- over a dozen TV commercials, six brochures, all of the designs for a Toy Fair showroom, all just six months away. But Harvey and I were always very prolific, se we figured “ what, what’s the big deal?”

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