Measuring 14x21 and numbered out of 1,000. Art by Robert Stephen Simon. NM condition overall with "9-10" signatures. Auction LOA from JSA. Individual COAs from Everett Cope.
The Cope Collection
Back in those early glory years of Hall of Famer signing sessions, when giants like Mantle, Williams and Musial still roamed the autograph circuit, a Montana businessman and rancher by the name of Everett "Ev" Cope forged his distinct legacy on the collecting hobby. Obsessed from an early age with compiling the most complete statistical records of major-league ballplayers, Cope had long spent all his available free time poring over Sporting News publications, squirreling himself away in the baseball sections of public libraries, and pounding out stat cards on an old Underwood typewriter. This exhaustive records research transformed from a fervent passion to a fledgling profession after Ev made the acquaintance of Harmon Killebrew at a cattle meeting in the mid-1970s. Once Killebrew glimpsed Cope's career file on him, the future HOFer declared that he'd never seen—let alone imagined—such a comprehensive analysis of his lifetime numbers.
Several years later, with Harm's encouragement, Cope officially took his pet project to the next level by creating a prototype display plaque exclusively for Ted Williams, combining a Splendid Splinter statistical sheet with a commissioned portrait lithograph by artist Ward Cambridge. Williams was thrilled with the result...and thus the Cope Collection was born. The 1980s saw Ev steadily building an enterprise, first from his home down a dirt road near the rural outpost of Three Forks, and later from an office-turned-storefront in downtown Bozeman. The all-encompassing venture took him from Yankee Stadium to Cooperstown to the Sporting News St. Louis headquarters and beyond as he finalized all the myriad details. Meanwhile, Cope parlayed his knowledge and experience into a 7-year tenure as the chair of SABR's Records Committee, as well as produced a popular monthly records newsletter called Roundin' Third.
By 1989, Cope's company produced a lavish sales catalog of numerous signed limited-edition showpieces incorporating the trademark stat plaques and portrait lithos by artists Cambridge, John Wolf and Robert Stephen Simon. Testimonials in the catalog included Williams ("I think your idea is great."); Killebrew ("I think you did an outstanding job!"); Musial ("The plaque says it all!"); and Warren Spahn ("A remarkable job!"). The Cope Collection featured three different series styles—"Career Record Art," "Great Events of Baseball History" and "50th Anniversary Hall of Fame Induction 1939-1989"—all of which sold well in their heyday yet have rarely turned up on the auction block since. In August 2007, however, Cope released the first part of his remaining inventory backstock, highlighted by a large group of 200 Mantle litho posters by Robert Stephen Simon that fetched over $36,000.
Now we are proud to present additional installments of the Cope Collection, continuing the cavalcade of stars with hundreds of signed prints and several original artworks. We thank Ev Cope for bestowing such gifts upon the hobby when he first dreamed up this ambitious project 40 years ago, and for selecting Huggins & Scott Auctions as the venue for bringing more of his wonderful collection to market.