Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mystery Regional Rarity: 1961 Gold Mine Bucks

One of the rarest regionals of the early 1960s is a (possible) series of Gold Mine Bucks issued by an ice cream novelty company, possibly in Milwaukee, in 1961.

Little is known about this issue of "play money" bills. In recent years, only a single example of the issue has been seen -- Nellie Fox. One of the big questions about the issue is whether the other possible players were ever issued in this format.

The piece is about 5-5/8" x 3-1/8" and is printed in black on gold paper. According to the back, the "note" could be redeemed, along with the wrappers from three ice cream/frozen novelties and $1, for an "autographed" t-shirt and a baseball cap.

A list of players on the back of the note MAY be a checklist for notes that were issued, or it may be just a list of the player t-shirts available.

If these players WERE issued on the play money bills, it is unknown whether they are in denominations or colors other than the gold "400 Bucks" with Nellie Fox.

The Nellie Fox note was first spotted in a 2008 Huggins & Scott auction, where it was included in a lot of 39 "Hall of Fame" regional cards and oddball player memorabilia. The lot sold for about $1,500.

Since then it (or perhaps another example) has surfaced in an SGC-certified slab being offered for $1,200 by a Wisconsin dealer.

Proof that this was actually a multi-player issue will have to await the confirmation of a note of any player other than Fox. Here's the list as printed on the back of the note.

1 Jim Lemon

2 Norm Larker
3 Willie Mays
4 Norm Siebern
5 Ernie Banks
6 Pete Runnels
7 Gus Bell
8 Harvey Kuenn
9 Roger Maris
10 Ron Hansen
11 Rocky Colavito
12 Nellie Fox
13 Dick Groat
14 Ernie Broglio
15 Warren Spahn
16 Robin Roberts
17 Mike McCormick
18 Jim Perry

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