Reader Jeff Reichenberger is a big baseball fan as well as a numismatic nut. Since it's World Series time he wrote an article about baseball/numismatic items. He shared with us this part of the article, which describes his favorite item of ephemera. Play ball! -EditorMy favorite baseball / numismatic ephemera combination comes in published form. The 1936 World Series featured cross town rivals, the New York Giants against the New York Yankees. The Giants fielded the likes of future Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Bill Terry and the Yankees were shouldered by the great Lou Gehrig and an upstart rookie named Joe DiMaggio.
But the real star of the series (at least in my eyes) was the 1936 World Series Official Program, which featured cover art prominently displaying the reverse of the buffalo nickel. Grant Powers was the artist who created the cover. A veteran of both WWI and WWII, he is most noted for his WWII watercolor paintings of Bikini Atoll naval battles in the Pacific. Several of his works are displayed in the Naval Historical Center in Washington D.C. Exactly how he came upon the commission to paint the World Series program cover is undetermined.
The artwork is layered, so to speak; in the foreground are the home plate umpire, the catcher, and the batter who appears to have just stroked a base hit. Immediately in front of the batter, is the larger than life buffalo nickel rising up from the pitchers position in the middle of the diamond. Behind the nickel is the darkened silhouette of the New York skyline in front of an orange night sky.
The wording in the lower left reads; .World Series .Giants vs Yankees- 1936., and to the right .Official Program 25c.. The legends .United States of America. and .E Pluribus Unum. appear on the nickel along with the bison. I obtained a replica of the program for about $40 on an internet auction site, however, original copies turn up occasionally and usually command $250 -300. A framed copy of the cover makes a great wall piece for the baseball fan / numismatist.
Inside the program is filled with the usual player profiles along with plenty of advertising. It was published by Harry M. Stevens, Inc. of New York. Unfortunately there is not any information about the artist or what may have inspired his choice of the buffalo nickel. It can be surmised he was an admirer of James Earle Fraser.s .all American. coin design and used it as a symbol of .America.s pastime., and he must have been a purist for Fraser.s original design; whereas, Mr. Powers found himself in a unique position to put the buffalo back on the mound.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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