Detroit Institute of Arts to Exhibit Rare Baseball Cards


Just as Major League Baseball season is getting ready to start next month, the Detroit Institute of Arts will be getting into the swing of things.

“Play Ball: Baseball at the DIA” is an exhibition of rare baseball cards and memorabilia that will open March 29.

The exhibition features artworks from the DIA’s collection, as well as artifacts from the Rochester-based E. Powell Miller collection.

A highlight of the exhibit is a collection of more than 500 very rare baseball cards, known as the T206 White Border Set, produced in color lithography and released between 1909 and 1911 by the American Tobacco Company.

According to the DIA, “Miller’s collection is noted for its rarity and superlative condition and according to Professional Sports Authenticator, is ranked third in the world.”

The Miller T206 collection includes a Joe Doyle “error card” as well as the coveted and extremely rare Honus Wagner Card. On Oct. 1, 2016, a similar Wagner card was sold by Goldin Auctions for $3.2 million.

The DIA exhibition will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Tigers’ 1968 World Series championship. To celebrate the milestone, the DIA will feature vintage material from the Miller collection, including Tiger baseball cards, programs, and other publications as well as Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline’ autographed bat.

“In the Ancient Greek Olympic games, arts and sports shared both venue and excitement. Contests to be the best poet or the fastest runner were equally competitive and celebrated.” says Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “Like in the Olympic Games, the DIA will be a venue to celebrate the creativity of arts and sports. Families and sports fans on their way to a game will be able to discover great art featuring baseball themes and pieces of Detroit Tigers history. The DIA is more than a museum.”

Admission to the museum and the “Play Ball” exhibition is free for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County residents and DIA members. For all others, admission is $14 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 62+, $8 for college students, and $6 for ages 6-17.

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