Sports Memorabilia Discovery Auction

Brooke Friedman

Browse our current online-only sports memorabilia auction featuring: signed baseballs, photographs, ephemera & autographs; and Hall of Fame items, from the collection of Robert R. Burns. Find the perfect unique gift for your favorite fanatic or collector here!

lot 225

Robert R Burns was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1923 and died in Media, PA in 2016, living most of his life in northern Delaware. He was a devoted fan of the Athletics from, as a young boy, their championship seasons, through their hapless years and ultimate departure to Kansas City in the 1950’s. Always more an American League fan than National, the combined collapse of the 1964 Phillies, the risks associated with traveling to north Philly to old Connie Mack Stadium, Robin Roberts becoming a star Baltimore Orioles pitcher and the opening of I-95 to Baltimore, rekindled his American League devotion in the form of becoming an Orioles fan (and minority stockholder to boot), just in time to experience their 18 year dominance in baseball. Baseball could not contain Bob who also followed Penn State Football, Flyers hockey and University of Pennsylvania (his Alma matter) basketball, among other pursuits.

Bob started his collection with mid 1950’s Bowman baseball cards, with the collection growing to ownership of complete mint sets of every baseball card set published from the 1950’s through the early 1990’s. During that time he discovered that card collecting was not nearly as much fun as collecting general to obscure sports memorabilia. From there began his autograph obsession, collecting 1000’s of autographs from local heroes to national icons. Bob’s big break came with his relationship with the general manager of the O-te-sa-go Hotel in Cooperstown, which gave him and his family the privilege of staying in the hotel during Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony weekends, years after the hotel had exclusively limited lodgers to those associated with Major League Baseball.

The gem of his collection is a biography of a man for whom he had enormous respect, Connie Mack. So much so, that he collected scores of autographs in it, starting exclusively with hall of famers but then began to include any sports figure for whom he had respect.  Retiring from employment in 1986 afforded Robert the time to go to countless shows, signing opportunities, banquets, etc., amassing his huge memorabilia collection. As all good things come to an end, so too did Bob’s collecting days, but the one thing that never subsided with him or his family was the memory and excitement of building the collection, especially in the early days with face to face conversations with the heroes themselves. Now while collections have monetary value, those exchanges were priceless!

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