Via the Boston Herald –
A coveted piece of Red Sox lore sits deep in Yankee country with an uncertain future as a pair of rival collectors bitterly feud over who will profit from a potential sale of the Olde Town Team’s 1912 World Series trophy.
“You wonder how it got out of the Red Sox’ and Major League Baseball’s hands,” said City Councilor John Tobin, who has held the precious trophy. “But it’s a money issue, and hopefully it gets resolved. It could be a wonderful piece to put on display somewhere in the city.”
The one-of-a-kind silver cup, which has been appraised at roughly $250,000, sits in an undisclosed New Jersey location, far from where Tris Speaker, Smoky Joe Wood and company bested the New York Giants in the Fall Classic during Fenway Park’s inaugural season.
It’s held by real estate broker Robert Fraser, a collector who paid $55,000 for it in a complex and controversial 2007 purchase. The deal involved his estranged business partner, Pete Nash, and it included several rare baseball photos that Fraser still holds.
The duo signed a two-page agreement giving Nash a 40 percent stake in proceeds from a future sale. The conflict hinges on a check for $18,500 that Fraser gave Nash weeks after the transaction.
Fraser claims the payout served to buy out Nash’s stake, citing as proof a memo scrawled on the front of the check that states: “full payment of 1912 WS trophy.” Fraser says the memo voided their previous agreement.
But Nash claims the payment was an “advance” on the proceeds of a future sale and says Fraser allowed him to shop the trophy to potential buyers even after the check was cut. Each has obtained a lawyer and they’re threatening to sue each other over the treasure.
Boston “is where the trophy belongs,” said Nash, a baseball buff who produced the Sox documentary “Royal Rooters” and is part-owner of the Sox-themed Boylston Street bar McGreevy’s. “This is the birthplace of Red Sox Nation.”
The trophy was nearly sold last year by Fraser through Manhattan auction house Guernsey’s – deep in New York Yankee country at Madison Square Garden. But the much-hyped auction took place just after the stock market collapse and the price barely reached $200,000, which was well below Fraser’s ambitious reserve price.
Nash, who’s also known as Prime Minister Pete Nice from 1990s rap group 3rd Bass, said the pair had a deal to sell the trophy to McGreevy’s to keep it in Boston, but Fraser balked, which marked the beginning of their falling out.
The sales receipt for the 2007 purchase of the trophy was signed by Nash, but the deal was paid for with a New Jersey bank check with Fraser’s money. Copies of both documents have been provided to the Herald.
“Peter was acting as our agent – he brokered the deal,” Fraser said. “There’s no dispute about the ownership of the 1912 World Series trophy. Peter’s not entitled to any (proceeds from a sale) . . . He was paid in full.”
Nash countered: “I still have my 40 percent upon the sale. We’re sitting here in limbo, but we’re going to enforce my rights. I’m going to have to make the move to pursue it and force him to sell.”
Meanwhile, the Sox confirmed the organization had planned to host a 2008 auction to sell the cup at Fenway during a Yankees series, but the sale was abruptly halted.
For a lousy quarter-mill, the Stein Brothers should buy the thing, have it ground up into dust, mix it into some water, then feed the solution to a drinking bird, and, once it’s all transferred to the toy, have some fun and take a sledge hammer to it.