MEARS Auction #172, Ends Saturday, February 4th, 2023, 10:00 PM CST W/30-Minute Rule In Effect
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/5/2023

Alfred di Scipio, the president of the consumer electronics division of the Magnavox Company, reviewed the financial reports and knew the company was in trouble.

It was now the end of the 1973 season, and Hank Aaron had amassed 712 career homeruns and was certainly going to break Babe Ruth’s record early the following year. Di Scipio had an idea. Marketing data suggested professional athletes would spur consumer sales, so Magnavox offered Hank Aaron a $1,000,000 contract to be paid out over 5 years.

The Magnavox promotion would create a national marketing campaign around their televisions. Cut outs of Hank Aaron, posters, point of purchase displays, and a commemorative bat with a plaque honoring the event would be offered to consumers who purchased a Magnavox appliance.

The campaign was one of the largest and most lucrative paydays for a professional athlete. When the 1974 baseball season started, baseballs fans across the nation couldn’t wait to resume Aaron’s pursuit of the Babe’s hollowed Home Run record of 714.

Magnavox aggressively began their promotion with electronic and appliance stores. In Evansville, Indiana, at a little appliance store named, “Kirby’s Inc”. was part of the promotion. A complete advertising kit was sent to their store, put on display, and was a huge success for the store’s owner. After the season ended, the cardboard was discarded in the dumpster which was located behind the store.

The store has a silver lining. The owner of Kirby’s Inc. had a son. He was a HUGE baseball fan, and closely following Hank Aaron’s pursuit of the Babe. After speaking with his father and knowing about the upcoming promotion, he asked his father for the lifelike Hank Aaron cut out which graced the floor of his store. The Kirby’s store owner needed the promotional materials to run his business, but quick thinking, he reached out to the Magnavox marketing team, and asked for a 2nd promotional kit to be sent to his 2nd store location.

Kirby’s was a franchise with one location, but the 2nd store was actually the address of company salesman Joe Arvidson. Dad ordered this for his some who loved baseball, and with an innocent slight of hand, obtained this collection of Hank Aaron Magnavox materials.

The collection was never assembled, and remained near mint in this original shipping box. This lot consists of the Hank Aaron die cut stand up alone. The other promotional items were removed and offered as single lots in this auction.

The display remains in near mint condition and consists of a life size Hank Aaron die cut image wearing his Atlanta Braves uniform. A very rare Styrofoam ball with “715” printed on it is included. One cardboard tube used to hold the display together is missing.

Famed Barry Halper had an autographed version of this display in his collection. MEARS Auctions also handled a 2nd example. This display is unique, as the printed sign is the first version we have seen which reads, “Watch Hank Aaron’s Big Hits on a New Magnavox”.

All of the contents were housed in its original shipping box. The shipping label for which date it was sent to the store was dated April 1st, 1974, a mere 7 days before Hank broke Babe Ruth’s record. ***ADDITIONAL SHIPPING DUE TO SIZE***

Display, when assembled, measures approximately 45" wide (including the baseball) and 73" tall.

1974 Hank Aaron Magnavox Store Display in Original Shipping Box (dated April 1st, 1974) Newly Discovered Variation
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,320
Number Bids:26
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