August 19, 2011
Joe DiMaggio's Shotgun Up for Auction In October
By Phil Bourjaily
Fortunately for me I am not a baseball fan, or I would be digging deep in my pockets for Joe DiMaggio’s shotgun, which will be auctioned at James D. Julia’s in Maine this October. See, it’s a Winchester Model 21, which is the American double I yearn for – although I’m not sure why I want a 21 instead of a Fox or a Parker. I just do.
But there’s more: this isn’t just any Winchester Model 21 belonging to Joe DiMaggio. It’s a gun presented to him in recognition of his feat of hitting safely in 42 consecutive games during the 1941 season. Forty-two broke the old mark of 41, and of course, even I know that Joltin’ Joe went on to hit in a untouchable record 56 straight games.
The floorplate reads: “To 'THE YANKEE CLIPPER' Joe DiMaggio From Capt. Jos. Cocozza Essex County Prosecutors Office Newark, NJ June 30, 1941." June 30, 1941 was the day after DiMaggio’s record setting base hit. The gun was made for duck hunting, with 30-inch barrels, and a tight (.029) choke in one barrel and a tighter (.032) choke in the other. It was used for duck hunting, too, and the stock was damaged when a blind caught fire. The old stock was replaced in 2007 by the gun’s current owner.
By the way, DiMaggio was an avid waterfowl hunter. Here’s his 1970 California license, complete with signed duck stamp.
How much will the gun sell for? Good question. Given that his 1947 MVP award brought $281,750 in 2006, I’m guessing quite a bit. And, since the gun is neither original nor unfired, if you buy it, you can take it hunting, too, without ruining its value. How cool would it be to casually uncase DiMaggio’s Model 21 in the duck blind?is