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For Immediate Release

Courtesy of the Miami News-Record (Oklahoma) Sunday—July 6, 2003 Edition

July 8, 2003

Commerce Museum Releases Series of Six
Mickey Mantle Art Postcards by Ted Watts

By Jim Ellis

COMMERCE, Okla. -- If initial sales are any indication, the first edition of a series of postcards commemorating "The Commerce Comet" will be like a Mickey Mantle home run ball — going, going, gone.

The set of six postcards, designed by noted sports artist Ted Watts should officially be made available Friday.

But John Hall, editor of the KOM Remembered, a print and e-mail newsletter commemorating the old Class D baseball league, mentioned the postcards in a report last Thursday.

"Within minutes of advising the readership that the Mantle card set was available, there were a great number of orders," Hall said. "Then, the regular mail arrived today (Monday) and there were numerous checks from people who both did and didn’t announce by e-mail that they were interested in the product."

"I sent him 50 sets and within two days he said he had sold them," said Lee Jeffery, chairman of the Mickey Mantle Memorial Trust board of directors. "He said he had already sold 86 and I sent him another 50."

Mantle broke into professional baseball in 1949 with the Independence Yankees of the KOM League then began his ascent which culminated with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"We only got 3,000 in the first edition," said Jeffery said. "There may be other editions, but this will be the only collector’s edition."

The complete series of six is available for $10 a set. Individual cards are $2 each.

Persons wanting to purchase a set may contact Jeffery at 918-257-8774.

The cards may also be purchased by mail at Mickey Mantle Museum, P.O. Box 99, Commerce, Okla. 74339.

"We want to have them on sale at various locations around the area," Jeffery said.

The centerpiece of the set revolves around a work Watts did in 1988 for the Sooner Pride Committee, Inc. of Commerce. The goal of the group was to develop pride in the Commerce community, northeast Oklahoma and the state.

"As their first project, they prepared commemorative tributes honoring their hometown’s favorite son, which included my Mickey Mantle sports art montage tribute," said Watts, a Miami native now working out of Oswego, Kan. "I completed the art on Aug. 26, 1988. The original is a 36-inch x 24-inch mixed media painting now owned by the estate of the late George Mayer of Miami."

Watts broke out five of the individual elements in the painting for the card set.

"We added the outside border design so it would look like the walls of a museum ... we wanted to give it a nice setting," Watts said.

"Ted did a tremendous job on the things," Jeffery said. "Some of these are in the big picture.

"Ted is one of the foremost sports illustrators in the country."

Proceeds from the sales of the first edition of the cards will be used to pay off the final $25,000 owed on land on the far south end of Commerce which will be used for the Mickey Mantle Memorial Museum.

"I wanted to make it look unique and not look like a baseball card," Watts said. "It’s a nice fund-raiser and is a bona fide collectible item."

The Mantle Trust will be the primary beneficiary from proceeds raised at The Stables Classic, an NGA-Hooters Tour event Aug. 8-10 at Peoria Ridge Golf Course.

The Mantle Trust will have a booth at the tournament, selling the cards and commemorative bricks while distributing information.