It was scheduled to end Thursday night, but the phone kept ringing. Past midnight, through the wee hours of the morning, beyond breakfast, past lunch and after dinner. Finally, MEARS officials decided that the fun had to end. 7 p.m. New Year's Eve would be the official end of the company's latest auction. When it was over, new records were set for the Milwaukee-based company, paced by the sale of a 1920s autographed Ty Cobb game used bat.
Signed by Cobb while he and his Detroit Tigers were on their way to Boston by train in 1925, the bat sold for $113,303.75. According to MEARS' Troy Kinunen, it is a record price for a Cobb bat, with the previous record being $95,620 for a model Cobb once presented to fellow big leaguer Joe Sewell.
Consigned by the grandson of the man to whom Cobb presented the bat, it's the only Cobb signed bat known. Cobb also added the date and “Lake Oscawana” inscription. His handwriting has been authenticated by JSA.
MEARS indicates the bat includes tobacco juice stains and is consistent with bats ordered by Cobb during the mid-1920s.
Vintage game-used bat were a staple of the auction and several others commanded prices into the thousands.
A 1914-1 Honus Wagner pro model Kork-Grip bat sold for $21,300. According to MEARS, it's the earlies Wagner signature model bat ever offered.
A 1937-41 Hank Greenberg gamer went for $11,351 while a pair of 1960s-era bats once swung by Hall of Famers each sold for over $7700--one from Roberto Clemente and the other a Don Drysdale model.
MEARS also had the highest graded 1954 Johnston Cookies Hank Aaron card in the sale. Graded PSA 9, the underrated beauty went for $5396.
Other sales included:
- 1950-51 Roy Campanella game used bat $5299
- 1921-22 Elmer Miller game used bat $5292
- Earliest known Thurman Munson bat $4817
- 1965-68 Ernie Banks game used bat $4810
- 1927-28 single-signed Babe Ruth ball $3215
- T206 Ty Cobb green back portrait PSA 4 $2619
Kinunen indicated that the company set records for new bidders, registered bidders participating, consignors contributing material to the auction, number of lots, bids placed and prices realized. The December MEARS 2010 auction realized $432,457. For the year, MEARS auctions generated a total of $1,560,000.