The Basketball Hall of Fame is preparing to host Grey Flannel's big auction next weekend, but collectors can get a jump on it now.
Collectors can marvel at the contents of the fabulous, still new Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum, then build their own Hall of Fame during a Sept. 9 auction, the first ever held at the Hall.
Close to 400 historic sports items in basketball, baseball, football, hockey and Americana will be on the block during this sale, which is being held during the Hall of Fame's induction weekend and being conducted by Grey Flannel.
Internet bidding is underway already with live bidding set to take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at an auction gala at the Hall of Fame Special Exhibit Room in Springfield, the birthplace of hoops.
Many items worn by Hall of Famers, whose glorious contributions are marked at the museum, are in this sale. Several items should interest fans of the nearby Boston Celtics including a game-used and signed John Havlicek road jersey and a game-used Larry Bird game-used and autographed home jersey. Also available are triple seats from the Boston Garden, signed by all of the Celtics legends. Add assorted Bill Russell game-used gear, not the least of which are his famous low-top Celtics sneakers.
“The atmosphere for this auction has the makings of a Game 7 championship game,” said Richard Russek, president and CEO of Grey Flannel Auctions of Westhampton Beach, N.Y. “If this auction were held anywhere it would be fabulous, but the fact that the backdrop for the sale will be the Basketball Hall of Fame and induction weekend no less, the items acquired during this weekend will have their own history. And that makes it special.”
He added that each basketball item will come with a letter of authenticity from the Naismith Basketball Museum and Hall of Fame.
The sale also features 26 historic lots from Pat Catello's life-long collection. He and his mother's passion for sports and rock 'n' roll are evident in this first of many Grey Flannel Auction segments. Catello writes passionately in the auction catalog about his love for sports, his favorite moments and collecting.
Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Joe Dumars, Geno Auriemma, Sandro Gamba and David Gavitt will be inducted a day earlier. Basketball fans, then, can score a unique double by attending the Hall of Fame festivities, then participate Sept. 9 in the Grey Flannel auction.
Among other game-used basketball treasures are:
* Julius Erving's New York Nets game-used home jersey from 1970s;
* “Pistol” Pete Maravich's LSU shooting shirt, which bears his name;
* “Curly” Neal's Harlem Globetrotters game-used jersey;
* Earvin “Magic” Johnson's game-used jerseys with the Los Angeles Lakers (home) and his inaugural 1992 USA Dream Team jersey game-used and signed;
* A Michael Jordan home Chicago Bulls game-used jersey from 1989; and, among other items,
* The 1953 and 1959 Hall of Fame Plaques of the game's founder, James Naismith.
While basketball takes center stage in this atmosphere, items from the other major sports are also available to bidders.
Catello's second-to-none Miami Dolphins collection, among other items, has been consigned to Grey Flannel Auctions. Dan Marino's complete Miami Dolphins uniform from the Oct. 15, 1993, game in which he tore his Achilles tendon leads historic football items. A team-signed helmet by the 17-0 Dolphins in 1972 is also being offered.
Catello's passion for pro football and all sports shows in this segment. Among other items from him are a game-used, signed Lawrence Taylor New York Giants jersey from 1981; game-used jerseys worn by Ray Lewis, Eric Dickerson and Deion Sanders; a game-used home Pirates jersey worn by Barry Bonds; game-used jerseys worn by the likes of Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey and Bobby Murcer; and one of Andre Agassi's rackets used at the 2001 Australian Open, autographed.
A baseball signed by the unusual trio of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and boxing great Maxie Rosenbloom will be offered. Ruth's signature is elsewhere in the Grey Flannel sale as a single-signed ball, team-signed baseball, inaugural 1933 All-Star team ball, and a check signed twice. Other team-signed baseballs feature the 1937 Yankees, the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1976 Yankees and the 1959 World Champion Dodgers.
Boston Garden seats are only a section of stadia furniture. The sale features a piece of Green Monster padding from Fenway Park; an original turnstile from Forbes Field; a pair of Ebbets Field seats; an original Forbes Field seat signed by Ralph Kiner and Bill Mazeroski; a seat from Yankee Stadium; and a figural Polo Grounds seat signed by Willie Mays, Branca and Bobby Thomson.
Among other premier baseball memorabilia, the sale offers:
* A game-used Pee Wee Reese road flannel jersey with pants from 1954;
* Tom Seaver's 1971 New York Mets game-used home jersey and a pair of pants; and
* Roger Maris's game-used glove from 1961. A signed baseball and a framed poster of Maris kicks this lot up a notch.
Pele, the greatest soccer player of any generation, is in the sale with a game-used SFC jersey from 1969.
Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers game-used, blue mesh jersey leads the way among hockey items. Game-used jerseys once worn by Ray Borque, Mark Messier, Ken Morrow, Patrick Roy, Adam Graves, Pat LaFontaine, Brian Leetch are part of the sale's hockey inventory.
Numerous Muhammad Ali items are in the auction, including a single-signed baseball, but perhaps none more important than a rare fight poster touting the February, 25, 1964, clash between him and Sonny Liston.