SCP Auctions, working as the agent for a private collector, purchased the 1954 Hank Aaron rookie jersey being sold by Heritage Auctions of Dallas on Friday. The winning bid, with the company's 19.5% buyer's premium, came to $167,300.
Aaron, known to most fans as having worn the number 44 during his career, started with number 5 when he first arrived in the Braves' camp. The jersey sold by Heritage included the faint remnants of "5" beneath the #44 on the gray flannel.
The twenty-year old Aaron appeared in 122 games in 1954, batting .280 and hitting 13 home runs. It was the only season during his long Braves career during which his long ball output wouldn't reach 20.
Total auction proceeds were $3,789,051.60. Over 98% of the offered lots were sold.
One of the most interesting record-breakers in the auction was a rare Charles “Kid” Nichols single signed baseball – one of many autographed pieces to rewrite the record books in the auction – that finished the day with a final tally of $53,775, showing that single signed baseballs remain one of the hobby’s fundamental building blocks.
“Single signed baseballs, in fact, stole the show in Friday’s live bidding,” said auction director Chris Ivy, “with no fewer than 10 autographs surpassing $15,000, an impressive figure if you know your autographs.”
A Nap Lajoie signed baseball established a new high at $26,290, while separate Paul Waner singles took auction history’s gold and silver medals with prices of $15,535 and $13,145 respectively. An Eddie Collins single came in at $22,705, leading his fellow first ballot Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, whose autographed ball came in at $14,340.
The auction likewise ushered in a new era for team signed pigskin, with five lots clearing the $5,000 threshold, effectively doubling the all-time population of signed footballs sold in that range at auction. Four of the balls derived from the early 1960s glory days of Green Bay Packers history, the fifth memorializing the 1969 NCAA Champion Texas Longhorns.
Heritage offered internet and live bidding in the auction, which concluded with several items selling for more than $30,000 including:
- T206 Eddie Plank SGC 50 $83,650
- 1947 Ted Williams game-used, vault marked bat $77,675
- 1959 Topps Set (#6 on PSA Set Registry; 8.43 GPA $71,700
- Circa 1950 Kid Nichols autographed baseball $53,775
- 1991 Nolan Ryan 7th no-hitter signed game-worn jersey $44,812
- 1940s Mel Ott single-signed baseball $33,460
- 1924-26 Charlie Gehringer game-worn jersey $31,070