Heritage Auctions will sell what it believes to be Hank Aaron's first game-worn major league road jersey next month. The auction house believes the Milwaukee Braves flannel will bring $200,000+.
“Short of Babe Ruth there are few baseball players more important or beloved than ‘Hammerin’ Hank Aaron,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage Sports Collectibles, “and this is the gamer that was likely on those shoulders on April 23, 1954 when he hit the first of his 715 home runs.”
The jersey contains what Heritage calls a "ghostly" stitching pattern of a number “5” beneath Aaron’s trademark number “44”. Aaron is known to have worn the single digit number only during his rookie season. The team-instituted number change would suggest subsequent action in Aaron’s sophomore season as well.
The jersey has been autographed “Best Wishes, Hank Aaron.”
Other items set to be sold during the April 21-22 event include a 1947 Triple Crown season game-used vault marked bat from Ted Williams, estimated at $75,000+. This is the bat Williams returned to the Louisville Slugger factory to be used as a template for copies to be made, establishing it as his favorite.
“To think that this bat was in the hands of the greatest hitter the game has ever seen throughout one of his greatest seasons is a humbling thing,” said Ivy. “It’s arguably the finest Williams bat in the hobby.”
The swim cap worn by Michael Phelps in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he won his eighth Gold Medal has also been consigned to the sale. The auction company says it was worn by Phelps as he swam the Butterfly stroke in the third leg of the 400-meter medley relay, the finest individual performance by an athlete ever rendered in international competition. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000+.
“Very few players embody the early league, and the hardnosed, no-nonsense play that would come to typify the Oakland Raiders, more than Jim Otto,” said Ivy. “Considering how hard Otto played, and the obvious beating this relic took, its survival is a miracle and its value as a piece football history is unquestionable. This is not only the only surviving Otto rookie jersey, but the only known surviving jersey, period, from the Raiders’ inaugural season.”
Vintage baseball cards being offered include
- 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal Eddie Plank SGC 50 VG/EX 4
- 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Babe Ruth #2 PSA NM-MT 8
- 1889 N43 Allen & Ginter “The Worlds Champions-Second Series” Complete Set (50), #1 on the SGC Set Registry, with a GPA of 58.0
Heritage will also offer the jersey Nolan Ryan wore from his seventh no-hitter, one that includes a letter from the Hall of Fame pitcher. It carries a $50,000+ pre-sale estimate.
An 1859 Brooklyn Atlantics game-used trophy baseball once on display during an episode of PBS' Antiques Roadshow carries a $15,000+ estimate.