Louisville Slugger Auction Nets $2.1 Million

1934 Tour of Japan photo The spreadsheets have been finalized, the money counted and Hunt Auctions is putting it’s 3rd annual Louisville Slugger auction to bed.

Hunt Auctions’ most recent sale generated $2.1 million in bids for over 1,000 lots of baseball memorabilia that sold in the two-day event. The auction was the largest of the three held so far, both in terms of the number of lots sold and the revenue generated. The Louisville Slugger Museum receives a portion of all auction proceeds, which are earmarked for its acquisition fund.

The auction began with an evening session on Friday, November 10th, opening with several 2006 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby/Workout Day autographed jerseys. Their sale garnered over $28,000 for the Baseball Assistance Team, an MLB charity whose primary goal is to aide those members of the "baseball family" in need of a helping hand. At the top of the list was a Ryan Howard jersey, which brought $6,037, likely in anticipation of his eventual NL MVP win.

Two early baseball collections, from former American League umpire John Quinn and 19th century player James "Deacon" White, headlined the second session on Saturday. John Quinn participated in the 1934 U.S. All-Star Tour of Japan and assembled one of the most comprehensive and likely unique photographic accounts of the trip to come into the marketplace.

1934 Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig Tour of Japan photo A photograph, taken from a ground level vantage point picturing Babe Ruth at bat and Lou Gehrig on deck, signed by both players as well as John Quinn, went for $46,000. A leather bound presentational album from the 1934 Tour containing photographs and team autographed sheets brought $31,050. Other items from the collection included a team signed dinner menu, which solicited bidding up to $18,975, and a superb team photo picturing the players in front of crossed U.S. and Japanese flags, which brought $6,037.50

The second featured memorabilia collection originated from James “Deacon” White, who was one of the more prominent players during the formative period of professional baseball from the 1860s through the 1880s.

Cabinet photographs from the 1870s & 1880s brought some of the highest prices, including an 1873 Boston Red Stockings imperial example for $35,650, an 1887 Detroit Wolverines large cabinet photo for $15,525, and an 1873 Boston Base Ball Club team example for $14,375. An autographed George Wright cabinet photo generated heated bidding among several phone bidders, ultimately selling for $26,450.

Although the auction contained a wide variety of baseball memorabilia, vintage cards attracted the most attention, with three examples establishing new record prices. An 1887 N28 Allen & Ginter Cap Anson (SGC 88 NM-MT) soared to $26,450, a 1910 E93 Standard Caramel Ty Cobb (SGC 80 EX/NM) reached $27,600 and a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53 (SGC 84 NM) ended at $28,750. Other cards included a 1916 M101-4 Babe Ruth #151 for $17,250, a 1910 E103 Williams Caramel Hans Wagner (SGC 60 EX) for $14,375, and a 1910 E103 Williams Caramel Ty Cobb (SGC 60 EX) for $13,225.

Single signed baseballs included an Urban Shocker c.1923 ($12,650.00), a G.C. Alexander ($10,580), and a Dazzy Vance ($7,762). A 1962 New York Yankees team signed baseball in near mint condition brought $9,000 above the high estimate, achieving a final price of $13,225. A scarce Ed Delahanty handwritten letter from the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. archives drew strong interest selling for $29,900. A run of twelve diplomas signed by Cum Posey from Homestead High School brought an average of $2,300 each and an album page signed by Negro League player Raymond Brown sold for $5,750.