Goldin Auctions and Sotheby’s are partnering for a new auction consisting of 100 lots of high-end sports memorabilia and trading cards. “A Century of Champions” will feature items spanning the past 100 years of sports history around the world. Set to open November 24, the auction will include jerseys, game-worn shoes, trading cards, and other objects from icons of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, boxing, hockey and hockey.
Among the marquee athletes connected to items in the sale are Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, LeBron James, Pelé, Rafael Nadal, Mickey Mantle and Kobe Bryant.
The partnership with Goldin is the first dedicated sports memorabilia sale at Sotheby’s since 2008 but the company is no stranger to historic sports items, having sold James Naismith’s founding rules of basketball for $4.3 million in 2010; the baseball bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium in 1923m the 1919 contract selling Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for $996,000, then a record for a sports contract; and Pierre de Coubertin’s 1892 Olympic Manifesto, which sold in December 2019 for $8.8 million, the current world auction record for sports memorabilia.
“This auction is the first of its kind for Goldin, and we are thrilled to present this sale with a partner like Sotheby’s, whose reputation and legacy is unmatched in the world of auctions,” stated Ken Goldin, Founder and CEO of Goldin Auctions. “2020 has been a banner year for our business, as we became the only dedicated sports auction house to exceed $100 million in annual GMV this year. To present a sale like this at Sotheby’s is the perfect platform for us to showcase the quality and depth of memorabilia our company is known for, and to engage with a whole new audience. I am particularly grateful that so many athletes and their families, who I have had relationships with for many years, are participating directly as consignors to this auction, including the Mickey Mantle Family, Emmitt Smith, Cal Ripken Jr., Reggie Jackson and many others.”
Leading the sale is the 1970 World Cup Jules Rimet Trophy presented to Edison Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé (estimate $650/800,000), the Brazilian soccer legend. The trophy was presented to him after capturing his third World Cup title with Brazil. He remains the only player to win three titles.
The Brazilian National Soccer Team became the first national team to win three World Cup titles with a definitive 4-1 victory over fellow two-time winners Italy at Estadio Azteca to close out the 1970 FIFA World Cup In Mexico. The 1970 World Cup was the last time the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded, as FIFA retired the trophy and the iconic silverware, and is fitting cap to arguable the greatest run by a national team, winning three World Cups in 12 years.
Among the game-worn items expected to bring big prices is a signed 1979-80 Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers game jersey (estimate $450/600,000). As a 19-year-old, Gretzky blitzed the NHL in his first year with 51 goals and a league-leading 86 assists and 137 points.
MeiGray has photo-matched the jersey to two images of Gretzky wearing the jersey during his first season in the NHL. The jersey comes with an LOA from MeiGray for the game use and a LOA from JSA for the signature.
Autographed memorabilia will include a 1939 first day cover envelope with autographs from ten Hall of Famers, among them Ty Cobb, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Connie Mack, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Larry Lajoie, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, and Babe Ruth (estimate $250/350,000).
Also part of the catalog: the late Paul Hornung’s 1956 Notre Dame Heisman Trophy (estimate $400/500,000), Muhammad Ali signed Olympic torch from the tour leading up to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games (estimate $14/20,000); boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight-worn boxing gloves used during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, including fight-worn hand wraps (estimate $50/75,000); a 1923-25 Babe Ruth game-used Hillerich & Bradsby R2 Professional Model Bat (estimate $40/60,000); tennis champion Rafael Nadal’s match-used 2012 French Open Nike shirt (estimate $20/30,000) and a game-worn, autographed Kobe Bryant jersey from December 2014 (estimate $50/75,000).
The trading card section will be headlined by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (estimate $150-$200,000) and a 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Tom Brady graded 8.5/10 by Beckett and numbered 25/100 (estimate $250-$300,000).
The auction will close December 3.