More than a dozen sports items brought in five-figure payouts for consignors on Friday, but the top item was a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series championship ring that fetched $45,049, including the buyer’s premium. The size 11½, 14-karat white-gold ring that commemorated the Dodgers’ only World Series title in Brooklyn belonged to visiting clubhouse attendant George Grafton and was made by Dieges & Clust, a jewelry company that was established in 1898 and was eventually bought out by Herff Jones in 1980.
“It’s a truly superb ring from a historic World Series,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
Grafton was a fixture at Ebbets Field during the Dodgers’ final decade in Brooklyn, along with “The Senator,” John Griffin, and “The Brow,” longtime batboy Charley DiGiovanna. Ever loyal, Grafton stayed with the team when it moved to Los Angeles in 1958. So did DiGiovanna, who died in late 1958 of heart failure at age 28. Grafton died on Nov. 21, 1959 in Brooklyn from a liver ailment. He was 51. Except for military service during World War II, Grafton spent the last two decades of his life working for the Dodgers.
Collectors also drove up the price of a memorabilia item belonging to one of the NFL’s tragic figures — a 1966-1968 game-worn road jersey of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo. The tear-away shirt, which was sold for $25,200 — including the buyer’s premium — belonged to Piccolo, who died of cancer on June 16, 1970. His life was commemorated in the movie “Brian’s Song.”
Other items of note (prices include the buyer’s premium) include a baseball signed by Babe Ruth that sold for $21,013; a Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics torch, which was sold for $19,327; a 1956 bronze medal from the Stockholm Summer Olympics that sold for $18,710; a 2007 World Series championship ring of the Boston Red Sox, which sold for $17,400; and a PSA-graded card of Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, which brought $16,414. The Delahanty card was an 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug card that was graded PSA 6.
“We are thrilled with the results from our first auction dedicated strictly to sports memorabilia with plans already underway for the next to take place in December,” Livingston stated.