A sale of premium sports memorabilia held in conjunction with the National included items from Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. One Bonds home run ball was being sold for the second time and the seller did not turn a profit.
The big story, though, was the phenomenal prices paid for some high grade and rare baseball cards.
Barry Bonds’ 70th home run ball from his record-breaking 2001 season sold for just $14,400 during a weekend sale conducted by Mastro Auctions at the House of Blues in Cleveland. The ball previously sold for $60,000 and it was recently valued at about half that amount.
The auction, held in conjunction with the National Sports Collectors Convention, drew some high rollers, one of whom will write a check for nearly $1 million for a rare set of early 20th century cards.
A 1912 Pirate Cigarettes near set sold for $800,000. With the 20% buyer’s premium, the final price was a staggering $960,000. Similar to T206 cards, Pirate cigarettes were apparently issued to U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific islands. One card was inserted into packs of cigarettes and few have survived over the years, let alone a near complete set.
A 1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson card graded SGC 70, brought $204,000 with the buyer’s premiium, while another copy of the ‘holy grail’ of baseball cards, the T206 Honus Wagner brought $160,000 even with a 1 (poor condition) on PSA’s 10-point grading scale.
Among memorabilia items sold in the exclusive auction were Miller Huggins’ 1927 Yankees World Series ring ($204,000), Mickey Mantle’s 500th home run ball ($144,000) and a single-signed Christy Mathewson baseball ($114,000).
Other prices realized included:
- 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie graded SGC 88 ($108,000)
- 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig SGC 96 ($96,000)
- 1911 T205 Ty Cobb PSA 8 ($84,000)
- E107 Breisch Cy Young SGC 40 (72,000)
- T206 Ty Cobb with Cobb tobacco back ($66,000)
An autographed Aaron jersey sold for $40,000 and his signed rookie contract with the Milwaukee Braves went for $31,200.
The home run ball was one of only a handful of items that didn’t meet the estimated selling price, while all the Aaron memorabilia met or exceeded expectations, according to Mastro Auctions President Doug Allen.
Bonds belted his 755th home run Saturday night, tying Aaron’s all-time mark. Steroid suspicions are hampering the value of collectibles from more recent years. Bonds broke the single-season home run record in 2001 with 73, and his 70th home run tied the previous record set by Mark McGwire in 1998.
"I don’t think it’ll necessarily rebound in the next couple of weeks when (Bonds) breaks the record," Allen told the Associated Press. "I think that, with the cloud of steroid concerns, until that goes away I don’t think it’s ever going to stabilize."
For final hammer prices from the auction, click here.