Even on the ice, Babe Ruth memorabilia is a hot ticket item.
A game-used bat by Ruth, from the 1919-1922, has been in the Hull family for years. First, it was owned by hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, and then by his son, fellow Hall of Famer Brett Hull.
For hockey fans, that was a different kind of stick. But someone paid the cash to win it.
Wednesday, it was the top money-maker in Classic Auctions’ Winter 2017 Historical Hockey Memorabilia Auction, which ended Wednesday. Ruth’s bat, a game-used Hillerich & Bradsby 40 BR (R2) Louisville Slugger, fetched a winning bid of $37,982. It was one of three lots that topped $30,000 in an auction that also included the Eric Lindros Collection.
The items were part of a 1,005-lot auction, which included mostly hockey, but also baseball game-worn jerseys and the Jacque Villeneuve auto racing Collection. Total sales were over $1.2 million. There was a 19.5 percent buyer’s premium for winning bidders.
Two items sold for $30,597 apiece — one was a game-worn uniform of Aurèle Joliat during the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial Game, played between the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons in November 1937, eight months after the death of Morenz, a Canadiens’ star. The other was more modern — a game-worn jersey from the rookie season of Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Patrick Roy during his rookie season of 1985-86. The jersey was autographed by Roy and is believed to have been worn in January 1986.
Four more items topped $20,000 in winning bids. Selling for $25,286 was Marvin “Cy” Wentworth’s 1931-32 Chicago Blackhawks game-used, worn wool captain’s jersey. Next, at $24,655 was a game-worn jersey of “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, that he used while a member of the World Hockey Association’s New England Whalers in 1978-79. Howe was 50 in 1978, but still scored 19 goals and had 24 assists. A winning bid of $23,546 was gaveled for the gold medal won by Ed Belfour in the 2002 Olympics for Team Canada in Salt Lake City, and one bidder took home Dave Keon’s 1963-64 Toronto Maple Leafs game-worn jersey for $22,413. That was the season the Leafs won their 12th Stanley Cup; they would win it again in 1966-67, but have not won a Cup since.
The Lindros Collection included more than 50 items, with three different jersey items selling for the same price — $4,506. Those included the jersey Lindros wore when he scored his 40th goal during his rookie season of 1992-93, a game-worn road jersey from the same season, and his Team Canada game-worn, alternate captain’s jersey from the 1993 World Championships.
In addition to jerseys, there were signed sticks and jersey, an all-star ring from 1996, game-used gloves, autographed photos and several trophies. Lindros also auctioned off his hockey card sets — 209 of the 50-card, 1991 Classic Hockey Draft Picks series; and 95 of the 30-card Road to the NHL series. The cards netted $770.
The auction also offered plenty of different vintage hockey sets; a near-complete (44 out of 45) 1911-12 Imperial Tobacco hockey cards sold for $3,802. Another near-set — the 1924-25 William Paterson Hockey V145-2 set, with 50 of the 60 cards available in the auction — went for $2,855. And a PSA high-grade, 1961-62 Parkhurst set (56 cards) sold for $3,076.