From 19th century baseball cards to Babe Ruth’s 1933 Yankees contract to Mickey Mantle memorabilia and stacks of high-grade modern basketball cards, SCP Auctions’ Winter Premier catalog offers a bit of a tour through sports history. The newly launched auction opened Wednesday morning and will run through April 3.
The auction includes 375 lots in all. It leads off with Ruth’s four-page pact with the owner Jacob Ruppert, signed prior to his next to last season with the team. In addition to Ruth, who penned his full name, it features the Hall of Fame signatures of Ruppert and manager Joe McCarthy. Ruth added his handwritten address in Manhattan to the document. It’s expected to sell for $350,000 or more.
As we reported earlier this month, SCP is offering dozens of items from one of the top baseball memorabilia collections in the country. Al Tapper spent the last couple of decades acquiring numerous one-of-a-kind pieces—some very personal in nature—and in the opening hours of bidding, many were already attracting significant attention.
Featured pieces include the original home plate from Yankee Stadium in 1923, PSA/DNA authenticated handwritten and signed letters from the likes of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Mario Puzo (The Godfather), Mickey Mantle and many, many others. The Mantle letters to his wife Merlyn date to the beginning of his baseball career in the early 1950s.
Other items from the Tapper collection include some incredible boxing relics including Sugar Ray Leonard’s fight worn gloves from the 1980 “NO MAS” bout vs. Roberto Duran that originated from the Angelo Dundee family collection. Duran’s gloves from the same fight are also offered. A unique Ali vs. Liston On-Site at the Boston Garden poster is up for grabs as well.
Besides Al Tapper’s collection, the catalog also has one of Lou Gehrig’s final game used bats from the 1938 season and possibly during that year’s World Series.
Derived from the personal collection of teammate and Yankee Hall of Famer, Earle Combs, the bat has been authenticated by PSA/DNA. Ordered in September of 1938, it’s one of the final bats Gehrig used during his career.
Two other pieces tied to the Yankees’ past are 1927 team-signed photographs from the estate of Don Miller, who was a regular batting practice pitcher for the legendary team. One features the entire club including Ruth and Gehrig while a second carries signatures from Miller and the Yankees pitching staff.
Once displayed at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Bobby Thomson’s 1951 New York Giants cap worn when he belted his famous “Shot Heard Round the World” to win the pennant, is also on the block.
Other unique pieces include a collection of game films from the collection of long-time NBA coach, scout and executive Bill Bertka. The films are from games played by the New Orleans Jazz when Bertka was the team’s general manager and feature previously unseen video of Pete Maravich and other NBA stars during a time when only a small number of games were televised each season. The films cover 37 different games.
The catalog also features vintage and modern era trading cards including no less than eight 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie cards in varying grades, a complete set of 1986-87 Fleer including stickers, which each card graded PSA 9, and a second set of all 9s minus the Jordan rookie.
Higher-end rookie cards of LeBron James, Zion Williamson, Patrick Mahomes and others are also among the listings. Vintage collectors will find the highest graded 1888 N162 Goodwin’s Champions Mike “King” Kelly (PSA 8), 1939 Play Ball and 1954 Topps Baseball sets and a pair of 1933 Goudey Ruth cards.
Bidding is taking place at SCPAuctions.com.