Two important items from the career of the late Bill Russell, the ball Joe Montana threw for his first career NFL touchdown pass, a high grade 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie and over 750 other lots are among more than 750 lots that headline SCP Auctions’ Summer Premier. The auction kicked off Wednesday and will continue through September 9.
Russell’s Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ring and NBA 50 Greatest Players ring are both in the catalog. The sports icon passed away July 31 at age 88.
Russell’s Hall of Fame ring is made of 14-karat gold with 1.625 carats of real diamonds and was presented to him in 2019.
Russell famously refused to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1975, stating that other African-American players deserved the honor before him. The ring he received is of higher quality that those made for members who received them prior to 2016. Bidding will start at $30,000 and it’s expected to sell for at least $200,000.
The 50 Greatest Players ring is also made of 14-karat gold and has the “NBA 50 Greatest Players” logo on the top face. The right shank displays the name “RUSSELL”, his iconic jersey number “6”, along with the NBA logo and the number “50.”
The left shank also has the NBA logo and years “1946” and “1996” to mark the golden jubilee anniversary of the league. The opening bid is $20,000 with a pre-sale estimate of $100,000+.
Both rings are in their original boxes and come with signed letters of authenticity from Russell.
Joe Montana suited up for all 16 regular season games his rookie year in 1979 but threw just 23 passes the entire season as the backup to 49ers starter Steve DeBerg. Montana’s first touchdown pass came November 18 of that year and was caught by a fellow rookie, tight end Bob Bruer.
The ball is being publicly offered now for the first time and carries a $20,000 opening bid.
Vintage cards carve out a sizeable portion of the catalog, topped by a PSA 7 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie, a 1952 Topps graded SGC VG+ 3.5, a 1959 Topps rated SGC 9 and a rare 1910 E98 Set of 30 Red Ty Cobb graded PSA Mint 9.
The sale also includes some premium modern cards: a BGS Gem Mint 9.5 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Mike Trout autographed Blue Refractor rookie numbered 017/150, a 1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant rookie refractor graded PSA Mint 9, and a 2009 National Treasures Timeline Materials Last Name Signatures Stephen Curry rookie graded BGS Gem Mint 9.5 are among the best.
On the game-worn memorabilia side of the sale, a Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers home jersey worn between 1968-73 is offered. The twice signed threads are rated MEARS A9 and also have an LOA from Sports Investors. The jersey worn by two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani when he hit his milestone 45th home run of the 2021 MVP season is also being presented. Signed and inscribed on the back, carries MLB and Fanatics authentication. The shoes worn by Kobe Bryant in Game 4 of the 2008 Western Conference Finals are also on the block.
Bryant scored 28 points and snared 10 rebounds in a win over the Spurs that day. The shoes are photomatched by Resolution and carry the autograph of the late superstar.
The auction opens on the 71st anniversary of the day Mickey Mantle wore number 7 for the first time and a photo from that afternoon is included in the auction. It’s one of more than 50 original photo lots in the catalog.
Others include a 1911 image of Ty Cobb sliding in the Addie Joss Memorial Game and a 1917 George Grantham Bain team photo of the World Series Champion White Sox including all “Eight Men Out” from the 1919 Black Sox squad.
Baseball fans surely know the name of former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Fred Claire. The longtime Dodgers executive has put five rings, as well as various other memorabilia items, on the auction block via SCP. A portion of the proceeds from each of Claire’s items in this auction will go to the City of Hope.
Also being offered in the auction are over 50 vintage boxing cards and memorabilia items relating to legendary fighter Jack Johnson. Johnson is known for being the first African American to win the heavyweight championship just after the turn of the 20th century. His 1910 letter challenging James Jeffries to the 1910 World Heavyweight Championship, and a vintage boxing glove signed by Johnson, Jeffries, and Jim Thorpe are among the lots presented.
Russell’s rings aren’t the only championship jewelry that’s up for grabs. Hall of Fame rings from Oscar Robertson and Clyde Lovellette, Wes Matthews’ 1988 Lakers NBA championship ring, and Devon White’s 1997 Florida Marlins World Series championship ring are also on the block.
Other items in the catalog and their pre-sale estimates include:
- 2012-13 Panini Prizm Basketball Factory Sealed Case (12 20-pack boxes) $100,000+
- Monumental July 16, 1923 Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis Autographed Letter as sent to Joe Jackson regarding reinstatement- PSA/DNA MINT 9 — $90,000+
- 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Blue Refractor Mike Trout Auto (#017/150) – BGS GEM MINT 9.5, BECKETT 10 AUTO. — $40,000+
- 1909-11 T206 Piedmont (350-460/25) Ty Cobb, Bat Off Shoulder – PSA EX-MT 6 (HIGHEST GRADED, POP 3) — $40,000+
- 1914 Cracker Jack #30 Ty Cobb – PSA VG 3 — $40,000+
- 1928 Yuengling’s Ice Cream #26 Lou Gehrig – PSA NM-MT 8 (HIGHEST GRADED, POP 5) — $30,000+
- 2008-09 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Century Legends Epic Signatures Update LeBron James (1 of 14 ACCOUNTED FOR) – BGS MINT 9 / BECKETT 10 AUTO. — $30,000+
- 2008-09 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Century Legends Epic Signatures Update Kobe Bryant (one of 11 known) – BGS GEM MINT 9.5 / BECKETT 10 AUTO. — $25,000+
- 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie – BVG EX-MT 6 — $25,000+
- 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #138 Kobe Bryant Rookie – PSA MINT 9 — $25,000+
- 2009 National Treasures Timeline Materials Last Name Signatures #5 Stephen Curry Rookie (8/30) – BGS GEM MINT 9.5, BECKETT 10 AUTO. — $20,000+
- 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Autograph #72 Stephen Curry Rookie (201/225) – BGS NM-MT 8 / BECKETT 10 AUTO. — $20,000+
- 1910 T206 Piedmont (350/25) Cy Young, Cleveland Portrait – SGC NM 7 (HIGHEST GRADED, POP 2) — $25,000+