A late 1950s Bill Russell Celtics jersey sold for $511,125 Monday afternoon, while a Shaquille O’Neal jersey matched to several games in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2001-02 season also drew a six-figure price at Hunt Auctions. The two jerseys were among the highest selling items in the live sale, which included dozens of items from the careers of Russell and fellow Celtics legend Tom Heinsohn.
The Russell jersey was being offered for the first time by the original recipient. Multiple Russell jerseys have sold since December of last year including two that netted over $1 million. A 1963-64 Russell All-Star Game jersey did not meet the reserve price.
A jersey once donned by Russell’s teammate Bob Cousy in the early 1960s was also offered. It sold for $76,375.
The O’Neal jersey went for $117,500, blowing past the original auction estimate of $10,000-$20,000. The jersey included the 9/11 patch worn by NBA players that season and authentication by MeiGray.
It was photomatched to multiple games that season. O’Neal wore the jersey in the midst of the Lakers’ run of three straight NBA championships.
Another jersey worn by a former Lakers star, James Worthy, realized $22,325.
Hunt used the catalog to sell the personal collection of Heinsohn, a star for the Lakers in the Russell era who later went on to coach the team to two titles and then spent many years as a broadcaster for the club. His 1957 NBA championship ring brought $47,000 while the one he earned as a coach in 1974 sold for $23,500. His two Hall of Fame rings–one awarded as a player and the other as a coach–sold for over $50,000 combined.
The auction included a large number of key sports cards, including a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie graded PSA 8 that sold for $176,250.