Historical documents directly related to the historic contract that sold Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919 and a hobby fresh 1925 Exhibits Lou Gehrig Rookie Card highlight the Lelands 2023 Spring Classic Auction, which runs through April 22.
The collection of rare documents from the Ruth sale – one of the most important transactions in sports history – includes two of the three promissory notes issued as part of the payment for Ruth’s contract. Also featured in the nine-lot collection is the letter detailing why the Red Sox sold Ruth and the letter by the Yankees to the Red Sox owner on the day the two teams came to terms on the deal.
The Ruth sale documents were were purchased by Lelands’ consignor in 1999 and have remained in his possession ever since. Lelands sold Ruth’s signed for $2.3 million in 2017.
The hobby fresh 1925 Exhibits Lou Gehrig Rookie Card PSA VG-EX+ 4.5 offered in the auction is one of 43 Gehrig Exhibit rookies that have been graded by PSA. Only nine of those grade higher than the newly consigned example.
The auction also features a 1928 Exhibits Gehrig signed card and a 1920 Commerce High School Statistics class workbook featuring 30 pages of handwritten notes and 22 signatures, representing perhaps the earliest-known Gehrig signatures in the hobby, dating approximately three years prior to his 1923 debut with the Yankees..
Additional auction centerpieces include Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Bourque’s five Penguins Stanley Cup championship rings – two as a player, the other three from his career in the broadcast booth – a 1928-30 Ruth bat graded PSA/DNA 9, and a LeBron James’ 2017 Cavaliers game-worn jersey from when he passed Kobe Bryant as the youngest player to reach 28,000 points.
Other featured items in the sale include the only known ticket stubs from the debuts of Roberto Clemente and Bill Russell, the best-known Walter Johnson single-signed baseball and a set of 1914-15 Cracker Jack cards in the original album.
Additional highlights include the ball Tom Brady tossed for his first touchdown while wearing an NFL uniform which dates to the New England Patriots final preseason game of Brady’s 2000 rookie season. There are five other Brady signed game-used footballs including one from 2002, a Joe Burrow photo-matched 2022 Bengals game-worn jersey and Ronnie Lott’s 1990 49ers Super Bowl XXIV signed game-worn jersey.
The auction also boasts the jersey worn by Aaron Judge during Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 ALCS and a rare 1919 Reds World Championship player’s pin – the equivalent of World Series ring at the time – and a team-signed ball from that same Reds team.
Additional auction highlights include:
- The only known Bill Russell NBA debut ticket stub
- A 1947 single-signed Babe Ruth baseball PSA Mint 9 Auto
- A 1951 Mickey Mantle MLB debut signed PSA Type 1 photo
- A 1981 Michael Jordan UNC Tar Heels NCAA debut ticket stub
- Aroldis Chapman’s 2016 Cubs World Series ring ordered for a friend
Bidding is open now at Lelands.com.