A circa-1933 game-used home jersey worn by Lou Gehrig is the pick of the litter in a major sports memorabilia auction.
While a fatal illness forced Lou Gehrig to retire in 1939 at the age of 36, his monumental achievements as a hitter and first baseman live on in the history books. His career record of 23 grand slams is still unchallenged. The first athlete ever to appear on a box of Wheaties, Gehrig is in a league of his own.
Now, one of his few remaining game-worn jerseys has hit the auction block. Grey Flannel has a circa-1933 Gehrig jersey as the centerpiece of its Holiday Auction.
Gehrig’s long-retired number “4” adorns the back and the name “L. Gehrig” is chain-stitched in red on the inside collar. Once part of the renowned Barry Halper Collection, the iconic jersey carries a $225,000 reserve. The auction house is providing its own letter of authenticity.
Another early game-used Yankees jersey up for bid dates to 1927-1930 and was worn by catcher Benny Bengough. The front of the jersey, which carries a $5,000 reserve, is emblazoned with the team name “YANKEES” in blue felt, while the name “Bengough” is embroidered in cursive inside the collar. The player number “42” appears in an identical style of stitching on the jersey’s front tail.
Jerseys worn by stars from the current world champion Yankees lineup are offered as well. A 2009 pinstriped game-used home jersey from team captain Derek Jeter, who this year broke Gehrig’s all-time record for hits by a New York Yankees player, features a Yankee Stadium Inaugural Season patch on the left sleeve and his player number “2” on the back. Grey Flannel says it has a photo match with the jersey, which has a reserve of $10,000.
A game-used road jersey from Jeter’s teammate, slugger Alex Rodriguez, is ornamented with both a “Yankee Stadium Final Season” and “2008 All-Star Game” patch, plus a black armband in memory of Yankees outfielder and broadcaster Bobby Murcer. A-Rod’s jersey has a $7,500 reserve. Both the Jeter and Rodriguez jerseys are accompanied by Yankees-Steiner LOAs.
869 lots appear in the auction, spanning several decades.
A 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series ring is among the lots. Featuring 18K white gold, the ring includes the original box. On the left shank in raised relief is the phrase “Greatest Comeback in History 2004,” with a pair of red enameled Boston Red Sox “socks” beneath it. The ring is adorned with diamonds and rubies, as well as words and images symbolic of Boston. Reserve: $10,000.
There is a 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants game-used flannel road uniform described by Grey Flannel’s experts as “absolutely gorgeous…one of the finest Mays flannels we have seen.” The uniform is accompanied by a Grey Flannel LOA, and Mays’ signature on the uniform pants has been verified by James Spence Authentication. Reserve: $10,000.
Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s 1969 St. Louis Cardinals game-used and autographed flannel road uniform features the pitcher’s surname “GIBSON” and player number “45” on the back in eye-catching red on navy blue felt. On the left sleeve is the Major League Baseball “100th Anniversary” patch. Gibson autographed the front of the jersey, adding the year “1969,” with verification by James Spence Authentication (JSA). Reserve: $10,000.
Two Ty Cobb-related lots are entered in the sale, one of which is directly connected to the infamous “flying spikes” episode, in which Cobb sharpened the spikes of his shoes and cut the arm of an opponent, Philadelphia Athletics third baseman Frank Baker. In a hand-written letter to Joe Fisher (presumably a fan), Cobb elaborately explains his side of the story, blaming sportswriters for exaggerating the circumstances surrounding “the so-called Baker spiking incident.” The two-page letter, written on personalized “Tyrus R. Cobb” stationery, is autographed and dated by Cobb. With an LOA from JSA, its reserve is $5,000.
A limited-edition book entitled XL Super Bowl: The Opus, documents 40 years of Super Bowl history, from 1967 to 2006. The leather-bound, gilt-edged edition with silk-covered presentation box contains 850 glossy pages and weighs an unbelievable 88 pounds. What makes the book extra special is the page of Super Bowl MVP autographs, with signatories including Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Chuck Howley, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman and many more. The book also features exclusive, never-before-seen Super Bowl images taken over 40 years by top sports photographers. The book is number 76 of an edition of 400. The reserve is $25,000.
Among the basketball items of note is a Dave DeBusschere New York Knicks game-used and autographed home jersey accompanied by multiple certifications, including a copy of a hand-signed LOA from DeBusschere himself, in which he states that he wore the jersey between the years 1969 and 1973. The jersey carries a reserve of $10,000.
Grey Flannel is also offering a car in this sale; Nate Thurmond’s 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III. The vehicle’s spaciousness and luxury appointments perfectly suited the genial giant known for his classy wardrobe and champagne lifestyle. With “NATE 42” California license plates and other custom features such as a sunroof and factory air to U.S. specifications, the car comes with Hollywood provenance, since its original owner was singer Glen Campbell. The Rolls-Royce was previously offered by Grey Flannel; this time it is entered with a lowered $30,000 reserve, which is below the appraised value. The lot includes a priceless bonus: dinner with Nate Thurmond, who will personally turn over the keys.
The auction will close December 9. The fully illustrated electronic version of the catalog is now available to view online.