A jersey once donned by Lou Gehrig during the 1937 season sold for $870,000 early Sunday in the first of a two-part sale conducted by Heritage Auctions. Photo comparisons matched the jersey to the same one Gehrig wore in the photo shown on the Memorial Game ticket from Yankee Stadium after his death and that same image was used to create Gehrig plaque that sits permanently inside Monument Park.
The jersey was handed down to the Yankees’ minor league system about 75 years ago, resulting in the removal of the original “NY” and number “4”, as well as other alterations. Restoration of the lettering and one sleeve didn’t keep bidders away.
In all, 14 items sold for over $100,000 in the auction with Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle items topping the list. Gehrig’s 1924 Yankees contract and a 1920-era bat used by Ruth that eventually became partof a Louisville Slugger traveling exhibit went for $408,000 each. A 1954 game-worn Mantle road jersey soared to $432,000 while his cards also drew a crowd. A PSA 8 1952 Topps Mantle sold for $384,000 while a 7 brought $110,000 and a PSA 8 example of Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card reached $132,000.
An original study of Norman Rockwell’s “Tough Call” painting, originally thought to be a print signed by the famed artist to a former major league umpire, rocketed to $1.68 million.
“I need to credit my colleagues in the Art division for the assist on this one,” explained Chris Ivy, director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. “This isn’t the first time that we’ve been able to draw from other segments of our million-strong bidding clientele to benefit a Sports consignor.”
That beneficiary was a direct descendant of famed Major League umpire John “Beans” Reardon, the primary subject of Norman Rockwell’s charming painting that ultimately would appear in its final version upon a 1949 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Reardon’s family had believed the original study they owned was merely a signed print, worth only several hundred dollars.
Other sales included:
- Joe Jackson/Buck Weaver signed baseball $240,000
- 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card PSA 9 $192,000
- 1957 Topps Johnny Unitas rookie card PSA 9 $144,000
- Run of 137 1933-2016 MLB All-Star tickets $144,000
- 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card PSA 9 $132,000
- Ernie Banks Cubs road jersey $132,000
- Early 1960s Paul Hornung game-worn Packers jersey $84,000
- 1965 Topps Joe Namath rookie card PSA 8.5 $78,000
- 1913 slab from the original Ebbets Field rotunda $72,000
- 1909-11 E90-1 Joe Jackson American Caramel rookie card SGC 60 $66,000
- 1960 Roger Maris Yankees road jersey $60,000
- 1948 Babe Ruth autographed baseball PSA 8 $66,000
- 1928 Lou Gehrig signed Exhibit card $52,800
- 1984-85 Star Co. Michael Jordan rookie card BGS 9 $50,400
In all, the auction generated proceeds of $10.7 million.
Prices include a 20% buyer’s premium.