Jerseys of some current and Future Hall of Famers along with one of Mike Tyson’s old title belts and a racing suit worn by Dale Earnhardt brought big money in Grey Flannel’s auction.
A fully authenticated 2001 autographed jersey worn by Barry Bonds when he hit career home run #531 sold for $22,275 in Grey Flannel’s Summer Games auction.
Grey Flannel offered over 1,000 items with several premier lots reaching bids of $20,000 or more with the company’s 20% buyer’s premium. A jersey attributed to Roberto Clemente during the 1970 season sold for $22,785.
Other jerseys included a 1973-74 John Havlicek ($20,714) and a 1957-58 Sonny Jurgenson Eagles shirt ($17,119).
The highest price realized in the auction was for a 1994 racing suit worn by Dale Earnhardt. The suit sold for $41,430.
“Buyers continue to see strength in quality, historic sports memorabilia items,” Russek said. “Auto racing gear is a relatively new area of collecting and has lagged behind the mainstream sports, but everyone knows the legend of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his tragic early death has underscored his accomplishments. The price for this signed suit was not surprising.”
One of Mike Tyson’s old WBC championship belts, attributed to the 1986-90 time period and signed by the ex-champ, went for $28,644. An exact copy of Roger Maris’ 1960 American League MVP award, created at the time of the original by the company which produced the trophies, went for $18,355.
A purported game-worn Ted Williams jersey from the late 1940s was pulled from the auction after MEARS would not offer a letter of authentication. Grey Flannel indicated on its website that the company believes "this jersey is 100% authentic in every way. MEARS and Grey Flannel have tremendous mutual respect for one another and have been sharing opinions on this jersey as well as others. Although our respect for one other is great, we do not always agree on methodology and our final results may differ.
"In this particular case, approximately March 9th, 2007, we sent this Williams jersey to MEARS and they were unable to authenticate it. When MEARS told us this, we immediately took it to a Massachusetts forensics specialist. We asked them to completely review the jersey and to let us know if indeed all of the fabric, thread, Williams name, etc. were of the time period. We have not yet received the results but when we do, if indeed all these materials are of the time period, MEARS has agreed to re-review their findings.
"We reiterate that Grey Flannel fully believes in the authenticity of this jersey. However, if we are wrong, we will say that we are wrong. Because of the above situation, we at Grey Flannel have decided to remove the jersey from our current auction. If we are proven right, we will ask our client to re-consign this to jersey to our December 2007 auction. We were fully aware that MEARS was going to publish their findings and obviously we were not trying to mislead anyone of their opinion. ****UPDATED MAY 10, 2007***** Dear Collector, We have just received the forensic results on lot 508, the 1947 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox Game-Used Home Flannel Jersey. They were completely in our favor and all materials and thread were found to be of the period."
Next up for Grey Flannel Auctions is the Sept. 8 sale at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. This year’s sale features another historic array of basketball gear.
Notable among the 200 items in the sale are items related to the former American Basketball Association, the league that introduced the red, white and blue basketball. A New York Nets championship trophy from the ABA years is in the sale as are ABA championship rings from the Indiana Pacers (1973), the Nets (1974) and the Kentucky Colonels (1975).
Most of the items commemorate NBA players. George Mikan’s game-used Minneapolis Lakers jersey from 1947-’48 is available; so is a 1959 game-used Bill Russell All-Star game jersey; and Jo Jo White’s green Celtics jersey.
Among other items in the sale so far are:
• Julius Erving’s 1978 NBA All-Star game jersey;
• An NBA 50 greatest players signed lithograph;
• Magic Johnson’s 50 Greatest Players leather jacket worn at the 50th Anniversary All-Star game;
• Larry Bird’s 50 Greatest jacket;
• Magic Johnson’s Michigan State finals jersey (1979);
• Michael jordan game-used, 1992 Dream Team jersey;
• Jordan’s 1993 NBA All-Star jersey, with a letter of authenticity from David Stern;
• Bob Cousy’s road Celtics warmup;
• A Wilt Chamberlain All-Star game jersey; and
• A pre-game Pittsburgh Rens warmup worn by Connie Hawkins
“This is an auction event unlike anything offered through a catalog or online,” Russek said. “Collectors can have the experience of acquiring historic items, but add to that the experience of the Hall of Fame induction weekend and making purchases at the Hall and in the presence of these legendary players is clearly something that’s incomparable.”