The first attempt to sell two signed Jackie Robinson contracts from his historic entry into Minor and Major League Baseball ended without a buyer Tuesday night. Goldin Auctions says the undisclosed reserve price established by the owner was not met but that doesn’t mean a sale won’t eventually happen.
“Our initial outreach to collectors, philanthropists, corporations and others over the past few months was extremely positive with many expressing interest in taking stewardship of these historic Civil Rights documents,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “It’s not unusual for an item like this to be brought to auction more than once or sold privately after the initial offering. We’ll continue to look for an owner who will share these historic documents with the world between now and the next scheduled auction in the late Spring.”
Whether they are sold at auction or privately, 10% of the purchase price will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. It’s possible the new owner could put them on display at the site of the future Jackie Robinson Museum both live in New York City and online.
The two contracts, which will be sold together as a single lot, were signed by Robinson on October 23, 1945 with the Montreal Royals and on April 11, 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The contracts have been authenticated by PSA/DNA, James Spence Authentication (JSA), Beckett Authentication Services and John Reznikoff of University Archives. They were appraised for $36 million by rare document expert Seth Kaller who has appraised many comparable historical items, including Abraham Lincoln signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and Benjamin Franklin signed copies of the U.S. Constitution. The documents are currently insured by Chubb for $36 million.
During the past two years, the contracts have been on public display at several museums and major league stadiums including the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, City Hall in Montreal, Times Square in New York City, Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, and others, by the current owners, Collector’s Café.