Items from the collection of Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench will headline the live auction at the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Auction next month in Cincinnati.
The 11th Annual auction takes place during All-Star FanFest on July 14.
A 1960 Ted Williams All-Star Game bat, a collection of Negro League bronzes, numerous items related to the Cincinnati Reds franchise and a variety of other valuable MLB memorabilia will all be offered to the collecting public.
Hunt Auctions will also offer free memorabilia appraisals leading up to the auction, which takes place inside the Duke Energy Center.
Among the items Bench has consigned to the auction are a game used bat from his three home run game in 1970, his 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1983 MLB All-Star Game Rings, a game-used glove, the ball used for his 2000th career hit and the original Bench painting “The Catcher” by Leroy Neiman, an item that carries a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$100,000.
A portion of the proceeds from the Bench collection items will go help college undergraduate students who demonstrated academic and athletic credentials in high school and are in need of financial support to continue their education.
“All of my trophies and awards hold special meanings. I am including some very special ones in the All Star Auction,” Bench stated. “The sale of some these items will benefit my Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund that was created in 1984. Since that time more than 500 kids have graduated because of the fund.”
Bench spent his entire career with the Reds, spanning parts of three decades. He was selected to the National League All-Star team 14 times and won two N.L. MVP awards.
“Johnny Bench quite literally epitomizes the meaning of baseball to the city of Cincinnati,” said David Hunt, President of Hunt Auctions. “Johnny’s importance to the fans of Cincinnati is immeasurable with career accomplishments that may never again be equaled within the game of baseball. We are completely honored to be working with Johnny to share some of his treasured pieces with his many fans and feel proud to contribute, in some small fashion, to his worthy endeavor to support the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund.”
With the auction taking place the day of the 2015 All-Star Game, expect to find numerous pieces related to the career of star players and legendary teams from the Cincinnati Reds franchise when catalogs arrive. Among them: Pete Rose’s “Babe Ruth Sultan of Swat Award” which is estimated to sell for between $50,000-$75,000, the 1914 Buck Herzog Cincinnati Reds Presentational Bat ($25,000-$50,000), a 1971 Pete Rose Professional Road Model Jersey ($20,000-$30,000), a 1975 Cesar Geronimo Cincinnati Reds World Series trophy ( $7,500-$10,000), a 1990 Cincinnati Reds World Series ring ($5,000-$10,000) and a 1972 Cincinnati Reds National League Championship Ring ($4,000-$6,000).
This year’s auction will also feature the bat which Ted Williams used for his final base hit in All-Star Game play as documented by a handwritten note from Williams himself which accompanies the 1960 bat. Recently discovered in the Williams home, it is being offered for the first time publicly by his family and could fetch between $100,000-$150,000.
“This bat was the final bat used by my father in his final MLB All-Star Game,” said Claudia Williams, Ted’s daughter. “The discovery of this bat was a complete thrill; especially given the related note handwritten by Dad which we found with the bat. I am delighted to present this historic bat to the public during the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, the 55th anniversary of Dad’s final All-Star Game. I hope baseball fans from around the globe appreciate its significance to Dad and baseball history.”
Other lots expected to attract significant attention in this year’s Live Auction include
- Roy Campanella’s 1953 NL Most Valuable Player Award (Est. $175,000-200,000)
- Vida Blue’s 1971 AL Most Valuable Player Award (Est. $75,000-$100,000)
- 1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat (Est. $75,000-$100,000)
- 1923 New York Yankees World Championship Pocket Watch (Est. $40,000-$60,000)
- 1939 Bucky Walters NL Most Valuable Player Award pocket watch (Est. $30,000-$40,000)
- Charles “Kid” Nichols single signed baseball (Est. $15,000-$25,000)
- Kansas City Monarchs professional model jersey c.1945-47 (Est. $15,000-25,000)
Also up for bid will be seven Negro League bronzes which have been on display at PNC Park in Pittsburgh since 2006 and were then donated to the Josh Gibson Foundation. The foundation has since given these bronzes to Hunt Auctions to sell. Proceeds will benefit the Josh Gibson Foundation in its effort to provide academic and athletic programs for youth. The bronzes include seven Pittsburgh Negro League greats including catcher Josh Gibson and pitcher Satchel Paige.
Hunt Auctions and its team of nationally recognized experts will conduct its annual complimentary appraisal fair Friday, July 10 through Monday, July 13 inside Duke Energy Center. Select items from the appraisal fair may be consigned to the live auction. Attendees can call ahead to schedule a private consultation at 610.524.0822 or email at [email protected] Hunt Auctions will also hold daily silent auctions held exclusively for FanFest visitors featuring vintage and modern era items priced under $1,000.
FanFest will have over 400,000 square feet of baseball-related attractions for fans including daily autograph sessions with former Reds players, MLB Legends and Hall of Famers.
Tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for children ages 12 and under (children two and under are admitted free), senior citizens and military personnel. Tickets are sold on a timed-entry basis, so fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early to obtain preferred entry times.
For more information, visit AllStarGame.com.