Items from the personal collections of 1970s sports icons Evel Knievel and Olga Korbut will be among the lots going under the hammer at Heritage Auctions later this month in an event expected to soar past $10 million.
The auction, which will close Feb. 25-26 in “Extended Bidding” format – meaning the bidding will stay open at least for another 30 minutes after any bid – is made up of high value relics ranging from clothing to Olympic medals to rare baseball cards.
Korbut personally consigned her collection, which includes five of her Olympic medals. Knievel died in 2007 and his family has consigned several iconic pieces to the sale.
“Hobbyists have been waiting 40 years for the chance to own Knievel and Korbut treasures,” Heritage Sports Collectibles Director Chris Ivy said. “We are thrilled to be the venue to present them to the collecting world.”
Knievel captured the sporting world’s imagination through his daring motorcycle jumps and his unsuccessful attempt at crossing the Snake River Canyon in a custom-made rocket for a national television audience. The items up for sale will include the motorcycle leathers Knievel wore in 1972-73 and his famous diamond-studded walking stick with a hidden liquor compartment.
Korbut captured the hearts of an international audience through her dominance in the 1972 Munich Olympics gymnastics competition, and her subsequent appearance in the Montreal Games four years later.
The balance of the sale features the typical array of top-end trading cards and memorabilia. Multiple high-grade examples of the most coveted post-WWII card of them all, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, lead the charge. The current high bid on the card is $576,000, which already represents a record price.
Also on offer are PSA Mint 9 rookie cards of Hall of Famers Jim Brown (est. $300,000), Bart Starr (est. $250,000) and Satchel Paige (est. $100,000). The finest T206 Cobb/Cobb Back (est. $300,000) to find its way to the hobby’s auction block is also up for grabs.
Highlights from the memorabilia offerings include the New York Yankees jersey worn by Mickey Mantle as he clubbed the penultimate home run of his career – number 535 – after 1968 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Denny McLain tipped his pitches as a parting gift to the retiring legend, and the only game-used bat that has been definitively attributed to Ted Williams’ historic 1947 Triple Crown season (est. $200,000).
One of two known examples of the massive tri-fold Piedmont Tobacco baseball advertising sign will serve as the first appearance of a complete example on the hobby’s auction block, discovered recently after a century’s seclusion in the wall of an old cigar shop, and two original LeRoy Neiman oil paintings (est. $100,000) will protect Heritage’s status as the leading source for the work of the leading figure of the sports art genre.
Other top lots include but are not limited to:
- A 1090-211 T206 Piedmont Christ Mathewson Portrait PSA NM-MT+ 8.5: est. $80,000
- A USA Olympic Team Blazer Worn in 1960 in Rome by Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali): est. $100,000
- A 1916 Standard Biscuit D350 Babe Ruth #151 Rookie PSA VG-EX 4: est. $250,000
- A 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson #79 PSA NM-MT 8: $100,000
- A collection of 1896-97 Whitehead & Hoag “On Time Starch” Baseball Pinbacks Lot of 87 (85 different): est. $80,000
- The 1930-31 Babe Ruth-Signed New York Yankees Player’s Contractwhich inspired a reporter to ask Ruth about the idea of making more money than then-president Herbert Hoover, prompting one of the most famous quotes of his career: “Why not? I had a better year than he did.” Est. $500,000
- MVP Sheets and a Handwritten Letter Signed in 1939 by Lou Gehrig from The Thomas Jacob Archive: est. $40,000