The late 1960s and early 1970s might seem like the dark ages for college basketball — except at UCLA, of course — but Pete Maravich was truly the shining light on the hardwood.
Maravich was exciting, creative and stymied defenses. He put LSU on the map and was a marquee star in the NBA. That’s why a personal trove of memorabilia from the “Pistol” should drive some interest in the Grey Flannel Auctions’ Holiday Auction, which closes on Dec. 11. The letterman jacket that Maravich wore for all three of his varsity seasons at LSU, plus his NBA All-Star uniform from 1978, will be two of the 15 Maravich memorabilia items for sale. Bidding has already surpassed $55,000 for the Maravich jacket.
A third premium item for sale is the three NCAA first-team All-American plaques that were awarded to Maravich in 1968, 1969 and 1970.
In all, the auction features more than 850 lots.
While Maravich was a hit during the 1970s, Michael Jordan was the NBA’s go-to star during the 1980s and 1990s. One of the premier auction items is one of the 321 PSA 10 Jordan rookie cards from the 1986-1987 Fleer set. A pair of sneakers Jordan wore during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls — an autographed player sample Air Jordan 1 pair — is also attracting attention in early bidding.
Jerseys belonging to a pair of Hall of Famers before they became famous will also be coveted items in the auction. The only known college baseball jersey of Tom Seaver — a University of Southern California jersey and pair of pants from 1965, when “Tom Terrific” went 10-2 for the Trojans.
The second jersey is a Cincinnati Reds vest issued to Johnny Bench during spring training in 1966 and 1967. Bench was known for his uniform No. 5 during his career with the Reds, but during spring training in 1966 and ’67, he wore No. 53.
A very intriguing piece of memorabilia is an advertisement signed on the back by New York Yankees great Joe DiMaggio and his then-girlfriend (and soon-to-be wife) actress Marilyn Monroe. The consignor, who was 11 at the time, said he saw the couple at the Beverly Hills Hotel during the summer of 1952 and approached DiMaggio in the hotel restaurant for an autograph. The Yankee Clipper signed it and then asked, “And would you like Miss Monroe’s?”
The fan accepted both signatures, but at that point, Monroe was known only for her roles in 1949’s “Love Happy,” which was notable as the last film starring the Marx Brothers; and 1950’s “All About Eve.” DiMaggio and Monroe would marry in January 1954, but would divorce by October 1955.
Another consignor was handed a bat from Willie Mays during batting practice before a 1957 game and was told by the “Say Hey” kid to keep it.
Al Schacht was known as the “Crown Prince of Baseball,” but in 1924 he was a coach for the Washington Senators. That year, the Senators won their only World Series title, and all players and coaches received a championship medallion. Schacht’s medallion will be a premium lot in the auction. It is noteworthy because these medallions predated World Series rings.
A final premium lot of note is a 1935 official National League baseball signed by Babe Ruth. The Bambino, playing for the Boston Braves in his final major league season, signed the baseball on the sweet spot in blue ink.
Auction bidding continues through December 11.