It was only fitting that the most sought after items in the 18th annual Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory were items that were created there decades ago and became the tools of the trade for a couple of all-time baseball greats.
A Lou Gehrig bat believed to date to the last full season for baseball’s “Iron Horse” topped the proceedings at $558,125. The bat features the “small signature” stamping variant which is rarely offered and highly coveted by collectors. PSA/DNA assigned the bat a grade of 8.5, ranking it among the very finest of the small population of surviving copies.
Several other Hall of Fame player game used bats were offered at the auction, including a Hank Greenberg bat dating to the 1939-41 period. Carrying a 10 rating from PSA/DNA, the bat drew a heated battle between multiple bidders ending at a record price of $223,250 against an estimate of $50,000-$75,000.
A Derek Jeter bat dating to his rookie season of 1996 soared to $47,000 while a 1922-25 era Tris Speaker bat went for $35,250.
The auction featured over 400 lots of historic baseball memorabilia consigned by collectors. It was capped by a live finale on Saturday inside the building in downtown Louisville where thousands of bats are still created each year.
Among numerous jerseys of past greats in the catalog was a 1954 Ted Williams Red Sox road flannel that netted $82,250.
Other top selling items included:
-1980 Mike Schmidt autographed championship season bat ($32,312)
-1913 Bob Shawkey Philadelphia Athletics World Championship pocket watch ($29,375)
-1937 Leo Durocher St. Louis Cardinals home jersey ($22,325)
-1994 Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs home jersey ($23,500)
-Roberto Clemente professional model baseball bat c.1969-72 ($35,250)
-1978 Willie Stargell Pittsburgh Pirates alternate jersey ($15,275)
-1910 Christy Mathewson autographed hand written letter ($29,081)