There are images of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle, but it’s an original 1989 photo of Ken Griffey Jr. that’s captured the most bidding interest at RMY Auctions.
The company’s October auction includes over 850 lots of sports, news and entertainment oriented images.
The Griffey photo isn’t just one of the many images taken of the 19-year-old star during his much chronicled rookie season. The 8×10 photo is the work of well- known photographer Clifton Boutelle and includes his original glassine envelope and a copy of the contact sheet.
The 8×10 photo shows Griffey in the batter’s box in a game against the Detroit Tigers and has never before been offered in the hobby. The current high bid is over $2,000 with the 9.9% buyer’s premium factored in.
While Griffey captivated fans in the late 1980s and 1990s, Michael Jordan did the same in basketball. The auction also has a rookie season image of the young Bulls star—tongue hanging out as he drives to the basket. Also making its auction debut, the photo has been signed on the back by Associated Press lensman Rusty Kennedy.
Among the vintage photos up for grabs is a 1949 shot of Jackie Robinson, posing for formal photographs that were used in “The Jackie Robinson Story.” Pulled from a newspaper archive, the 8×10 photo has some light creasing from editorial use. A rarely seen original, it has been encapsulated by PSA as a Type I. RMY calls it “one of the greatest portrait photographs of Robinson we have ever handled.”
The auction includes numerous photos of Babe Ruth including a newly discovered composite photograph showing five images of his swing, an original 1931 barnstorming photo with Lou Gehrig that originated in the estate of Ruth’s business manager, Christy Walsh and an original May 1924 photo of Ruth dressed in military uniform, saluting the camera as part of an effort to recruit for a “citizens military.”
Ruth is also part of another major attraction in the auction—a posed photo that features four of the greatest hitters of the pre-War era, all smiling for the camera. Ruth is squatting for the camera along with Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker in a photo that dates to the last year of Cobb’s career, 1928.
The 3 ½ x 6 ¾” photo is another new discovery that’s never been offered before.
Some rare photos of legendary pitcher Walter Johnson are also expected to sell for strong prices including a 5 x 5 ¾” 1922 portrait photo that was the same image used to create his 1924 Diaz Cigarettes baseball card.
The auction runs through October 22 at RMYAuctions.com.