Nothing goes better with a big Thanksgiving meal than a fresh helping of sports history and collectors are getting a chance to dig in a little early this week. SCP Auctions launched its 2019 Fall Premier Auction on Wednesday, with names like Ruth, Lapchick, Mantle and Mikan joining some high-end vintage baseball cards up for grabs.
Leading off is the bat Babe Ruth said was responsible for his 500th career home run in 1929. The bat’s recent discovery has attracted significant national attention and is expected to sell for upwards of $1 million. Joe Lapchick’s circa 1920s New York “Original Celtics” jersey, two high-grade, PSA-registered Topps baseball sets from the 1950s, and tough-to-complete 1952 Topps Master Set are also expected to bring hefty sums when the Southern California auctioneer closes its final sale of 2019 on Saturday, December 14.
The Ruth bat was a 1940s gift from The Babe to his good friend and former mayor of Suffern, N.Y., Jim Rice. It has been quietly stored as a family heirloom for 75 years over multiple generations. Recently authenticated by John Taube of PSA/DNA who graded it GU 10, SCP Auctions believes it may surpass the record price for any bat. That mark was set in 2004 when the lumber Ruth used to hit a home run during the 1923 opening of Yankee Stadium sold through SCP for $1.265 million.
“Rightly proportionate to his status as baseball’s most beloved and iconic player,” says SCP Auctions President David Kohler, “Babe Ruth is the king of the sports collectibles marketplace. When a fresh Ruth item of such quality and historical importance as this one surfaces, it generates tremendous excitement throughout our industry. We are honored and privileged to introduce this museum-worthy artifact to the public.”
The auction also boasts the highest graded Ruth autographed bat with a non-personalized “With Best Wishes” inscription (PSA/DNA Mint 9), plus two awards presented to Ruth posthumously that were sourced from his estate.
Another new discovery that will be unveiled in the auction is a New York “Original Celtics” jersey worn by Hall of Fame center Joe Lapchick in the 1920s. No relation to the Boston Celtics, the “Original Celtics” were the first professional basketball dynasty, dominating the pre-NBA landscape, barnstorming around the country and introducing new elements of the game to the masses. Game worn jerseys from this seemingly mythological team were all thought to be lost to history. Considering Lapchick was one of their biggest stars, SCP Auctions is calling it “the finest pre-war basketball jersey extant” with early projections in the low six figures.
Three Topps baseball complete sets stand out among the featured card lots. A 1956 Topps set ranked #25 on the PSA Registry (8.012 Set Rating) and a 1957 ranked #21 (8.017 Set Rating) are each expected to reach $75,000 or more. Every card in each set is graded PSA NM-MT 8 or better.
Not to be outdone is a ’52 Topps “Master” set with 491 cards including all possible variations (black backs, errors, etc.). A total of 62 cards in this rare complete set have been graded by either PSA or SGC, and even though the range is low-to-mid grade, bidding is projected well north of $50,000.
If World Series tickets is your thing, you’ll have plenty to choose from with a comprehensive collection of PSA-graded fulls beginning in 1923 with the Yankees’ first championship all the way to the Giants’ drought-breaking title in 2010. The near consecutive run encompassing 67 lots includes several low pop tickets, many of which are the highest graded or the only known full examples, are offered for the first time.
Rounding out the auction highlights are Mickey Mantle’s last issued World Series ring from 1978 (one of many championship rings across multiple sports in the auction), Mark McGwire’s 500th home run ball, Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run ball/bat/uniform trio, and several items from the personal collections of Basketball Hall of Famers Lenny Wilkens and Connie Hawkins. Wilkens is the only three-time Naismith Hall of Fame inductee (player, coach and Olympics), and all three of his induction rings are listed. His 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” member Hall of Fame ring is the first such example by a coach or player (out of 16 total) to be offered publicly.
More Auction Highlights
- 1957-58 Topps Basketball Original Archives File Sets (2 Complete Sets – $75,000+
- Babe Ruth MLB “All-Century Team” Tiffany & Co. Pocket Watch – $60,000+
- Elvin Hayes NBA 50 Greatest Signed Lithograph (1/1 Player Edition) – $50,000+
- George Mikan 2002 LA Lakers “Three-Peat” World Champions Ring – $40,000+
- George Mikan #99 Minneapolis Lakers 5-Time NBA Champions Ring – $40,000+
- Babe Ruth MLB “Most Memorable Personality” Award Trophy – $30,000+
- 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA VG-EX 4 – $30,000+
- 1994 FIFA World Cup Winner’s Gold Medal Issued to Brazil – $30,000+
- 5/17/2019 Pete Alonso NL ROY 2-HR Game Worn Mets Jersey (MLB Auth.) – $25,000+
The entire auction can be viewed at SCPAuctions.com.