The hammer price for the bat, a Hillerich & Bradsby model manufactured by Louisville Slugger dating from the 1917-1920 period, was $480,000. The buyer’s premium inflated the price to the final amount during the first day of a two-day live and internet auction at Rockefeller Center.
The bat is burned with a “signature” of Jackson, according to a description on Christie’s auction page. Jackson, who died in 1951, was banned from major-league baseball after the Black Sox World Series scandal of 1919. The outfielder was illiterate and rarely signed anything except legal documents or paychecks.
The bat measures 35½ inches long and weighs 39.2 ounces, Christie’s said. The auction house said the bat was one of two known Joe Jackson professional model bats, but the only full-name script Signature model manufactured by Louisville Slugger that can be attributed to being used by Jackson.
A 1911 Jackson bat sold for $956,000 in bidding by Heritage Auctions in February 2014. That was Jackson’s first full season in the majors after brief stints with the Philadelphia Athletics (1908) and Cleveland Indians (1909-10). As a full-time regular in 1911, Jackson batted .408 in 147 games and finish behind Ty Cobb’s .420.
The one that sold Wednesday in New York was authenticated and graded a 7 by PSA/DNA.
The bat was one of nearly 500 items on the block on Day 1. The lots up for bid included letters, contracts, memorabilia, game-used bats and vintage baseball cards, but the professional model bats drew the most attention from bidders.
Other items sold included:
- Cap Anson bat $427,500
- Lou Gehrig bat $415,500
- Jackie Robinson bat $295,500
- Josh Gibson bat $319,500
- 1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA 9 $247,500
- Mike “King” Kelly signed photo and dinner program $199,500
- 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax PSA 9 $162,500
- George Sisler bat $137,500