Gone but not forgotten; Ruth, Gehrig and the ‘Old Perfesser’ still generate a buzz in the Big Apple. Tuesday’s auction saw several items stretching well into six figures.
It may have been a ‘work day’ for most, but plenty of big-time collectors still made room to bid in a major sports memorabilia auction in New York Tuesday.
Sotheby’s together with SCP Auctions, trotted out a few hundred vintage collectibles including some one-of-a-kind items from the estate of Casey Stengel, autographed pieces from Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth and the final out ball from the 1924 World Series. Final totals included 343 lots sold at a price of over $4.73 million.
David Kohler, President and CEO of SCP Auctions, said: “We’re thrilled to have had another hugely successful sale of Sports Memorabilia, with new buyers entering the market from other collecting categories.”
Tuesday night, Lee Dunbar, Director of the Collectibles Department for Sotheby’s, said, “Today’s sale, our fifth live auction in partnership with SCP Auctions, demonstrated strength across a number of catergories in the Sports Memorabilia market, as well as depth at a variety of price points. Our single-owner collections were particularly successful, and collectors were willing to pay premium prices for objects with historical and personal significance from many of the most important and memorable moments in sports history.”
Perhaps the most poignant piece involved both legendary Yankees. A rare dual-signed photo of Ruth hugging his stricken teammate on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day (pictured above) sold for $120,000 including the buyer’s premium. It’s one of only a few known to exist and sold for four times the pre-sale estimate.
A 1921-31 era Babe Ruth Louisville Slugger pro model bat drew a winning bid of $135,000. With the 20% buyer’s premium tacked on, the final price was $162,000. The bat was sold to an anonymous buyer bidding via telephone. It came with stellar provenance, having been a gift to ex big-leaguer Tony Cuccinello, a contemporary of the Babe.
A pair of Walter Johnson items also drew heavy interest. The last out ball from the 1924 World Series sold for $90,000 while the only known script signature game bat used by the Big Train, went for $96,000. It had been in the holdings of long-time collector Allan Schwartz.
A 1941 World Series watch presented to Joe DiMaggio found takers in New York with the final price reaching $78,000.
The estate of Casey Stengel consigned several of the former Yankee and Met manager’s personal items including his 1951 World Series ring which brought a stunning $180,000, the most paid for any one item in the sale. Stengel’s 1957 American League Championship gold cufflinks went for $72,000 while his 1969 Mets World Series ring brought $78,000. All were sold to private collectors according to SCP.
A pair of autographed balls from the 1934 Tour of Japan by American major leaguers brought over $50,000 each. A PSA/DNA 8.5 graded team ball in the original box sold for $52,800 while a single-signed Ruth ball did even better at $57,000.
Some baseball cards found their way into the sale. A rare T206 white border Eddie Plank card graded PSA 6 headlined the section at $102,000.
An impressive collection of vintage NBA game-worn jerseys was heavily publicized before the sale and the results showed Willis Reed’s jersey from his dramatic entrance onto the Madison Square Garden court in 1970’s NBA Finals brought $90,000. Oscar Robertson’s 1967-68 Cincinnati Royals’ shirt sold for $66,000. A 1967-68 Bill Russell jersey brought $60,000, as did a 1947-48 George Mikan Minneapolis Lakers model.
The owner of the 1975-76 Pete Maravich New Orleans Jazz jersey was hoping it would bring more than it sold for, but told a New Orleans newspaper he enjoyed his trip to the auction anyway.
The jerseys were one of more than 80 lots of basketball uniform items from the collection of Alan Schlesinger, owner of Alchemy Management LLC in Great Neck, New York
A 1931 home jersey worn by Gehrig, estimated to sell for at least $200,000, went unsold after the final bid of $192,000 with buyer’s premium fell short of the reserve.
SCP Auctions next sale will consist of the second offer of the Casey Stengel Collection with bidding ending in the middle of September.