The ring presented to Ted Williams upon his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 sold for $444,000 Friday night, topping the thousands of items sold over three days by Heritage Auctions.
The ring, which included the original Balfour box with his handwritten inscription “Hall of Fame ring,” last sold for $95,000 in 2012 during an auction of Williams memorabilia held at Fenway Park. Williams gave a short speech on his induction day, including his hope that the Hall would one day honor players from the Negro Leagues, something that did eventually come to fruition. Williams famously told Bob Costas during a 1990s interview that his early advocacy for Negro Leaguers ranked among his proudest moments in baseball.
Baseball cards dominated the auction. An SGC 7.5 copy of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle sold for $384,000, a record for the grade.
A PSA 7 ’52 Mantle netted $360,000 while a near master set of 490 cards including a PSA 4 Mantle sold for $300,000.
In all, over 20 items sold for over $100,000 in the auction, which had total sales of over $17.9 million.
A 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card graded 1.5 by SGC realized $276,000, a record price for the grade. One of the three 1910 E98 Set of 30 Ty Cobb cards graded 10 by PSA netted $222,000, while a signed copy of the 1925 Exhibit Lou Gehrig carrying a PSA 1/8 autograph grade, sold for $174,000. An SGC 40 1910 Tip Top Honus Wagner sold for more than six times its pre-sale estimate when it landed at $156,000.
A 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski PSA 6 reached $93,000, a record for the grade.
The auction included numerous unopened boxes including a wax box of 1962 Topps cards that sold for $288,000. The original cost of the 24 packs when they were issued was $1.20.
Other top sellers included:
- 6th rated 1969-70 Topps Basketball set (all cards graded 8 or higher) $174,000
- Autographed 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson (PSA 7 auto grade) $168,000
- 1970 Topps Baseball wax box (5th, 6th and 7th series cards) $96,000
- 1998 UD Choice Michael Jordan StarQuest Gold $93,000 (11x estimate)
- 1957 Stan Musial game jersey $93,000
- 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie #57 PSA Gem Mint 10 $156,000
- 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie #253 SGC NM/MT 8 $144,000
- 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie #18 PSA Mint 9 $120,000
“The depth and breadth of this auction, combined with the staggering results, provide a clear indicator that the sports collectibles market for quality memorabilia and vintage sports cards remains healthy, vibrant and strong,” says Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions.
Complete results can be found here.