With his career now more than 50 years in the rearview mirror, many of the bidders in the Ted Williams auction probably never saw him play. For collectors and fans, that rarely matters, however. Opportunities to acquire items directly from the source is a rare chance. If you wanted something from one of baseball’s greatest players, consigned by his daughter, you had your chance Saturday. The mammoth catalog sale wrapped up in front of a live audience at Fenway Park, after a couple of weeks of online bidding. Of the 794 lots offered, fewer than 25 were listed as not having been sold when the last lot closed. The auction grossed $3.5 million.
A portion of the proceed were donated to Williams’ favorite charity, the Jimmie Fund. There were other historic Red Sox items offered, too, as Fenway Park continued its 100th anniversary celebration.
“Thank you to all the fans of my dad,” said Claudia Williams, daughter of the late slugger. “It is humbling to see the passion that fans still feel for my father after all these years. I am hopeful that his belongings have made their way to good homes and that the new owners will display them with a true sense of pride and enjoy them as much as my dad and my family did. I am honored with the success, and happy that it allows me the chance to share a portion of the proceeds with the Jimmy Fund, a cause so close to my father’s heart for such a long time.”
There were lots that sold for over $100,000 and others than went for just a couple hundred. Everything from his 1949 MVP trophy ($299,000) to a couple pair of his dress shoes ($1,092) was offered by Williams’ estate.
Winning bidders paid Hunt Auctions’ normal 15% buyer’s premium.
Besides the trophy, other items sold for big bucks included the elaborate crown from his ‘Sultan of Swat’ season of 1957 ($230,000) along with:
- A baseball signed to Ted Williams from Babe Ruth, “To My Pal” ($195,500)
- His 1957 Silver Bat award ($195,500)
- His 1955 road jersey ($126,500)
- His 1966 Hall of Fame ring that included a hand-written label on the box ($109,250)
The auction also included some other rare, vintage memorabilia associated with the Red Sox including the first pitched baseball from Fenway Park’s 1912 opening ($172,500) and a program from the first-ever World Series game, scored ($138,0
“No category in the auction better illustrated Ted Williams’ importance to this country than his military items which achieved outstanding prices realized. If there was any doubt as to the strength of the sports memorabilia market and specifically Ted Williams items those doubts were categorically erased with this offering.” remarked David Hunt, President of Hunt Auctions.
Also, WBZ-TV chatted with some of the collectors on hand, including the man who helped get Ted’s personalized autographed Babe Ruth baseball back for him after it was stolen years ago.
Several subsequent offerings of additional materials from the Ted Williams collection will be conducted by Hunt Auctions over the next several months inclusive of their annual Major League Baseball All Star Game Fan Fest live auction in July at Kansas City, MO.