Babe Ruth took top honors in Heritage Auctions’ $6.2-plus million May 2-4 Signature Sport Collectibles event, as his 1935 Yankees jersey, never used by The Bambino – his status as a Yankee was made obsolete by his offseason trade to the Boston Braves – commanded $286,800,shattering the record price realized for an unworn sports uniform. Second place in the memorabilia portion of the auction likewise went to the Bambino, with a record price for a post-career bat realized at $71,700. All prices include 19.5 percent buyer’s premium.
“Babe Ruth remains the gold standard in sports collectibles,” said Chris Ivy, director of Sports at Heritage Auctions. “His broad appeal and Heritage’s global reach proved to be the difference in this auction, for Ruth material, as well as for material across the spectrum, as international bidders paid record prices for several of the marquee pieces in this star-studded auction.”
“Shoeless" Joe Jackson, after whom the Babe fashioned his own home run swing, proved that collectors long ago forgave his alleged World Series sins, as his 1915 Cracker Jack card, graded SGC 96 Mint 9, commanded $101,575, a record-breaking auction result at the grade. The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, earned top honors in the autograph subgenre of the sale, with a single-signed baseball driven to $65,725 in one of the most spirited bidding wars of the second session.
Trading card collectors dug deep for the top lots in the auction, with the famed Black Swamp Find inspiring prices of $47,800 and $35,850, respectively, for PSA Mint 9 examples of Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb. An exceedingly rare signed example of Babe Ruth’s 1933 Goudey soared to $50,787, while a Gem Mint example of Bob Gibson’s 1963 Topps card obliterated the hobby record at an eye-popping $10,755.
A pair of jerseys worn by hurler Earl Yingling with the 1913 Brooklyn Dodgers posted the two highest prices ever realized at auction for a non-Hall of Famer, achieving $59,750 and $47,800 for his road and home versions, respectively. Other noteworthy garments included Lew Alcindor’s rookie shooting shirt, a world record for the uniform style, at $47,800, and Aaron Rodgers’ draft day blazer, likewise a top figure for “civilian” clothing, finished at $7,767.
Rare medals brought Olympics collectors out in force, with the scarce 1904 St. Louis Gold taking the top spot on the podium at $38,837. A Gold and Silver won by Cuban boxer Andres Aldama sold for $26,290 each.
“We’re already seeing significant consignments coming in for our August Platinum Night auction,” said Ivy, talking about the live sale to be held during the National Convention on Aug. 1. “The prices we’re seeing clearly indicate that the market for quality material is stronger than it’s ever been.”
Other notable results from the auction include:
- 1980 Rob McClanahan "The Miracle on Ice" Game Used Stick that Scored the Game Winning Goal in Gold Medal Game: Realized $38,838.
- 1924 Washington Senators World Championship Pendant Presented to Leon "Goose" Goslin: Realized $31,070.
- 1988-89 Wayne Gretzky Game Worn, Signed Los Angeles Kings Jersey: Realized $31,070.
- 1971-72 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Championship Player's Ring: Realized $23,900.
- Mid-1980s Len Bias Game Worn University of Maryland Terrapins Jersey: Realized $23,900.
- 1965-66 Wilt Chamberlain Game Worn Philadelphia 76'ers Game Worn Shorts: Realized $21,510.
- Circa 1940 Walter Johnson Single Signed Baseball: Realized $21,510.
- 1959 Fleer Three Stooges PSA-Graded Partial Set: Realized $17,925.
- 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA MINT 9: Realized $17,925.
- 1934 Tour of Japan Pennant Presented to Joseph Cascarella: Realized $16,730.
- 1996-97 Michael Jordan Game Worn, Signed Shoes - With Team Provenance: Realized $15,535.
- 1970 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Championship Ring Presented to Dallas Smith: $15,535.
- 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig PSA NM-MT 8: Realized $14,340.
- 1933 Goudey #1 Benny Bengough PSA NM 7: Realized $13,145.
- 1984-87 Joe Montana Game Worn San Francisco 49ers Jersey, MEARS A10: Realized $10,755.
- 1928 Notre Dame Team Signed Football - With Rockne: $10,158.
- 2010 Kevin Durant Game Worn, Signed Shoes - Worn in his First All-Star Game: Realized $9,560.
- 2012 Colin Kaepernick Game Worn, Signed and Inscribed San Francisco 49ers Jersey - Worn 12/16/12 Vs. New England: Realized $7,768.
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