Clean Sweep Auctions is just one of several companies hosting auctions in early December. But unlike some companies that trot out various high-end memorabilia items at this time every year, Clean Sweep is hoping to attract a slightly different crowd.
"Traditionally, this is our $500-and-under auction," said company president Steve Verkman. "Because so many people have their big auction this time of year, we do a big auction at the end of January. It doesn't pay to butt heads with companies for the same customers. Instead, we use the December auction to focus on selling gift items, such as single-signed baseballs. If someone wants to spend, say, $200 on a gift, we have a lot of great choices. It's an interesting sale and one that should have a very broad appeal."
With more than 1,350 lots, there's plenty for buyers to choose from in this sale, that closes Dec. 6. Verkman estimates that roughly 80 percent of the items are related to baseball, and more than half of those items are autographed.
"We have a nice run of Perez-Steele cards, 8-by-10 photos, some interesting signed letters, player contracts and about 150 single-signed baseballs," Verkman said. "From Jackie Robinson to Satchel Paige to Mickey Mantle, we have it in this sale."
Among some of single-signed baseballs in this sale are truly hard-to-find pieces, including baseballs signed by deceased HOFers Joe Wood and Joe Dugan. There are also several team-signed baseballs from the 1930s through the '80s.
Bat collectors will find various autographed and game-used items in this sale. There are also some rare World Series tickets and programs available. "Baseball publications is one of the areas we're known for and is one of the strongest areas of the market for us," Verkman said. "In this sale, we have World Series programs going back to 1929, and some Brooklyn Dodger yearbooks. Collectors of those kinds of publications are very knowledgeable. They know what's rare and they know exactly what they want.
They don't just buy a publication for the sake of buying it. They search our higher quality items, and we've been able to cater to that market." There are items available for fans of other sports, as well. Verkman said there is a nice selection of football autographs from such legends as Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and Jerry Rice. Collectors of memoraiblia related to the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame will enjoy some of the rare programs and tickets in this sale. There's also a mix of hockey items, golf balls and boxing memorabilia.
Pennant collectors will find items dating back to the 1940s and '50s, while photo collectors will find material dating back to the early 20th century. Bidding is now open at www.csauctions.com. The company's next auction takes place in late January, and that sale will be the company's first "major" auction of 2007. Verkman said 2006 has been a successful year for his company.
"It's been a record year of sales for us," he said. "Demand for items at the top end of the market seems unlimited. It's a very, very deep market."
Clean Sweep's most recent major auction featured a wide variety of premium memorabilia items, including several related to Babe Ruth, rare team-signed balls and several multi-signed Hall of Fame items. Listed below are the top 75 items from that sale.