Quality pieces that have never made it to the auction block before seems to have been Heritage Galleries' calling card for the past few years. With the vast array of significant vintage football and baseball memorabilia already chalked up for its May Sports Signature sale, the Dallas-based auction venue is sure to take the hobby by storm once again.
The consignment deadline for its first major auction of 2007 doesn't arrive until mid-March and already it's building up to be one of the hobby's most significant memorabilia offerings of the year.
With headlining pieces such as a 1939 handwritten Lou Gehrig letter and a 1918 Red Sox (with Ruth) team-signed baseball, one would expect a major baseball theme for the sale that will end May 5, but that simply isn't the case. Chris Ivy, director of Heritage's sports auctions, said that although its baseball lineup is very solid, its football lots are going to be amazing.
"I think the focus of this auction, and it's a little bit ironic, is going to be football," said Ivy. "The Hall of Fame football material in the auction is going to be unparalleled. There's going to be over 30 Hall of Fame jerseys and helmets."
According to Ivy, there will be many gridiron relics offered that have never hit the auction block until now. Heritage's sale will feature a 1950s Tom Landry New York Giants game-worn jersey, possibly the best example of a 1960s Ray Nitschke Durene Packers home jersey ever offered, a Dan Marino helmet worn during his rookie season in the Super Bowl, a Terry Bradshaw game-worn jersey and helmet, and numerous gamers worn by members of Dallas' Ring of Honor, including a Rayfield Wright shirt that Ivy believes may be the first of its kind ever offered publicly.
Ivy mentioned that nearly all of these pieces came from personal collections of people linked to the team or players. For instance, the Cowboys jerseys came from a man who was a ballboy for Dallas in the early 1970s, the Marino helmet originated from one of his former teammates at the University of Pittsburgh and the Nitschke jersey was obtained from a huge collection that was originated from one of the Packers' longtime employees.
Despite the Hall-of-Fame lineup of football collectibles, Ivy made it clear that baseball collectors will not be left out, and with items such as items from the Cy Young museum, the early-career Ruth Red Sox baseball and the Gehrig letter; there will be a nice taste of great items from the national pastime.
According to Ivy, the two-page Gehrig letter is definitely one of the most significant pieces he has ever seen.
"The Lou Gehrig letter is a really neat piece," said Ivy. "He wrote it within a couple weeks of his famous farewell speech in July of 1939. He's answering a letter from a woman who had a similar ailment and he's directing her on how she should handle treatment, and to go to the Mayo Clinic. The timing of it is very late. Gehrig handwritten letters don't come around too much."
The Young items that will be offered include a trophy from 1908 that was presented on Cy Young Day. Another interesting item from the Young museum is his personal traveling trunk.
Ivy said the consignment deadline for this Signature offering is March 10, so there is still time to get items into what is already a solid memorabilia selection. Ivy expressed his excitement to get catalogs out to its collectors in mid-April and is ready to get bidding started that same month.
"Each auction, it's funny how they come together," said Ivy. "They kind of form their own theme. A couple months ago I had no idea that all this phenomenal Hall of Fame and NFL football material was going to be coming through the door. It comes from different sources and different people. The pattern is pretty fun and it's going to be really fun promoting it."