A three-day, 1,000-lot online auction conducted by Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show, found a historic letter written by 24-year old George Armstrong Custer, to be the highest priced item, bringing $87,750. (All prices include the buyer's premium.)
Custer, long before his “Little Big Horn” fame, wrote a four-page document in 1864, pledging loyalty to President Lincoln, and claiming to fight on and “hang every human being who possesses a drop of rebel blood in their veins whether they be men, women or children.”
The letter came from the sports-historical-entertainment collection of Bert Padell, the “Financial Advisor to the Stars,” a former Yankee batboy who went on to represent such figures as Joe DiMaggio, Robert DeNiro, Madonna and Britney Spears, and amassed a collection believed to be one of the biggest sold at auction since Barry Halper in 1999.
From his collection also came a winning bid of $81,900 for a 1950 World Series bat used by Joe DiMaggio, personally handed to Padell, his batboy, following that series.
The other major collection in the auction was the Stanley Weston/Toby Weston Cone boxing collection, which at one time comprised a large segment of the Madison Square Garden Boxing Hall of Fame, and has continued to be updated. Among the most watched items from that collection was a 1916 “confession” letter from Jack Johnson, claiming to have thrown his earlier fight in Havana against Jess Willard. The letter, long coveted by ring historians, went for $26,325. Stanley Weston was a long time boxing and wrestling magazine publisher, artist, writer and boxing historian.
“Our Icons auction was an amazing experience. Toby Weston Cone, Bert Padell and our other consignors offered a spectacular selection of collectibles with an impeccable combination of provenance and pop culture appeal, and our bidders responded accordingly,” said Steve Geppi, president and CEO of Geppi's Memorabilia Road Show.
Other highlights in the auction included Lou Gehrig’s 1935 signed Yankee contract ($42,120), Babe Ruth’s 1948 autobiography book contract ($18,720), and his contract for “The Babe Ruth Story” movie, ($17,750); an original Ebbets Field turnstile ($26,325), a Gaultier-designed bustier worn by Madonna on her “Blonde Ambition” tour ($28,080), and a check written by Christy Mathewson to his namesake son ($24,750).
A trio of Babe Ruth photographs which included the seldom-seen cover photo from the catalog, went for $9,360.
Other highlights from the auction included:
- Two Ali artworks signed by Andy Warhol – $11,115
- A vintage “Mutoscope” machine from turn of last century – $22,230
- Frank Thomas’ 1962 New York Mets home jersey – $7,980
- A game-used Jimmie Foxx bat – $16,380
- Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig signed baseball – $16,380
- Gehrig signed banknote from 1938 – $21,060
- Mickey Mantle game-used autographed bat – $14,040
- A Lincoln manuscript from 1938 – $11,700
- George Washington signed document – $9,360
- Warhol/Jagger signed silkscreen – $16,380
- Lincoln handwritten letter to P. Quinn Harrison – $26,325
- John Wilkes Booth handwritten letter – $22,230
- Bat Masterson signed subpoena display from 1881 – $9,360
- Theodore Roosevelt signed letter on foreign policy, $17,750
- Franklin Roosevelt signed presidential letter – $9,945
- Babe Ruth autographed bat – $11,700
- Mize All-Star bat with more than 200 AL signatures – $4,680
- Nolan Ryan game-worn 1973 Angels jersey – $11,700
- Christy Mathewson signed check payable to namesake son – $24,570
- Original handwritten lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” – $14,040
- Hack Wilson handwritten, signed letter and autographed photo – $14,040
- Collection of 32 boxing event tickets – $17,550
- Collection of more than 200 tickets and stubs – $11,700
- Collection of 21 full tickets to Joe Louis bouts _ $10,530
- James J. Corbett vs. John L. Sullivan silk – $9,945
- Signed card from heavyweight champ Marvin Hart – $15,210
- John L. Sullivan boxing silk – $15,210
- Collection of “Damsels in Distress” cover art, $14,040
- Collection of three original Ring Magazine cover art by Reekis – $14,040
- Massive collection of boxing photos – $11,700
- Color proofs (51) of Ring Magazine covers – $12,870 A full run of All-Star Game-issued workout jerseys for the 2005 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, auctioned individually, brought $33,000, raised for the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.). The top price for any player was $1,755 for Mariano Rivera's jersey.For more information, call 877-ROAD-SHW. (877-762-3749) or +011 (410)427-9456 outside the US. The website is http://www.gmrs.com.