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Heisman Trophy Takes Center Stage at Mastro Live Event

The Sports Museum of America will serve as the backdrop to Mastro Auctions' live sale that will take place Dec. 8 in New York City. Among the headlining collectibles is Charles White's 1979 Heisman Trophy. 

Mastro Auctions is finalizing plans for a Live Sports Auction that will be held at The Sports Museum of America – the new home of the Heisman Trophy – in New York City on Dec. 8.

The marquee item of the event will be Charles White’s 1979 Heisman Trophy, football’s most prestigious and elusive award, especially in the eye’s of sports memorabilia collectors.

“A collector’s ability to own a Heisman is a truly rare occurrence,” said Doug Allen, COO and president of Mastro Auctions. “Only a handful of Heismans have ever become available publicly, and each time the sale results in extraordinary bidding interest and a substantial price realized.”

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Adding to the anticipation of the event is venue and timing.

“Just a few days after this amazing item is auctioned, we’ll find out in the same building who the 2008 Heisman trophy winner will be,” says Allen. “The auction of a Heisman trophy will deliver an exciting lead-in to what is always one of football’s most anticipated moments each year.”

According to Allen, the record price paid for a Heisman trophy is $395,240. That record-setting trophy, awarded in 1941, originally belonged to Minnesota halfback Bruce Smith.

The auction will feature two sessions. The first will focus on “Legends of the Gridiron,” and this portion will take place on the morning of Dec. 8. Allen said that the Heisman trophy, which will be offered in this session of the live auction, is just a single piece in one of the largest private collections of high-quality football memorabilia ever offered publicly. The collection is composed of more than 250 items, and is dominated by game-used jerseys and helmets worn by Hall of Fame football players, future Hall of Famers and Heisman Trophy winners.

The second session, “Legends of the Diamond,” will occur in the afternoon on the same day. It will feature evocative and historical pieces of baseball memorabilia, including game-used items, one-of-a-kind display pieces and high-value baseball cards.

Combined, the two-part unfolding of the auction will include hundreds of artifacts, comprising some of the world’s most-coveted pieces of vintage football and baseball memorabilia.

“We are talking about museum-quality items,” said Allen. “Each piece is historical in nature in terms of what and whom it represents.”

“Legends of the Gridiron” Highlights
Specifically, significant football items being offered in Mastro Auctions’ “Legends of the Gridiron” session include: Charles White’s 1979 Heisman Trophy (shown above right, estimated value $200,000-$300,000); 1962-65 Jim Brown Cleveland Browns signed home jersey (shown on the next page, $50,000-$75,000); Johnny Unitas 1970 Baltimore Colts twice-signed game-worn road jersey ($50,000-$75,000); Johnny Unitas circa 1969-70 Baltimore Colts signed game-worn helmet ($20,000-$30,000); Ray Nitschke mid-1960s Green Bay Packers game-worn home jersey (shown above left, $20,000-$30,000); Jim Taylor 1966 Green Bay Packers game-worn and signed home jersey ($20,000-$30,000); Don Maynard 1969 New York Jets Super Bowl III game-worn and signed road jersey ($20,000-$30,000); Tom Landry 1950-55 New York Giants game-worn jersey ($15,000-$20,000); Gayle Sayers mid-to-late-1960s Chicago Bears game-worn road jersey ($10,000-$15,000); Dick Butkus early 1970s NFL Pro Bowl game-worn and signed jersey ($10,000-$15,000); Joe Namath early 1970s New York Jets game-worn home jersey ($10,000-$15,000).

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The extraordinary jersey lineup also features an 1890s-1900s Notre Dame game-worn uniform manufactured by revered equipment supplier A. G. Spalding Bros. The ensemble is actually of the same style donned in 1903, and thus may have been used in Notre Dame’s first undefeated season, when Louis “Red” Salmon was the earliest of the Fightin’ Irish ever named a Walter Camp All-American. Includes helmet, nose guard, vest, sweater and pants ($5,000-$10,000).

More than 80 lots of premium baseball items that cover every major collecting area are being offered in the “Legends of the Diamond” session.

They include:

  • Mickey Mantle World Series home run ball No. 16 (shown inset photo at left) that broke Babe Ruth’s record. The OAL (Cronin) baseball was miraculously recovered and yielded to Mantle. For his own showcase, he inscribed the ball with the particulars. The handwritten details are bold and distinct ($80,000-$100,000).
  • Mantle’s signed and inscribed 535th home run ball ($50,000-$75,000)
  • The Ultimate Trophy Ball – The “Final Out” of the first-ever National League Championship Game in 1876, Chicago Triumphs over Hartford ($40,000-$50,000)
  • 1910 T210 Old Mill Cigarettes Joe Jackson rookie, SGC 50 ($150,000-$200,000)
  • M110 Sporting Life Cabinets complete set of six ($80,000-$100,000)
  • 1903 E107 Breisch Williams Type 1 Christy Mathewson, SGC 20 ($50,000-$75,000)
  • 1911-14 D304 Brunners Bread SGC-graded near-set (23/25), featuring Cobb and Wagner, Mathewson ($40,000-$50,000)
  • 1956 Topps Sandy Koufax, PSA 10 ($40,000-$50,000)
  • Babe Ruth 1915 Spalding “Rookie Era” game-used bat, his earliest known, PSA 9 ($50,000-$75,000)
  • Mantle 1951 Hillerich & Bradsby game-used bat, PSA 9 ($50,000-$75,000)
  • Jackie Robinson 1950s game-used bat, PSA 7 ($50,000-$75,000)
  • 1969 Hank Aaron inscribed 534th home run Adirondack bat, PSA 10 ($10,000-$15,000)
  • Roy Campanella 1950s H&B game-used bat, PSA 8 ($10,000-$15,000)
  • Mantle 1958 Yankees game-worn World Series jersey ($80,000-$100,000)
  • Lefty Grove 1941 Red Sox game-worn complete road uniform from final season ($50,000-$75,000)
  • Retired Numbers of Yankees Greats that hung in Yankee Stadium – Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio (each $30,000-$50,000)
  • Howard Ehmke 1929 Philadelphia Athletics complete road uniform, worn for his record 13-strikeout World Series performance ($20,000-$30,000)
  • Honus Wagner 1935 Pittsburgh Pirates coach’s road jersey ($15,000-$20,000)

Legendary baseball autographs and awards

  • Babe Ruth 1927 signed 60 home run photo display ($40,000-$50,000)
  • Mantle-signed 1952 contract ($20,000-$30,000)
  • Cy Young single-signed ball ($10,000-$15,000)
  • Steve Carlton 1977 Cy Young ($40,000-$50,000)
  • Tim Raines 1996 Yankees oversized championship trophy ($20,000-$30,000)
  • Jose Cardenal 1999 Yankees World Series coach’s ring ($20,000-$30,000)
  • 1996 Yankees World Series scout’s ring ($15,000-$20,000)
  • 1908 Christy Mathewson Trophy awarded by the New York Giants for his finest season ($15,000-$20,000).

Prior to the auction, all items in the sale will be on public display at the The Sports Museum of America on Dec. 7, and a cocktail reception will be held that evening at 7 p.m. Reservations for the cocktail reception are required. For more information, to register for the cocktail party or to bid in the auction and receive an auction catalog, call Mastro at (630) 472-1200 or go to

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