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Recent auctions reflect strong marketplace

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Spring is a hectic season in the sports auction marketplace, and two recently completed events suggest the demand for vintage memorabilia is as strong as ever.

The Spring 2006 Auction, which closed Saturday, generated $3.32 million in sales from the 1,136 lots. The sale featured two new records for hockey memorabilia.

A Bobby Orr jersey now holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a piece of hockey memorabilia as sold Orr's 1967-68 Bruins home jersey for a record price of $179,654. The record-setting jersey was worn by Orr on his first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Dec 11, 1967).

In addition, a 1970-71 Orr road jersey became the second-highest selling piece of hockey memorabilia by selling for $134,977. In all, four Orr jerseys sold for a whopping $413,980. "These prices certainly exceeded our expectations and prove that hockey memorabilia is back and hotter than ever," said Mike Heffner, president of

The auction also featured the second-highest sale price for a football jersey ever. A 1959 Johnny Unitas jersey sold for $93,195.

Mastro Auctions recently completed its inaugural fine arts sale in conjunction with its April sports and Americana catalog auction, logging more than $13.1 million in total sales, a figure that represents the company's second-highest total in its history.

The three-day sale was paced by a string of sports items that topped the $100,000 mark, including a 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie in PSA 9 that sold for a record $141,281, making it one of the most expensive cards ever sold.
Two other card offerings also broke the six-figure barrier: a 1911 T205 Gold Border near master set ($128,145) and a 1910 T210 Old Mill Cigarettes Joe Jackson rookie ($109,639). The memorabilia offerings were led by a 1933 Lou Gehrig game-used bat ($120,878), a 1918 Babe Ruth game-used bat ($116,229) and a Joe DiMaggio 1933-35 San Francisco Seals signed game-worn jersey ($104,418).

Two more upcoming events of note in the vintage market include the May 19-20 Hunt Auctions sale of the personal collection of Joe DiMaggio. The auction, to be held in New York City, features more than 1,100 lots covering the life and career of DiMaggio, including items relating to his marriage to Marilyn Monroe.

One month later, on June 24, a Walter Johnson jersey from the 1920s and Hank Aaron's 1954 Milwaukee Braves rookie road jersey headline the June 24 Sotheby's with SCP Live Auction at Sotheby's in New York City in a sale that also features the 1858 Fashion Course All Star Game "Scorers Report" from the baseball match between the "New York Nine" and the "Brooklyn Nine."

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