A baseball signed by 11 of Major League Baseball’s original Hall of Fame inductees in 1939 and a Bobby Orr circa 1972 Boston Bruins game-worn jersey headline the Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction, which is open for bidding and runs through June 7.
One of the greatest signed baseballs ever, the ball was autographed by 11 original Hall of Fame members, who were all present at the inaugural induction ceremony in Cooperstown in June 1939. The ball features the signatures of George Sisler, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Connie Mack, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Larry Lajoie, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. The autographs on the ball were collected that day by Eddie Rommel, a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1920s and early 1930s and later an American League umpire. A similar 1939 HOF induction class signed ball sold for $623,000 in an auction last year.
The 1939 HOF baseball being offered by Lelands is one of 42 pieces consigned by the Rommel family to the auction. Among the other highlights is a 1924 Yankees team signed baseball with a “rookie” Lou Gehrig. Given that Gehrig appeared in just 10 games in the 1924 season and his official rookie season was 1925, this is one of the earliest Gehrig-signed baseballs. The collection also includes a 1929-30 Rommel Athletics game-worn uniform, a Dwight Eisenhower “Opening Day” single-signed baseball to Rommel and a photograph collection.
Fresh to the market, the Orr circa 1972 game-worn, signed jersey is one of the finest original hockey jerseys in existence and was worn by not only a Hall of Fame icon, but also the best defenseman in history. The Orr jersey is the latest blockbuster Orr item to be auctioned by Lelands. Earlier this year, Lelands sold an Orr 1966 Topps USA Test #35 PSA Mint 9 for a world record $204,000 and the second highest amount ever paid for a hockey card.
The auction also features Knicks legend Walt Frazier’s game-worn jersey from Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, which is one of the 10 most important basketball jerseys ever offered for public sale. In the historic, series-clinching win over the Lakers that gave the Knicks their first title, Frazier had 36 points, 19 assists and 7 rebounds in what is considered the best Game 7 performance ever. The jersey has been photo-matched to Game 7.
Another centerpiece of the auction is a collection of Pittsburgh Steelers game-worn jerseys directly from the team’s archive, including those worn by Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Jack Ham, among others. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will be donated to the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.
The auction also boasts Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis’ last-ever game-worn jersey – from the 1962 Coaches All-America Game – as well as a Syracuse football game-used ball carried by Davis during the team’s 1959 National Championship season, a 1959 Syracuse team-signed football, a 1956 Jim Brown Syracuse career trophy game ball, and Floyd Little’s 1973 Pro Bowl game-used jersey. Among the other football memorabilia up for bid is a rare 1940s Sammy Baugh Washington Redskins team-issued and game-used jacket.
The Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction also features a 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore Orioles team photo – the only vintage Orioles team photo known to exist. Then an unknown 19-year-old rookie pitcher with the minor-league Orioles, Ruth would win 14 games by midseason before being sold to the Boston Red Sox. The photo is especially significant because it’s one of only a few original images of Ruth in an Orioles uniform in existence.
Other auction highlights include the earliest known baseball photos of Cap Anson, a 1952 Topps complete set with a PSA 5 Mickey Mantle rookie, a newly discovered and highest-ever graded Ty Cobb 1917-20 M101-6 Felix Mendelssohn card, Yankees star Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam ball and the 1968 American League MVP Award presented to Denny McLain for his 31-win season.
The auction also includes a knockout collection of boxing memorabilia and the highest graded boxing card sets ever to come to auction, headlined by a 1910 E78 SGC graded complete set and an 1889 N386 Spaulding & Merrick Canada Chop John L. Sullivan SGC 20, which is one of the holy grails of boxing cards. Other highlights include Sonny Liston’s robe from his 1968 fight with Henry Clark, Jake LaMotta 1946 fight-worn trunks, a 1971 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier “fight of the century” on-site fight poster signed by both, and a program and ticket from the historic 1892 John. L. Sullivan vs. James J. Corbett fight.
“This is one of the most diverse auctions we’ve had in years – one that’s packed with unique and important pieces,” said Lelands Chairman and Founding Partner Josh Evans. “From the 1939 Hall of Fame baseball and Orr jersey to the Frazier 1970 Game 7 NBA Finals jersey and the finest boxing collection up for bid in decades, this auction has something for everyone.”
For more information about the Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction, visit www.lelands.com.