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Yankees lead the way in Universal Rarities auction

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Universal Rarities' March auction will not only be its first auction of the year, but it will also be its biggest auction to date. With more than 1,600 lots, the auction will contain everything from sports memorabilia to historical items.

"Our core concept for Universal Rarities was to have a diverse offering of collectibles in each and every auction - anchored by autographs and memorabilia - and we feel we really met that expectation with this sale," said Jeff Woolf, director of operations for Universal Rarities. "We've got everything from a Babe Ruth game-used bat to John Wayne's screen used .357 magnum to ancient gold coins and everything in between.

"In addition to being one of our most diverse sales it is also poised to be our biggest yet. We have more than 1,600 lots for this sale, which eclipses our previous mark of 1,550 lots in our December of 2005 sale. We really feel that 2007 will be a standout year for Universal Rarities and we're committed to bringing quality material to the market for our buying clientele and produce the best possible results for our consignors."

A Babe Ruth game-used bat (above center) that was used between 1917 and 1921 headlines the auction. This game-used Hillerich & Bradsby George "Babe" Ruth signature barrel stamping bat has a "250" detail on the center brand. The engraved "250" notation was present on bats made of stronger and higher quality ash, and sold for roughly twice as much as the traditional "125" examples. Factory records show that Ruth and Ruth alone ordered these more expensive "250" bats.

The bat contains two examination holograms which were placed at the end of the barrel, one each by MEARS (Dave Bushing and Troy Kinunen) and PSA/DNA (John Taube). Both parties issued detailed letters of authenticity, each giving the bat an overall game usage grade of MEARS A6 and PSA/DNA GU 6. Minimum bid is $10,000.

The second Ruth item is a signed letter, with the signature graded PSA Gem Mint 10. This typed letter is two pages on personal letterhead, and is dated Dec. 11, 1943. The letter is of acknowledgement and counter offer to a previously received proposal from William Pfau of the 7th Michigan Sportsman's Boat Show. It is signed "Geo. H. Babe Ruth." Minimum bid is $2,500.

The third Ruth item is a signed and inscribed photograph from the 1930s (above left). The photo is inscribed, "To Paul Martin, From Babe Ruth." Minimum bid is $2,500.

There are plenty of other Yankee items available. Two are Roger Maris signed items, while the others are Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio items. The Maris items include a signed 8-by-10 inch photo signed in blue felt tip marker. The photo includes a LOA from Global Authentication, and has a minimum bid of $400. The other Maris item is a signed 1958 Topps rookie card. The card is authenticated and encapsulated by PSA/DNA, and has a minimum bid of $500.

The Mantle item is a 1953 Topps Mantle No. 82 graded GAI 5. Minimum bid is $750. The DiMaggio item is a DiMaggio signed photo kissing Marilyn Monroe.

Other baseball items include: a Jose Canseco 1988 World Series game-used jersey with inscription ($500); a 2002 Ichiro Suzuki game-worn Seattle Mariners jersey ($750); and a 2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor Albert Pujols autograph, numbered 334 of 500 ($1,000).

Other sports items in the auction include: a Lance Armstrong 2002 Tour de France signed and worn podium jersey ($1,500); a 2006-07 Florida Gators, National Champs, team-signed full-sized helmet containing more than 50 signatures ($250); a 2006 Indianapolis Colts, Super Bowl Champs, team-signed full-sized helmet containing more than 40 signatures ($250); a 2003-04 LeBron James game-worn Cavaliers jersey from his rookie season ($600); and Michael Jordan 1990-91 game-worn Nike "Air Jordan" basketball shoes ($1,500).

Highlighted non-sport items include: a Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell signed first-edition printing from 1936 ($350); a Lenny Bruce bank check signed the day before his death ($750); Tom Cruise's U.S. Naval officer hat from "Top Gun" ($350); "The Matrix" prop 9mm pistol used by Keanu Reeves ($400); Jack Nicholson's black beanie from "One Who Flew Over The Cukoo's Nest" ($300); Elvis Presley's personally owned and used ukelele ($1,000); John Wayne's vintage Western lariat used in "The Cowboys" ($300); John Wayne's WWII style U.S.M.C. hat worn in "Flying Leathernecks" ($750); John Wayne's U.S. Air Force hat from "Jet Pilot" ($750); The Beatles vintage group-signed framed display ($500); an Abraham Lincoln signed Presidential document display with choice signature ($2,000); an Alexander The Great Gold Stater circa 85 B.C. ($750); and an 1802 $1 Draped Bust Large Eagle ($1,250).

For more information, see the 40-page Universial Rarities insert in the March 30 issue of SCD, or visit