DALLAS - A 1937 Lou Gehrig game-worn New York Yankees jersey, shown above, emerged as the top lot of Heritage Auctions’ Sports Platinum Night Memorabilia Auction, selling for a whopping $2.58 million — the highest price ever achieves at auction for a jersey not worn by Babe Ruth.
Ruth was no slouch, though, as one of his rookie cards, a 1916 Famous & Barr, graded 6 by PSA and ranking as one of the hobby’s top Ruth rookie issues, sold for $504,000. Former President Barack Obama's game-worn high school basketball jersey sold for $120,000, a record for any not worn by a star athlete, Heritage said, noting that all lots benefitted from the enormous global press coverage of his jersey.
The auction, Aug. 17-18, featured 643 lots and raked in $11 million in winning bids, shattering longstanding price records in the process. No fewer than 17 individual lots commanded prices in excess of $100,000.
“We’ve picked up a good number of high-end collectors in recent months,” noted Chris Ivy, director of Sports Collectibles for Heritage. “The uncertainty in the financial markets is driving corporate money toward the safety of top-tier collectibles, so we’re in the midst of a significant pricing boom here.”
Gehrig's gray button-down jersey originally belonged to a family that had received it as a gift from former Yankees general manager George Weiss. It’s the second seven-figure sale this year of an item belonging to a vintage Yankees' player. The first is a 1928-1930 Babe Ruth jersey that sold at Hunt Auctions in June for $5.64 million.
Among the most stunning results of the sale, Heritage said, was a $396,000 winning bid for Ty Cobb’s portrait by legendary photographer Carl Horner. The Horner image, which was used for Cobb’s famous T206 portrait cards, more than quadrupled the standing record for an unsigned sports photograph. The record for a Roberto Clemente game-used bat was more than doubled, as his 1971 World Series lumber found a new owner at $198,000. Likewise setting a new hobby mark was a $126,000 result for a 2016 New England Patriots Super Bowl Championship ring, by far the highest price ever paid for a ring not related to a major star.
Other sports cards yielded great results as well, with a 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski, PSA NM-MT+ 8.5, landing at $174,000. The vibrant modern trading card market likewise saw its record books rewritten as Upper Deck insert cards from NBA icons Michael Jordan, which commanded a winning bid of $204,000, and LeBron James, which ended at $192,000, signaling tremendous growth in the 21st century genre.
Other highlights include:
- A 1956 All-Star Game bat used by Mickey Mantle: $384,000
- A 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams PSA 9 rookie card: $156,000
- An early to mid-1930s Lou Gehrig game-worn New York Yankees cap, MEARS Authentic: $150,000
- A 1953 Ty Cobb single signed baseball, PSA/DNA Gem Mint 10: $120,000
- The only known Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb dual-signed photograph: $111,000
- A 1983 Walter Payton game-worn and signed Chicago Bears Jersey, photo matched: $97,200
- A 1868 "Clipper Prize" Medal presented to George Wright, with George Wright letter of provenance: $90,000
- 1966 Muhammad Ali fight-worn gloves from George Chuvalo I bout: $84,000
- 1984-85 Michael Jordan rookie game-worn and signed rare black-toed Air Jordan I single sneaker, MEARS Authentic: $55,200
- A 1923 Green Bay Packers Stock Certificate: $44,000
- 2012 Mike Trout game-used and signed rookie bat, PSA/DNA GU 10: $36,000