As Heritage Auctions learned last weekend, you can still believe in Magic.
The company sold a signed game-worn jersey from Earvin “Magic” Johnson Sunday for $1.5 million. The jersey was worn by Johnson in May 1980, when the rookie guard scored 42 points and had 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers to its first NBA championship since 1972.
The Johnson-inscribed jersey was photo-matched by Resolution Photomatching to the 1980 title game, during which Magic played every position, including center in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. MeiGray and Resolution also found that Johnson wore the jersey again during the 1984 NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics.
The jersey was one of the top sellers in Heritage’s $25 million Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction.
The auction also featured the highest-selling pair of sneakers signed by Michael Jordan. The shoes, worn in 1985 and signed on network television just before the Bulls won their first NBA title, sold for $615,000.
“The auction was a success across the board, with incredibly strong results for our consignors as many new records were being set well into Monday morning,” says Chris Ivy, founder and president of Heritage Sports. “One of the most exciting things about this event was the significant number of new bidders, who helped prove that the sports collectibles market remains extraordinarily healthy.”
Among the other top sellers in the Heritage auction were:
• A 1920 Babe Ruth game-used and signed bat sold for $870,000. The Hillerich & Bradsby Ruth model is the earliest known signed Ruth bat to ever appear at auction, dating to his then-record 54-home-run season. The bat is signed “To My Friend Eddie Maier From ‘Babe’ Ruth, 1920,” linking it to one of the first collectors of game-used bats. Maier, at the time president of the Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League, collected autographed bats, including models signed by Joe Jackson, Tris Speaker and Napoleon Lajoie.
• A baseball signed by both Joe DiMaggio and his then-wife Marilyn Monroe sold for $384,000.
• The Mizuno bat that Pete Rose used in 1985 to collect his record-tying 4,191st hit sold for $855,000. According to a letter from PSA/DNA, the bat had been corked.
• An Atlanta Braves jersey Hank Aaron wore when he collected his 3,000th hit on May 17, 1970 sold for $540,000, a record for an Aaron jersey.
• A 1998 game-worn Peyton Manning jersey photo-matched by Resolution Photomatching to his first NFL game sold for $348,000.
• A 1957 Topps Bill Russell rookie card, graded PSA NM-MT + 8.5 sold for $630,000.
• A 1910 Old Mill Series 8 Shoeless Joe Jackson card, graded SGC VG 3, sold for $540,000.
• A 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie card, graded PSA Mint 9, sold for $480,000.