Bill Russell, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Kevin McHale. They top almost any list of Boston Celtics legends.
But perhaps no former Celtic epitomizes Boston’s iconic NBA team more than Tommy Heinsohn, a star player, coach and legendary broadcaster for more than 50 years.
The personal memorabilia collection of “Mr. Celtic” is now headed for auction and will highlight the annual December Premier Live Online Auction on Dec. 12-13 at Hunt Auctions.
The two-day auction features an impressive collection of historical sports memorabilia and trading cards from such NBA legends as Russell, Cousy, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley and baseball immortals Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.
After starring for Holy Cross in the 1950s, Heinsohn joined the Celtics in 1956, capturing the NBA Rookie of the Year award over Russell. He played for the Celtics from 1956-65 before serving as Boston’s head coach from 1969-78. He won 10 NBA championships with the Celtics — eight as a player and two as head coach.
After his coaching career ended Heinsohn endeared himself to fans as a TV announcer for the Celtics and for CBS Sports for 30 years. In all, Heinsohn, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986, was a part of 17 Celtics NBA championships and is considered one of the most beloved personalities in Boston sports history.
“We are so very pleased to be able to share a portion of the memorabilia pieces from our father’s iconic career within the game of basketball,” Heinsohn’s sons, David and Paul, said through Hunt Auctions. “Dad was appropriately known as ‘Mr. Celtic’ having devoted his entire career to the Boston Celtics franchise and fans that he so deeply cherished. It is the hope of our family that these items will be enjoyed by those very fans he loved so dearly and perhaps spark a favorite memory or moment related to his legendary career on the parquet floor and behind the microphone.”
“Tommy Heinsohn’s very name embodies the city of Boston and the Celtics franchise,” Hunt Auctions President David Hunt said. “Hard working, gritty, and excellence. Tommy’s legacy uniquely spans across three mediums as a player, coach and announcer, all of which contribute to his status as an icon in the history of the Boston Celtics. We are thrilled to present this important collection to the public as an ideal follow-up to our Bill Russell Collection offering in 2021.”
Highlights from the Heinsohn Collection include:
• 1957 Tommy Heinsohn Boston Celtics NBA Championship ring (Estimated value:. $50,000-$100,000)
• 1974 NBA Championship ring (Est: $25,000-$50,000)
• 1976 NBA Championship ring (Est. $25,000-$50,000)
2008 Tommy Heinsohn Boston Celtics NBA Championship ring ($25,000-$50,000)
• 1986 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ring ($20,000-$40,000)
• 1964-65 Boston Celtics NBA Championship trophy ($20,000-$40,000)
• Naismith Basketball HOF trophy ($10,000-$20,000)
Also featured in the auction is an archive of Michael Jordan-related items from the collection of Henry Kay Jewelers. The Chicago-based Kay family business produced a commemorative wristwatch to be given away to select radio guests for the postgame show after each of Chicago Bulls games throughout Jordan’s career. Through the years, Howard Kaplan, the President of Henry Kay Jewelers, became acquainted with Jordan and helped the company produce various objects for Jordan, including commemorative rings and other jewelry.
The Henry Kay Collection, which is being offered for the first time publicly, includes:
• Michael Jordan-autographed Nike Air Jordan II professional model sneakers (Est: $15,000-$25,000)
• Nearly complete run of 45 Jordan-signed copies of Sports Illustrated ($50,000-$100,000 total)
• 1995 Jordan presentational silver replica Air Jordan I sneaker ($10,000-$20,000)
• 1994 Michael Jordan “The Spirit” United Center bronze maquette ($15,000-$25,000)
Other auction highlights, including additional Celtics memorabilia, includes:
• 1958 Bill Russell Boston Celtics professional model jersey (Estimated: $500,000-$750,000)
• 1963-64 Bill Russell NBA All-Star professional model jersey ($250,000-$500,000)
• Bob Cousy Boston Celtics professional model jersey c.1960s ($20,000-$40,000)
• 1995-96 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls professional model jersey ($25,000-$50,000)
• 1996-97 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls professional model jersey ($25,000-$50,000)
• 2001-02 Shaquille O’Neal LA Lakers professional model jersey (MeiGray) ($10,000-$20,000)
• Charles Barkley 1992 “Dream Team” USA Olympic professional model jersey ($25,000-$50,000)
• 1995 Michael Jordan autographed professional model sneakers (Abdul Fox) ($25,000-$50,000)
• 1909-11 T-206 Ty Cobb green portrait (SGC 4 VG-EX) (Est. $10,000-$20,000)
• 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 (PSA 2 GD) ($50,000-$75,000)
• 1909-11 T-206 Ty Cobb red portrait (PSA 4 VG-EX) ($15,000-$25,000)
• 1951 Bowman Willie Mays #305 (PSA 8 NM-MT) ($75,000-$150,000)
• 1954 Topps Hank Aaron #128 (PSA 8 NM-MT) ($40,000-$60,000)
The first 700 lots of the auction will close on Monday, Dec. 12 via live online auction bidding with the remaining 650 lots ending on Tuesday Dec. 13 via online only format.