Historic Baseballs, Including Buckner Ball, Ruth Signed Gems Going on Block At Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions May 3-5 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction.  Just a few months after being offered on eBay, the infamous “Buckner Ball” from the 1986 World Series, Game Six is being offered without reserve as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ May 3-5 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction. The ball is part of the collection of songwriter/author/baseball memorabilia collector Seth Swirsky. The pre-sale estimate is $100,000+. 

World Series baseball 1986 Buckner

The ball was originally in the possession of Mets’ traveling secretary Arthur Richman.  It ultimately made its way from Richman’s personal collection to private auction, where it sold to actor Charlie Sheen. A few years later Sheen sold the ball to Swirsky. It is presented within this auction with individual 1992 letters of provenance from Richman, Montague and Wilson, a letter from Red Sox manager John McNamara, and digital images of the ball’s more recent travels and appearances including a 2003 “photo op” with Vin Scully and its display at the twenty-year reunion ceremonies for the 1986 World Champion New York Mets.

Another item Swirsky has surrendered for the auction is Reggie Jackson’s third home run baseball from the sixth game of the 1977 World Series ($20,000+), the ball struck by Babe Ruth in 1921 to become the career home run leader (with 126) and the home pinstriped jersey Tom Seaver wore on the mound during the glorious 1969 “Amazin’ Mets” World Series.

Autographed Babe Ruth baseball

An astounding new find of high-grade Babe Ruth baseballs dating to his final public signing just two months before his passing in August of 1948 should also create a buzz with collectors.  They were obtained during Ruth’s final public autograph session in June of 1948, when he traveled to a public appearance in Iowa.

“For the better part of six-and-a-half decades these baseballs have been stored in a climate-controlled safe deposit box,” said Heritage Director of Sports Memorabilia Chris Ivy.  “The condition of these balls is truly fantastic.”  Indeed, one carries an 8.5 grade from PSA/DNA.

Princeton football jersey 1895

The auction also includes what the auction house says is the earliest college football jersey ever found, a circa 1895 Princeton University Tigers model (estimate: $75,000+).

“While the first college football game took place between Princeton and Rutgers 26 years before this jersey was used, no gamer from the period has ever been uncovered,” said Ivy.

Other highlights of the auction include the Roger Marth Collection of Chicago Cubs Memorabilia, the Philadelphia Golf Museum Collection, a rare and always coveted example of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players signed lithograph (estimate: $30,000+) and a selection of Championship medals from several legendary golf icons.


1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

h-grade baseball card rarities are a major portion of this auction with a PSA 8 example of Mickey Mantle’s essential 1952 Topps rookie (estimate: $60,000+) chief among them. An even tougher rookie card from Mantle’s Yankee predecessor Babe Ruth – the tremendously rare Ruth 1916 M101-5, graded SGC 70 EX (estimate: $60,000+) – is also up for bid along with high quality T206 cards, including a near complete set, group lots and singles.

The auction will take place over three days.

Day one, Thursday, May 3, will see Session One, the Trading Card section of the auction in which all initial bids must be entered by 10 p.m. Central, with each lot closing individually after 30 minutes of inactivity. Day two, Friday, May 4, sees Session Two begin at 11 a.m. Central time with Game Used and General Memorabilia, beginning with The Seth Swirsky Collection, presented in a Live Auction – presented live online, as well – in Heritage’s Dallas auction room. Session Three, presented on Friday night, May 4, will be all Autographed Baseball Material presented in an Extended Bidding format, identical in style to Session One. Finally, Session Four will close in an Extended Bidding format beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, also identical in style to Sessions One and Three.


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