Bid in the May 7-9, 2020 Spring Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction. There are 3,000+ lots on the auction block. Bid, view and register at sports.ha.com.
Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction features an all-star lineup of astonishing treasures from such immortals as Babe Ruth, Muhammed Ali, Ty Cobb, Kobe Bryant, Fred “Curly” Neal and Jeff Gordon. Also among the more than 3,000 lots offered May 7-9 is a first-ever NBA Championship ring from the Toronto Raptors.
Given the size and scope of this event, which includes some of the most sought-after baseball cards of all time (including scores of unopened wax packs!) and game-worn jerseys from many Hall of Famers’ brightest seasons, pre-auction estimates surpass the $10 million mark.
“The depth and breadth of this auction is really astounding – there’s something for every collector, no matter their favorite sport, team or hero,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. “I am very, very proud of our team for assembling this extraordinary collection.”
Leading off the auction is a spectacular Babe Ruth game-used bat, which he used to launch his 52nd home run of the 1921 season – which came against his former team, the Boston Red Sox, in the second game of a Sept. 7 doubleheader. This was the season during which the New York Yankee hit 59 homers to “become the undisputed King of Swat,” according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This particular piece of lumber is one of the legendary “Hotel Ansonia” bats, so named for the Manhattan landmark that famously served as Ruth’s first New York residence. Ruth gave away this monstrous slab of ash – almost three feet long and weighing almost three pounds – to an amateur slugger who had won a contest, an event documented in the press and in a missive on Ansonia letterhead. All that documentation accompanies the Hillerich & Bradsby bat, which is expected to sell for more than $500,000.
Coincidentally, the Ansonia is linked to another baseball milestone, though one far more infamous: the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. It was at the Ansonia that Chicago White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil proposed to his teammates they throw the 1919 World Series for $10,000 a player. Joe Jackson was among the so-called Eight Men Out – though the man known as “Shoeless Joe” denied taking money or muffing plays. Banned from baseball in the middle of what should have been a storied career, Jackson remains one of baseball’s most mythic figures.
That makes this offering that much more significant: a 1910 T210 Old Mill card featuring Shoeless Joe when he was outfielder for the New Orleans Pelicans, where sportswriters dubbed him “The Carolina Confection” because of the sweet swing that helped him clinch the batting title. This card, SGC VG+ 3.5, is one of the hobby’s rarest finds, especially in good condition. And this one has never before been to auction: It was recently discovered in North Carolina by the family of the man who originally pulled it from the cigarette pack more than a century ago. It will likely sell for more than $400,000.
That’s the same pre-auction estimate given another beloved card included in this auction: a PSA NM-MT 8 example of the fabled 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle No. 311. It’s “more pop culture art than mere baseball card at this point,” says PSA, which ranks this card as “arguably the most important baseball card in the entire industry.” Only two years ago, Heritage sold a PSA 9 MINT Mantle for $2.88 million – the most ever paid for a post-World War II card.
Mantle is but one fabled icon among many represented in this auction.
Also for sale is the pair of 8-ounce Everlasts Muhammad Ali wore on Sept. 20, 1972, when he fought Floyd Patterson for the second time – in front of more than 17,000 at Madison Square Garden – and sent Patterson into retirement. These gloves are remarkable, too, for what’s inside them: little notes at the wrist made by the legendary trainer Angelo Dundee. One bears his pre-fight prediction: “Ali #1, KO 4.” The other chronicles what actually happened: “Patterson KO Sept 20/72.” A letter of provenance from the cornerman accompanies the gloves, which have a pre-auction estimate of $100,000.
One of the most prized keepsakes in this auction may well be this Harlem Globetrotters jersey worn by the legendary Fred Neal – “Curly,” as he was known during the 22 seasons No. 22 played for the Globetrotters. Neal, who died March 26 in Houston at 77, was one of basketball’s most beloved figures – more kids saw him on TV as a Saturday-morning cartoon character than on the court – and one of its greatest humanitarians. This jersey, estimated to sell for more than $6,000, was worn for at least one entire season during the height of his fame, between 1979 and 1985.
No press release can convey the scope of this auction, which also includes:
- 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie No. 106, PSA NM 7 – one of card collecting’s scarcest offerings (estimate $50,000+)
- A ball signed by Hall of Famers Josh Gibson and Ray Brown of the Homestead Grays, a rare Negro League artifact (estimate $50,000+)
- 2018-19 Toronto Raptors NBA Championship ring, the first to ever hit auction (estimate: $30,000+)
- 2001 Jeff Gordon NASCAR Winston Cup Championship Trophy (estimate: $10,000+)
- An Earl Campbell game-worn Texas Longhorns jersey from his Heisman Trophy-winning season (estimate $8,000+)
- A circa-1990s photo of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant autographed by both men (estimate: $2,500+, though bidding was at $7,000 with three weeks to go before the auction)
- Ty Cobb game-used bat from 1916-1918, PSA/DNA GU 8 (estimate: $6,000+)
- 1987 Don Mattingly game-worn New York Yankees jersey, photo-matched to 10 games including his eight-game home-run streak (estimate: $4,000+)
The 2020 Spring Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction takes place May 7-9. Bidding is now open.
1 – Sports Collectibles Session
(Lots 55001-56780) – 10:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, May 7, 2020.
(Internet bidding closes at 10:00 PM Central Time the evening the session begins)
2 – Sports Collectibles Session
(Lots 56781-57431) – 10:00 PM Central Time, Friday, May 8, 2020.
(Internet bidding closes at 10:00 PM Central Time the evening the session begins, with extended bidding available)
3 – Sports Collectibles Session
(Lots 57432-58133) – 10:00 PM Central Time, Saturday, May 9, 2020.
(Internet bidding closes at 10:00 PM Central Time the evening the session begins, with extended bidding available.)