Grey Flannel Auctions Holiday Auction 2011 is now under way and the heat is already on, with collectors placing early bids on Premier Lots including a 1948-49 Joe DiMaggio game-used Yankees jersey and a Sandy Koufax game-used jersey from the superstar pitcher’s 1966 Cy Young Award season with the Dodgers. In all, 841 lots have been selected for the absentee and Internet auction that closes for bidding on Nov. 30, 2011. Virtually every major professional sport is represented in the complimentary printed catalog, as well as great Americana.In addition to game-used apparel and equipment, important autographed equipment and balls; awards, championship jewelry and personal ephemera that came directly from athletes are up for bid.
The aforementioned DiMaggio jersey, worn by Joltin’ Joe while on the road with the Yankees, has the number “5” on its back, “NEW YORK” on its front, and a grey felt strip tag with “DiMaggio” embroidered in navy blue chain stitch. It is accompanied by a photomatch of DiMaggio wearing the shirt in 1948. Written on the photo itself is “$100,000,” a reference to DiMaggio being the first baseball player ever to earn that amount for a single season. The jersey has already surpassed its reserve of $25,000.
Another frontrunner is the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers flannel road jersey game-worn and autographed by pitching ace Sandy Koufax. “This jersey is especially significant because it comes from the World Series season in which Koufax won his third Cy Young Award by unanimous vote. It was also his final season in professional baseball,” said Richard E. Russek, president of Grey Flannel Auctions. In magnificent condition, the jersey has nearly doubled its $10,000 reserve in only a few days of bidding.
Athlete-signed Yankees equipment includes a 1966-67 Mickey Mantle game-used and autographed bat; and a coveted 1927 “Murderers Row” World Championship baseball signed by the team whose lineup of batters is considered “the best…ever.” The six hitters who struck fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Their signatures are written in blue ink and appear alongside those of their teammates on this ball, which opened with a $5,000 bid.
A hardcourt highlight is Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s NBA All-Star Game-used uniform from 1967, which is already well beyond its $10,000 reserve. With career distinctions that include NBA MVP (5 times) and NBA All-Star (12 times), Russell holds the record for most championships won by an athlete. “He was the nucleus of the Celtics dynasty, and his importance to the game of basketball cannot be overestimated,” said Russek.
Other items of game-used basketball apparel that are off to a running start include a rare 1973-74 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Milwaukee Bucks jersey, a circa-1971 Rick Barry New York Nets home uniform (only one known), and a 1977-78 Dennis Johnson Seattle SuperSonics NBA Finals road uniform (only one known). A very scarce 1966-67 ABA worn shooting shirt from the Anaheim Amigos comes with impeccable provenance in the form of an LOA from the player himself.
The excitement of football seasons past is embodied in such items as a Gale Sayers’ 1968 Chicago Bears game-used home jersey and a photomatched 1962-63 Navy Midshipmen’s jersey worn by Roger Staubach during his Heisman Trophy season. Other football highlights include game-used jerseys worn by Joe Namath (circa 1973, New York Jets), Len Dawson (circa 1972, Kansas City Chiefs) and Dan Marino (1986, Miami Dolphins).
Championship jewelry has been a very popular category in past Grey Flannel sales. This time, a 1998 New York Yankees World Series ring of Al Ferrar and a 2004 Stanley Cup Championship ring awarded to Bill Wickett, Sr. VP Communications of the Tampa Bay Lightning, are included in the Premier Lots. Other top-ranking jewelry items include Bobby Jones’ 1983 Philadelphia 76ers Championship player’s ring, Tony Caldwell’s 1983 Los Angeles Raiders Super Bowl XVIII Championship player’s ring, and the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers World Championship ring awarded to team executive Al Campanis. The latter is accompanied by an LOA from Al’s son, former Major Leaguer Jimmy Campanis.
Richard Russek said his favorite Holiday Auction lots came directly from two “famous and exceptional athletes, Evander Holyfield and Ty Murray,” with almost all of the proceeds earmarked for their favorite charities. The items up for bid are a Holyfield title-fight-worn robe (2010, vs. Francois Botha in South Africa; auction reserve $10,000) to benefit the boxing legend’s foundation assisting inner-city kids; and Ty Murray’s 1998 Houston Livestock Show All-Around Champion saddle (auction reserve, $5,000) benefiting the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Texas, of which the rodeo star and his wife, Jewel, actively promote.
“In addition to receiving their unique items, the winning bidders will each receive video provenance as a bonus. One of the videos shows Evander consigning the robe, and the other is of Ty and Jewel consigning the saddle award,” Russek said.
Every effort was made to confirm authenticity and secure provenance for the 841 items in Grey Flannel’s Holiday auction. A highly experienced team led by Nick Coppola authenticated each jersey, and all autographed pieces were inspected and given the stamp of approval by James Spence Authentication. In the case of game-used bats, each was inspected and authenticated by John Taube of PSA/DNA. Every game-used glove was inspected and authenticated by Denny Eskin of PSA/DNA. All game-used hockey jerseys were inspected and authenticated by Milt Byron. Appropriate letters of authenticity from these specialists will accompany all jerseys, bats, gloves and autographed items.
Bidding in Grey Flannel’s Holiday Auction will close on Nov. 30, 2011. All forms of absentee bids are being accepted, including by phone and online through Grey Flannel’s Web site at Grey Flannel Auctions. Printed catalogs are free to all registered bidders. The fully illustrated electronic version of the catalog is available to view online at Grey Flannel Auctions. For additional information, call 631-288-7800, ext. 223; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.