Grey Flannel Auctions’ phone and Internet auction running from April 6 to April 29 features an 850-lot selection of blue-chip sports memorabilia with impeccable provenance. Leading the lineup is a highly important item of baseball apparel that was game-worn and very clearly autographed by one of the greatest players ever to wear the New York Yankees pinstripes: Mickey Mantle.
The auction’s headliner, the 1952 Mantle jersey is the earliest known home jersey worn by the strapping young Oklahoman in his first year as centerfielder for the Yankees. Not only did “The Mick” wear the flannel jersey with the number “7” on its back during play in 1952, he also signed it on the lower left-front shirttail in a broad hand with a black marker.
According to Grey Flannel Auctions’ president, Richard E. Russek, the autograph – in and of itself – is rare because of its vintage and because it is so large. The autograph has been authenticated by JSA Spence Authentication, and the jersey has been authenticated by MEARS. Written documentation (JSA Spence COA and MEARS LOA) from both companies will be included with the auction lot, which has been photo-matched for positive I.D.
As further provenance, the inside collar of the Mantle jersey has a Spalding & Bros. manufacturer’s tag and a white felt strip tag chain-stitched in blue with the words “M. Mantle 52.” A Yankees 1903-1952 50th Year patch is sewn onto the jersey’s left sleeve.
“This is the finest Mickey Mantle game-used jersey Grey Flannel has ever had the honor of presenting at auction,” said Rich Russek. “We actually sold this jersey 10 years ago, and we were thrilled to be given the opportunity to auction it a second time. It’s not often that an item of such historical importance passes through the same hands twice.”
Another Yankees legend represented within the auction’s Premier lots is Babe Ruth. In the mid to late 1920s, the home-run king would carve a notch into his bat each time he knocked a pitch out of the park. Grey Flannel is offering a factory side-written bat Ruth used between 1926 and 1929, and into which he carved 11 home-run notches. While it isn’t possible to prove one way or the other, the timeframe suggests this bat may have been used by Ruth to blast one of 60 home-run balls over the wall in 1927. Of utmost importance in the annals of baseball history, this Babe Ruth bat is PSA/DNA graded ‘9.’
“Any authentic Babe Ruth bat is a collector’s dream,” Rich Russek remarked. “Ruth fans should read the extensive catalog description for this lot online. Absolutely no stone was left unturned in piecing together the fascinating provenance for this baseball treasure.”
Among the many other unique articles in the auction are:
· Jackie Robinson’s 1949 Brooklyn Dodgers National League MVP Award, engraved, near-mint condition
· Willis Reed’s 1973-1974 New York Knicks game-used knit home jersey, accompanied by letter from Knicks coach Red Holzman’s former assistant, MEARS LOA graded A10, also accompanied by photo or Reed on bench, an apparent photo match
· Tom Seaver’s 1971 New York Mets game-used and autographed home flannel uniform with LOA from JSA. “METS” on front of jersey; player number “41” front and back
· “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 1979 All-Star Game game-used jersey, originally came to Grey Flannel from the Maravich family
· Michael Jordan’s 1992 Olympic Dream Team game-used road jersey, “USA” on front of jersey, player number “9” front and back, “JORDAN” on back
· Jim Leyritz’s 1996 New York Yankees World Championship Trophy, accompanied by hand-signed LOA from Leyritz
· Bobby Orr’s 1973-1974 Boston Bruins game-used road jersey, 50th Anniversary embroidered patch on each shoulder, with LOA from Milt Byron
· Circa-1963 Paul Hornung Green Bay Packers game-used helmet, player number “5” stenciled on back
· Derek Jeter’s New York Yankees 7/10/2001 All-Star Game-used and autographed home run bat – only All-Star home run bat of Jeter’s career so far, with Steiner LOA signed by Jeter, Steiner COA for signature
A very special addition to the auction is a lot consisting of a VIP package for four during the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement weekend. The package includes accommodation, airport transfers, VIP access to all enshrinement events, an intimate dinner with the returning Hall of Famers and their families (sponsored by Grey Flannel Auctions), a celebrity golf outing with Hall of Famers, a professional photograph taken with the entire class of 2009 inductees, and many other unforgettable experiences and inclusions. “This lot could prove to be extremely exciting to any hardcourt fan, as many expect Michael Jordan to be among those inducted this year,” Rich Russek commented.
Telephone and Internet bidding on all lots in Grey Flannel’s Summer Games 2009 auction will open at 10 a.m. EST on April 6 and will close at 9 p.m. EST on April 29. At that time, extended-bidding rules will take effect, and the auction will continue until a 10-minute period has passed without any incoming bids. Please note: Only those who have lodged at least one bid prior to the 9 p.m. cutoff will be allowed to participate in the after-cutoff bidding.
For information, condition reports, to receive a complimentary printed catalog or to obtain a bidder number and password, call 631-288-7800, ext. 223. Grey Flannel asks that potential bidders please sign up by April 27. Visit the company’s Web site to view the fully illustrated catalog (available soon) at www.greyflannelauctions.com.