While there has been much discussion regarding the recent softening of the sports collecting market, no one seemed to be addressing it at the recent Legendary Auctions Live Sports Sale. In fact, more than 200 attendees at the high-end, sports memorabilia event, held July 31, 2009 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, seemed more than happy to let their bid paddles do the talking. The ensuing “conversation” produced a sports memorabilia auction event that not only exceeded expectations, but produced several record-breaking industry prices.
Doug Allen, CEO and president of Legendary Auctions, was pleased and encouraged with the auction results because it gave collectors access to never before seen items while rewarding consignors appropriately. “Even in this difficult economy, I think the results are extremely telling about the potential of the industry when a top quality event, packed with high-end material reaches our customer base,” said Allen. “It seems, at least in our auction, the economy took a back seat to the collecting instinct.”
Significant items from Bob Gibson’s personal baseball collection were included in the recent Legendary Auctions Live Sports event. Not surprisingly, said Allen, those items were among the ones with the highest prices realized. “Gibson is one of the most talented and respected pitchers in baseball history,” said Allen. “In addition, Bob is just a well-liked guy. The combination of extraordinary talent and off-field congeniality is a hard for collectors to resist.”
In addition, Allen said the Gibson portion of the auction was fueled by an extensive public relations push in the St. Louis area during All-Star Week. “One St. Louis local who heard about the auction from our media efforts spent six figures,” said Allen.
The top prices realized for items from Bob Gibson’s personal collection include:
Bob Gibson’s 1968 National League MVP Award – acknowledging one of the best single season pitching performances in history realized a final price of $120,000;
Bob Gibson’s 1968 Cy Young Award from his incredible 1.12 ERA season commanded $84,000;
Bob Gibson’s 2006 St. Louis Cardinals World Championship ring sold for $57,000;
Bob Gibson’s 1967 World Championship ring – awarded after winning three games and posting a series ERA of 1.00 sold for $54,000;
Bob Gibson’s personal Hall of Fame plaque – awarded at his induction went for $45,000;
Bob Gibson’s 1981 Hall of Fame induction ring went for $30,000;
Bob Gibson’s “All Century Team” collection (7 items) – bestowed upon the Top 30 of the 20th century’s best players went for $19,200;
Bob Gibson’s 1971 Gold Glove Award went for $16,800;
Bob Gibson’s “First Major League Victory” game used ball – the only one he kept went for $12,000;
Bob Gibson’s game used glove sold for $9,000;
Bob Gibson’s 1959 St. Louis Cardinals contract – his rookie season sold for $5,400 and;
Bob Gibson’s 1968 St. Louis Cardinals contract – from his historic MVP and Cy Young season went for $4,500.
Allen and the ecstatic winning bidders weren’t the only ones happy with the outcome of the recent Legendary Auctions Live Sports sale. Dick Zitzman, Bob Gibson’s representative said that his client was also pleased with the results of the auction. “The sale allows Bob to participate at a higher level to a charity he cares deeply about,” said Zitzman. Part of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), an organization that helps baseball families who have fallen upon hard times.
The Bill Hoffer Collection was another group of items that attracted considerable attention in the Legendary Auctions Live Sports Auction event. Acquired directly from the family of the 19th century baseball player, the collection featured extraordinary items enhanced with iron-clad provenance. This resulted in a record-setting price for a non-Hall of Fame player’s jersey. A spectacular circa 1895 Baltimore complete uniform worn by Bill Hoffer (including shirt, pants, belt, cleats and leggings) sold for a stunning $105,000. Other notable record-breaking prices set during Legendary Auctions Live Sports sale include the highest price ever paid for a restored card. A restored 1909 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $222,000. Also, a rare 1903 World Series Program at Boston set a public auction record by commanding $105,000.
Other auction highlights include: a Roberto Clemente 1966 Pittsburgh Pirates game used home jersey and pants – from his MVP season realized a final price of $69,000; a phenomenal Mickey Mantle 1966 H&B game used bat – graded PSA DNA GU-10 – one of the finest Mantle gamers in existence sold for $57,000; 1911 Western Playground Association SGC-graded collection (12 different) sold for $42,000; rare 1874 Warren CDV’s of George and Harry Wright (2 items) – featuring both Hall of Famers in uniform sold for $39,000; a significant 1895 Baltimore pennant winning game ball sold for $28,800; Bill Hoffer’s 1897 Baltimore player contract – signed by Ned Hanlon went for $27,600; a Babe Ruth 1931 signed letter to a friend – incredible content: baseball and beer went for $25,200; Bill Hoffer’s circa 1895 Baltimore sweater went for $24,000; an 1895 Baltimore Base Ball Club “Champions” Imperial Cabinet photograph – featuring seven Hall of Famers went for $21,600; a Babe Ruth Early 1940s signed oversized studio photograph – PSA DNA MINT 9 commanded $16,800; and an 1895 Temple Cup Championship series program at Baltimore sold for $10,800.
“Overall, we are thrilled with the results of the auction and by the response of our bidders to the live auction format,” said Allen. “Our goal is to provide the best material in the best manner possible to produce a rewarding experience for both our consignors and bidders. This event obviously delivered on all levels.”
For additional details regarding upcoming Legendary Auctions live auction events or to pre-register to bid, call Legendary Auctions at 708-889-9380 or go to www.legendaryauctions.com.