The great names of New York Yankees history dominated the night on Feb. 23 when Heritage Auctions held its’ winter Platinum Night Sports auction, which realized more than $5.95 million, at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (Ukrainian Institute of America) with Lou Gehrig’s 1927-28 game worn jersey leading the offerings with a final price realized of $717,000, followed by Mickey Mantle’s signed and endorsed 1949 Yankees signing bonus check, which soared to almost 30 times its pre-auction estimate to finish the night at $286,800 (all prices include Buyer’s Premium).
“Minus Babe Ruth, who was also well-represented in this auction, there are no Yankee legends greater than Gehrig and Mantle,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Memorabilia at Heritage. “Clearly prime material related to the greatest team of baseball’s greatest era still commands the utmost respect and best prices from collectors.”
The auction made national and international news as the jersey that was worn by team captain Mike Eruzione in the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team “Miracle on Ice” 4-3 victory over the dreaded and feared Soviet Union team – voted Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated – and the stick that Eruzione used to score the eventual game-winning goal realized $657,250 and $262,900, respectively, to lead the $1.4+ million Mike Eruzione Collection.
For hardcore collectors, however, it was baseball that commanded the attention and the Yankee hits continue to roll in, especially items attached to Gehrig and Mantle, as an early-to-mid-1930s Gehrig game worn New York Yankees caprealized $191,200 in complement to the ’27-28 jersey, while a 1965 Mickey Mantle original painting by LeRoy Neiman, a lifelong Yankees fan, brought $131,450. Another Mantle highlight of the night was the 1956 Home Run baseball off “The Mick’s” bat that nearly escaped Yankee Stadium, the closest any baseball ever came to leaving the confines of the legendary ball park, which soared in bidding to finish the auction at $95,600.
The Finest 1927 New York Yankees team signed baseball on Earth – representing what is, arguably, the greatest team to ever take the field – was the subject of spirited bidding before garnering $149,375, while two checks related to the New York Yankees’ purchase of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox – the most famous transaction in baseball history, seen as the beginning of the Curse of the Bambino – realized $95,600.
Not lost on the crowd, or auction watchers, was the inclusion in the auction of “The Bloody Sock” worn by Curt Schilling in Game Two of the 2004 World Series, which ended 86 years of Red Sox futility, was seen as the end of Ruth’s curse, and realized $92,613.
Lew Alcindor’s – who would become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 – 1969-1971 game worn Milwaukee Bucks Jersey, also worn in the Bucks only championship, brought $95,600, and found the perfect complement two lots later in the form of Oscar Robertson’s ’70-‘71 NBA Championship season game worn Milwaukee Bucks jersey, which realized $65,725.
Wayne Gretzky’s 1991-1992 game worn Los Angeles Kings jersey was another hockey highlight of the night, bringing $77,675 amidst spirited bidding, while a 1939 Masters Championship Gold Medal presented to Ralph Guldahl, the best golfer on the planet at the time, was a big hit with golf collectors at a $65,725 price realized. Modern-era collectibles got a jolt when the jersey, cleat and gloves worn by Colin Kaepernick in his record setting 2013 game against Green Bayrealized $22,705.
Heritage Auctions is the World’s Third Largest Auction House with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 750,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com