Mantle and Munson Records and a Michael Jordan Jersey from His Last Blast With the Bulls Lead Heritage Sports’ $20 Million Auction

During a weekend filled with some thrilling Game 7s, it was the sporting world’s most famous No. 7 who stole the spotlight during Heritage Auctions’ $20.2-million May 12-14 Sports Catalog Auction.

Not only did Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card, graded PSA NM-MT 8, lead the nearly sold-out event by realizing $468,000, but an SGC 6.5 example of his iconic 1952 Topps card sold for $228,000. That shattered the previous record for the grade set only six months ago.

And another Yankee great also saw a new record realized for his beloved 1971 Topps offering: Thurman Munson, whose PSA 9 example of the coveted cardboard – one of just four graded that high, with none better – sold for a breathtaking $199,999. That, too, toppled the previous record of $162,000 set last year.

“The Heritage Sports team is proud to have another thrilling catalog auction in the books with multiple world records set,” says Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions. “The depth and breadth of both the material offered as well as the consignors and collectors from around the world produced amazing results in this auction. Our team looks forward to offering more incredible sports auctions in 2022.”

Baseball cards bashed it out of the park during this auction, which drew nearly 4,000 bidders over the three-day event.

No surprise here: a Babe Ruth rookie card – his 1916 M101-4 Sporting News offering, graded SGC VG+ 3.5 – cleared the fences (and its pre-auction estimate) when it sold for $324,000. And a stunning 1952 Willie Mays Topps card, graded PSA NM-MT 8, realized $180,000.

But, of course and as expected, basketball’s GOAT claimed a major piece of this event, when a 1998 game-worn Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey sold for $360,000. This home white jersey from Jordan’s final season with the Bulls was photo-matched to the Feb. 23, 1998, victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center.

But it was the Strikeout King himself who provided the auction’s fastball: Nolan Ryan’s game-worn California Angels jersey, photo-matched to the 1973 season during which he threw two no-hitters and a Major League-record 383 strikeouts, sold for $126,000. Befitting Ryan’s legend as the man who shattered records throughout his 27 seasons in the sun, that was more than four times its initial estimate.

And that wasn’t the sole game-used item to blow past expectations last weekend: Larry Johnson’s New York Knicks jersey, photo-matched to his four-point play that helped topple the Indiana Pacers during Game 3 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, sold for $63,000 to smash its $8,000 estimate. And Patrick Roy’s game-worn and signed Colorado Avalanche goalie mask, the last one ever made for the goaltending legend, realized $60,600, three times its pre-auction estimate. It was among the many scores from The Patrick Roy Collection that proved popular with collectors.

Nearly two dozen lots in this event each realized more than $100,000 – including fight-worn, photo-matched gloves used by Muhammad Ali during his 1973 bout with Ken Norton, which sold for $111,000. It shouldn’t surprise that these, too, shattered pre-auction expectations: The gloves came from the collection of legendary broadcaster and beloved ballplayer Joe Garagiola, who received them from Ali’s Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee.

Garagiola’s collection provided another hit over the left-field fence during this event, when a baseball signed – and illustrated! – by his dear friend Charles Schulz sold for $24,000. That was six times its pre-auction estimate – likely because the Peanuts creator added Charlie Brown to the prized ball.

Speaking of collections, Heritage Auctions is proud to announce that the Ronnie Lott Collection realized more than $111,000, including his Super Bowl XXIV game-worn, photo-matched and signed San Francisco 49ers jersey, which sold for $34,800. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Hall of Famer’s nonprofit All Stars Helping Kids, which benefits children growing up in low-income and marginalized communities around the Bay Area.

Heritage is also thrilled that the football from Tom Brady’s 624th career touchdown pass – for now, the NFL record – realized $69,000, smashing the pre-auction estimate. The consignor, occupational therapist Janice Greene, once hoped the ball given to her by Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans would be worth many multiples of that – until the moment Brady unretired, letting the air out of this and other notable balls from his legendary playing career. Greene was thrilled bidders valued the ball as much as she did.

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