Breathtaking moments and celebrated icons of sport form the core of the last Heritage Auctions’ Signature® Sports Collectibles auction of 2010, Nov. 4-5, led by Lou Gehrig’s 1927 Yankees jersey – arguably the greatest year in the history of the storied franchise – and the only gold medal from the 1980 Lake placid, NY U.S. Olympic hockey team ever offered at public auction – arguably the greatest American sports moment ever, Olympic or otherwise. The impressive array of vintage sports memorabilia and trading cards will be offered in-person at Heritage’s Dallas headquarters, 3500 Maple Avenue, as well as live online at HA.com. “It’s a great thrill, and an immense privilege, to present these pieces to the collecting hobby,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage’s Sports Collectibles division (HSC). “They’re the ultimate symbols of two truly unforgettable times in American sports history.”
The Lou Gehrig jersey was worn by the great Iron Horse during the most storied season in New York Yankees history. Though 1927 is most commonly associated with Babe Ruth’s record 60 home run campaign, it was Gehrig who earned the American League Most Valuable Player Award that year as a leading fixture of the team forever remembered in baseball history as Murderer’s Row. The jersey is estimated at $600,000+.
“Photographic evidence leaves no doubt that this is one of the two home white pinstriped jerseys worn by Gehrig during the 1927 season,” said Ivy.
Widely recognized as the greatest single moment in American sports, the victory of the long-shot underdog US Olympic Hockey team over the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid still raises goose bumps three decades later. Presented here is the ultimate symbol of the unforgettable “Miracle on Ice”: a Gold Medal presented to one of the players on that heroic team, center Mark Wells. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $100,000+.
“This is the first ever appearance of a ‘Miracle’ medal on the auction block,” said Ivy. “The interest in this piece is simply off the charts, and with good reason.”
The earliest known Babe Ruth game used bat, used by the star left-handed pitcher during the 1916 Boston Red Sox World Championship season, should likewise draw no shortage of attention from the collecting community. It carries an estimate of $100,000+
The bat was returned to the Louisville Slugger bat factory by the 21 year-old Bambino for duplication, and still bears the factory worker’s handwriting, considered by veteran bat collectors as the most definitive provenance available.
“Heritage set a world record for an unsigned Ruth bat in October 2009 at just short of $540,000,” said Ivy. “There are many who would argue that this bat is even more significant.”
Furthering its well established reputation for unearthing fresh material never before available in the collecting hobby, Heritage continues with Part II of The Christy Walsh Collection, featuring the archives of sports’ first agent, whose roster included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Knute Rockne. Autographed material from all of these Golden Age legends is among the offerings.
Also making their hobby debut are jerseys worn by Hall of Famers Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews during the Milwaukee Braves’ 1957 World Championship season, rescued by the consignor from an Iowa farm club’s locker room after the jerseys had been sent to the minors for secondary usage.
Certainly of note to collectors of high-end cardboard is a recently revealed “Holy Grail” of trading card collecting, the T206 Honus Wagner. This one adds to the known population of these cards, having been consigned by a Virginia nun who plans to use the sale proceeds to fund the charitable endeavors of her church. It carries an estimate of $100,000+.
Other important artifacts making their auction debut are a collection of individual photographic portraits of the 1874 Philadelphia Athletics including pioneering Hall of Famers Adrian “Cap” Anson and Alfred J. Reach, estimated at $20,000+, and the only known single signed baseball from earth twentieth century Hall of Fame pitcher Vic Willis, also estimated at $20,000+.
The trading card portion of the auction, presented in an Extended Bidding format on Thursday, Nov. 4, provides far more fireworks than the famous Honus Wagner card. As collectors have come to expect, the offerings run the gamut from rare single cards to high-grade sets.
“Regardless of a collector’s personal concentration, whether it’s tobacco, candy, gum cards or something even more obscure, all should be able to find something that will excite them,” said Ivy. “I’d consider this to be one of our most well-rounded card offerings.”
Among the highlights is the second verified example of the exceedingly rare 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Jim O’Rourke card (estimate: $40,000+), and the highest-graded 1910 E93 Standard Caramel Honus Wagner, rating FR 1.5 and NM/MT 8 respectively according to SGC graders (Estimate: $40,000+). The number one 1911-14 D304 Brunners Bread Near Master Set will be made available to bidders both as individual cards and as a single lot, with the winner(s) crowned when the higher total between the sum of the multiple lots and the high bid for the set is established The pre-auction estimate on the set is $50,000+.
“This is definitely the most exciting sports auction event of the season,” Ivy said, “and I encourage everyone to visit our homepage at HA.com/Sports, where they’ll see enlargeable, full-color images of each and every lot, complete with our thorough and informative catalog descriptions. They’ll even have an opportunity to place bids online.”
The Extended Bidding format trading card portion of the auction ends on Thursday, Nov. 4, with each lot closing individually after 30 minutes of bidding inactivity following the 10 p.m. CST cut-off. The memorabilia will be sold Friday, Nov. 5 in a Live auction format, beginning at 11 a.m. CST, with bidders able to participate in person, by telephone, or online at HA.com/Live.