The much-anticipated auction of Babe Ruth’s 500th Career Home Run bat is finally here, and there are plenty of other big-ticket items up for bid in SCP Auctions’ 2019 Fall Premier, which opened earlier today at www.SCPauctions.com. Joe Lapchick’s circa 1920s New York “Original Celtics” jersey, two high-grade, PSA-registered Topps baseball sets from the 1950s, and an incredibly tough-to-complete 1952 Topps Master set will also demand hefty sums when the Southern California auctioneer closes its final sale of 2019 on Saturday, December 14.
The Great Bambino became the first player to reach the 500-homer plateau on August 11, 1929, establishing the career benchmark by which all great power hitters in baseball history are measured to this day. The bat he used at League Park in Cleveland to hit the historic blast was later gifted by Ruth in the mid-1940’s to his good friend and former mayor of Suffern, N.Y., Jim Rice. The two golfed, bowled and dined together for many years. Ruth was a frequent visitor to the Rice household, endearing himself to Jim’s wife and children. The bat has been quietly stored as a Rice family heirloom for 75 years over multiple generations. Now, in the 90th anniversary of Babe’s milestone homer, this monumental discovery has been unveiled by SCP Auctions, capping off the company’s 40th anniversary in the hobby. Recently authenticated by renowned bat expert John Taube of PSA/DNA who graded it a perfect GU 10 grade, Babe Ruth’s 500th Home Run bat is expected to bring upwards of $1 million and could surpass the record price for any bat (set by SCP Auctions in 2004 with the $1.265 million sale of Ruth’s 1923 Yankee Stadium Opening Day home run bat).
“Rightly proportionate to his status as baseball’s most beloved and iconic player,” says SCP Auctions President David Kohler, “Babe Ruth is the king of the sports collectibles marketplace. When a fresh Ruth item of such quality and historical importance as this one surfaces, it generates tremendous excitement throughout our industry. We are honored and privileged to introduce this museum-worthy artifact to the public.”
Another remarkable discovery unveiled in this same auction is a New York “Original Celtics” jersey worn by Hall of Fame center Joe Lapchick in the 1920s. No relation to the Boston Celtics, the “Original Celtics” were the first professional basketball dynasty, dominating the pre-NBA landscape, barnstorming around the country and introducing new elements of the game to the masses. Game worn jerseys from this seemingly mythological team were all thought to be lost to history. Considering Lapchick was one of their biggest stars, SCP Auctions is calling it “the finest pre-war basketball jersey extant” with early projections in the low six figures.
Three Topps baseball complete sets stand out among SCP’s featured card lots. A 1956 Topps set ranked #25 on the PSA Registry (8.012 Set Rating) and a 1957 ranked #21 (8.017 Set Rating) are each expected to reach $75,000 or more. Every card in each set is graded PSA NM-MT 8 or better. Not to be outdone is a ’52 Topps “Master” set with 491 cards including all possible variations (black backs, errors, etc.). A total of 62 cards in this rare complete set have been graded by either PSA or SGC, and even though the range is low-to-mid grade, bidding is projected well north of $50,000.
If World Series tickets is your thing, you’ll have plenty to choose from with a comprehensive collection of PSA-graded fulls beginning in 1923 with the Yankees’ first championship all the way to the Giants’ drought-breaking title in 2010. The near consecutive run encompassing 67 lots is essentially a walking timeline of our National Pastime. Several low pop tickets, many of which are the highest graded or the only known full examples, are offered for the first time.
In addition to Babe’s 500th home run bat, the auction also boasts the highest graded Babe Ruth autographed bat with a non-personalized “With Best Wishes” inscription (PSA/DNA Mint 9), plus two special awards presented to Ruth posthumously that were sourced from his estate. Rounding out the auction highlights are Mickey Mantle’s last issued World Series ring from 1978 (one of many championship rings across multiple sports in the auction), Mark McGwire’s 500th HR ball, Alex Rodriguez’s 600th HR ball/bat/uniform trio, and several items from the personal collections of Basketball Hall of Famers Lenny Wilkens and Connie Hawkins. Wilkens is the only three-time Naismith Hall of Fame inductee (player, coach and Olympics), and all three of his induction rings are listed. His 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” member Hall of Fame ring is the first such example by a coach or player (out of 16 total) to be offered publicly.
More Auction Highlights
- 1944-47 Babe Ruth “With Best Wishes” Signed Bat (PSA/DNA Mint 9) – $75,000+
- 1957-58 Topps Basketball Original Archives File Sets (2 Complete Sets – $75,000+
- Babe Ruth MLB “All-Century Team” Tiffany & Co. Pocket Watch – $60,000+
- 1978 Mickey Mantle NY Yankees World Series Ring (His Last Issued) – $50,000+
- Lenny Wilkens Hall of Fame Ring as 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” Member – $50,000+
- Elvin Hayes NBA 50 Greatest Signed Lithograph (1/1 Player Edition) – $50,000+
- George Mikan 2002 LA Lakers “Three-Peat” World Champions Ring – $40,000+
- 8/5/1999 Mark McGwire 500th Career Home Run Ball (PSA/DNA) – $40,000+
- 8/4/2010 A-Rod Signed 600th Career Home Run Ball (MLB Auth.) – $40,000+
- George Mikan #99 Minneapolis Lakers 5-Time NBA Champions Ring – $40,000+
- Babe Ruth MLB “Most Memorable Personality” Award Trophy – $30,000+
- 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA VG-EX 4 – $30,000+
- 1994 FIFA World Cup Winner’s Gold Medal Issued to Brazil – $30,000+
- 5/17/2019 Pete Alonso NL ROY 2-HR Game Worn Mets Jersey (MLB Auth.) – $25,000+
For more information visit www.scpauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.