Just days after dropping the hammer on over $11 million of elite memorabilia and trading cards in its famous Summer Platinum Night auction, Heritage produced dramatic results in its special Sports Photography Auction Aug. 23, adding $454,000 to its industry-leading sales tally. No fewer than 10 photos had topped $10,000 by the time the last hammer fell, with the mighty Babe Ruth sweeping the medal stand with the top three results of the evening.
The Babe wears the uniform of the Boston Red Sox in the first- and second-place shots: a full-body pitching image sold for $37,200 and a marvelous and virtually unknown bust portrait ended at $34,800. Nat Fein’s iconic Pulitzer-Prize-winning “The Babe Bows Out” from Ruth’s 1948 final farewell commanded $32,400 for third place.
“This might be the most dynamic subgenre in the hobby right now,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage. “These prices would have been impossible just a few years ago, and we suspect that we’re still quite early in the growth cycle.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the sale was a $22,200 result for a 1984 photograph of Michael Jordan participating in his first NBA game, easily a record for a sports photograph from the past half-century.
Other highlights included:
- $31,200: 1939 Lou Gehrig “Luckiest Man” Speech Original News Photograph, PSA/DNA Type 1
- $31,200: Circa 1920 Babe Ruth Original Photograph by Charles Conlon, PSA/DNA Type 1
- $23,400: 1920 Babe Ruth Original Large Photograph, PSA/DNA Type 1
- $25,200: 1951 Mickey Mantle Rookie Original Photograph from the Hillerich & Bradsby Archives, PSA/DNA Type 1
- $12,600: Circa 1919 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson Original News Photograph by Paul Thompson, PSA/DNA Type 1
- $10,800: 1937 Ted Williams San Diego Padres Minor League Original News Photograph, PSA/DNA Type 1