Mid 1490s The Joust Armour
The good souls of the clergy are offended by these deadly pleasures. Gradually regulations appear to provide some safety. In France the competitors are separated by a barrier that avoids the frontal shock of the two galloping horses. The shield is replaced by a reinforcement of the breastplate. The helmet is extended by a spectacular frog mouth that reduces the risk of penetration of the lance but almost completely obstructs the jouster's field of vision. The tips of the lances are bent and blunted.
Maximilian of Habsburg who will become Emperor Maximilian I is passionate about jousting. He likes to be nicknamed the Last of the Knights. Two styles are practiced. Gestech is the traditional European style. Scharfrennen is a German specialty which aims to unhorse the opponent.
The joust armour has its culmination during the reign of Maximilian, and especially on the occasion of the festivities of his third marriage in 1494. The equipment of the Gestech, named Stechzeug, is the heaviest armor of medieval times, because of the accumulation of security rules far beyond the flexibility needed for a war armour.
To ensure the success of his tournaments, Maximilian has the armour pieces prepared out of the responsibility of his guests. Several workshops in Southern Germany including Augsburg and Nuremberg specialize in one or the other equipment.
In the 1930s the Zeughaus, a museum linked to the Berlin arsenal, assembles a complete Stechzeug made up of original elements from the mid-1490s. Duplicating in the museum, it is sold in 1938. It is estimated £ 500K for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 3, lot 8.
1860 Rival Teams in Brooklyn
2019 SOLD for $ 180k including premium
After two rather experimental seasons, the first champion under the new rules is the Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn. In the following year things already get complicated. The best players begin to mix salary and compensation. The Atlantics dominated by the Excelsior Base Ball Club of Brooklyn are declared champions to avoid a riot from disappointed bettors.
A photo published in Brooklyn in carte-de-visite format on 6 x 10 cm cardboard shows a group of nine Atlantics in three ranks wearing their baseball uniform, assisted by two men in city outfits who are certainly the club's managers. One of the seated players holds a bat on his knees. Three copies are known.
One of the three was authenticated by SGC without grading, due to some shearing of the photographic paper associated with a poor condition of the cardboard. It had been kept by the brother of one of the players and had on the back a newspaper clipping that lists the nine regular players and their five substitutes of the 1859 season. It was sold for $ 180K including premium by Heritage on July 30, 2015.
Another copy in a much better condition of contrast and cleanliness is graded VG3 by SGC. It is estimated $ 150K for sale by Heritage on April 18 online from Dallas, lot 51001. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The Excelsior of Brooklyn page in Wikipedia is illustrated by a picture of the nine players from that team. The original document linked by Wikipedia identifies each of them by his position, standing from left to right. The group includes the star player Jim Creighton who joined the Excelsiors in 1860. The format of the print is not published therein.
The photos of these teams were taken in a surrounding that seems identical : a studio whose bare wall is interrupted only once by a vertical line, with a carpet of similar patterns. It seems probable that they were both made in 1860 at the time of the match whose disputed decision was referred above.
1868 The Medal of the New York Clipper
2019 sold for $ 90k including premium
In 1868 the Clipper awards medals to the best baseball players. This is the very first initiative of that kind for this sport.
At that date, everyone knows that amateurism is a lure, bypassed by all possible means. In the following year the professionalism will be admitted. Harry Wright, the son of an English-born professional cricketer, will create the first ever professional-only baseball team, the ephemeral Cincinnati Red Stockings.
The Clipper medal was only awarded in 1868. Two reasons may be suggested. Making the medals was certainly too expensive, and the champions were now motivated by the opportunity to openly get a salary.
On August 17 in Dallas, Heritage sells the Clipper Prize Medal awarded to George Wright, lot 56051 estimated $ 200K. It is entirely original except for a ribbon that joined the tie pin bearing the player's name to the main part of the jewel. It is accompanied by an autograph written by Wright when he presented this trophy to his grandson.
George Wright, who was Harry's younger brother, was considered as the best player of his time, unequaled as a defender. It is not clear if medals were also awarded to other players. Apparently the archives of the newspaper have not yet been analyzed on this point by the archeologists of baseball.
This is the earliest and most significant 19th century baseball award known, the 1868 Clipper Prize given to HOF pioneer George Wright. This award has been identified by baseball historians as the very first individual baseball player award ever createdhttps://t.co/Ocp7goyXUB pic.twitter.com/cvv2kDx748— Heritage Auctions Sports (@Heritage_Sport) August 8, 2019
1888 The King of Beaneaters
2012 SOLD 62 K$ before fees
In 1888, photography is no longer a novelty. Editions offer to the general public the views of all countries and all topics on albumen paper glued onto thick cardboard. In the USA, the most common format for that disclosure of knowledge is the "cabinet card", normalized to 4.5 x 6.5 inches (11.5 x 16.5 cm).
A manufacturer of cigarettes in New York, Goodwin and Company, exchanges photos of sport against purchasing proofs introduced in the packets of his two brands: Old Judge and Gypsy Queen. The initiative is interesting: the acquisition of photographs is no longer a separate purchase, and fans can start new cheap specialized collections.
The baseball player Michael Kelly became famous at the end of the 1886 season, when the Boston Beaneaters bought him to the Chicago White Stockings for $ 10,000, a then-record price attesting the rise in popularity of this sport. In Boston, the champion will first be nicknamed $ 10,000 Kelly and afterwards King Kelly.
On August 29 in Biddeford ME, Saco River sells a cabinet card of this mustachioed man for the Old Judge brand.Unlike most sports photos of that time, the champion is shown as a close-up portrait in street clothes. His name is identified by an incision in the negative: "Kelly, Capt / Boston."
This copy has remained in perfect contrast with artistic blur in the lower part. It illustrates the very interesting article shared by The Portland Press Herald.
In 1888, photography finally wins its popular dimension, accessible to all. Eastman releases Kodak during that year,and Goodwin is also among the first to use chromolithography, later to become the most suitable technique for mass promotional editions.
POST SALE COMMENT
The auction house had indicated that this newly discovered copy was one one of only four known, and that another one was sold in a private sale in 2005 for $ 72K.
The result, $ 62K before fees, is consistent with such a history.
1894 the athletic exposition
Pierre de Coubertin was a young educational theorist. Inspired by the spectacular development of sports in Great Britain and in the United States, he imagines an international sporting event that will promote altogether the athletic effort and the peace. The next Parisian exposition will be both grand and popular. He will apply to integrate his project therein.
On January 30, 1894, Coubertin writes his ideas on paper. He considers a stadium similar as in Olympia flanked with specialized showrooms reminding the history of athletic sports since antiquity. Modern sports such as "vélocipédie" will be included.
He deliberately excludes the military sport trainings and the professionalism considered as a shameful shift. The demonstration shows will be in free access. Cafes and shops will be banned to prevent the atmosphere considered by him as depraved of the Rue du Caire in the 1889 exhibition. At this stage the inventor does not think about competitions.
This seminal document of modern Olympism in four pages on a single sheet is estimated $ 1M by Goldin Auctions, lot 3 in an online sale ending on October 29.
In June of the same year, Coubertin convenes in Paris a committee of 49 clubs representing 13 nations. The CIO (IOC) is created and the restoration of the Olympic Games is solemnly proclaimed. The first of them will take place in Athens in 1896. The reluctance of Paris is released in spring 1899 just in time for the Jeux Olympiques to be recognized as a major element of the 1900 exposition.
1904 christy mathewson the gentle pitcher
Coming back from World War with tuberculosis, Matty died prematurely in 1925 but he is not forgotten. He was in 1936 the fourth of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Hame and the only one who was then posthumously recognized. The glory of the three champions ahead of him in this inaugural vote is immense and indisputable : Ty Cobb followed by Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner tying.
Professional since 1900 with the New York Giants, the gentle Matty used to disperse his equipment at the end of season as gifts to family and friends. A bat used by him in 1905 has been faithfully preserved in the same family until 2013. Matty was not a batter and bats related to his career are extremely rare. It was sold for $ 220K including premium by Goldin on July 31, 2015.
On August 27 in Dallas, Heritage sells a game used jersey of Mathewson that had remained in the descent of one of his cousinsuntil 1992. The inscriptions were cleaned but remain partially legible. Along with the details of the garment, they allow to date it unquestionably to 1904. One of the earliest pictures in the Conlon archives supports this date.
An undershirt and a belt worn by the champion have locally discolored the garment which is otherwise in very good condition. The auction house considers that baseball jerseys used in game before 1920 are very scarce and this example comes from a champion who had been outstanding both socially and sportingly. It is offered with a guide value of $ 400K, lot 80036.
1905 the pitcher of the giants
2015 sold for $ 220k including premium
In 1936 he was among the first five players to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the only one posthumously. He had been exposed to chemical weapons during the First World War and had died in 1925 aged 45.
His technique was much ahead of his time. A rotating effect which he named the fadeaway made the ball more difficult to counter. In October 1905, his team of the New York Giants won a landslide victory in the World Series, a then recent championship that opposed late in the season the winning teams of the two main Leagues.
The Giants are celebrating their deserved victory. Matty has his bat signed by his teammates and his manager. He did not used to keep for himself the memories of his games. When he went back home in Pennsylvania, he presented the bat to a friend. The prestigious piece of equipment remained in the same family until 2013.
This bat of Hillerich brand is graded GU10 by PSA/DNA and A10 by MEARS and the signatures have been authenticated. It can not be better. It is estimated $ 500K for sale by Goldin in Chicago on July 31, lot 40. Here is the links to the release posted byAuction Report and to the website of the auction house.
The catalog states that game used bats from that time are as rare as hen's teeth, and it is the only one known to be related to Christy Mathewson.
1909 Honus Wagner and Co
2010 SOLD 316 K$ including premium
The lithographed cards showing baseball players are a popular topic of collection for the Americans. One of them is the object of all desires: the T-206 Honus Wagner, which may become more expensive than the whole of the 522 other images of the series together.
This is a publication made between 1909 and 1911 by the American Tobacco Company to be inserted in packs of cigarettes and tobacco, with a back advertising. T-206 is a code generated by a catalog 40 years later.
The Americans, who have good memories of the sport, know that Wagner was one of the most famous baseball players of his time. The publisher of lithographs had failed to negotiate with him for reasons that remain obscure, and his card is extremely rare. Even in a state for which any other image is a candidate for the dustbin, 6 digits prices are possible.
On July 13 in Anaheim, California, Hunt Auctions is selling a strip lithograph of five images, uncut, blank on the back side. The second from the left is Wagner. Only the central image showing another player has been spared from these folds that are so ugly when they affect a cardboard.
The auction house did not give an estimate. In the web biddings, $ 100K is already overcome. An article in Sports Collectors Daily announced on June 25 that the lot could reach 250 K $.
POST SALE COMMENT
The high price which was announced is in phase with that very special micro-sector of the art market: the T-206 Honus Wagner. The sale is successful: 316 K $ including premium.
1909-1911 Ty Cobb and Tobacco
2018 SOLD for $ 410K including premium
The backs are advertisings for the various brands of the company : 14 for cigarettes and one for scrap tobacco. 80% of the T206 cards have Piedmont or Sweet Caporal backs.
In the field Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb are arch-rivals. Their attitudes towards the American Tobacco appear to be opposite although the details of their business are not known. Wagner withdraws early his permission to publish his only portrait that becomes the rarest image of the series.
If we consider the combinations of front and back, a card is much rarer : Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back. The front side is one of Cobb's four common images, with his portrait on a red background. The back does not address one of the 15 brands. It displays in large capital letters "Ty Cobb" King of the Smoking Tobacco World and in tiny letters the address of the plant in North Carolina. No other player has been the subject of a specific T206 edition.
This edition is considered regular but it is indeed mysterious. Compared to the other T206s the cardboard is tougher and the image on front side has remained in bright colors as if it had been protected by a coating. Free from tobacco stains, they have not been packaged unlike the other combinations in the series.
About 22 cards are known. The grouped conditions of the major discoveries in the southern United States, 5 together in 1997 and 7 together in 2016, may suggest that the Ty Cobb back has never been available to the public.
The 2016 surfacing event is named the Lucky 7 Find. They were graded by PSA FR 1.5 (one card), Good+ 2.5 (four cards), VG+ 3.5 (one card) and VG-EX+ 4.5 (one card). The two best specimens have the highest grades awarded for this variety. The low grades attributed by PSA are here related to wear and not to print weakness.
One of the 2.5 with perfect color was sold for $ 240K including premium by Heritage on February 25, 2017. The VG+ card is estimated $ 500K for sale by Heritage in Dallas online on February 24 plus extended bidding, lot 80006.
The T206 Wagner is the most famous card, but this T206 #TyCobb with the “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World” back is far rarer. There are 50+ Wagners but only 20 of these Cobbs. This PSA 3.5 example, with only one superior, should hit $500k tonighthttps://t.co/FKK6oNWgnd pic.twitter.com/Lu2Jr91pI9— Heritage Auctions Sports (@Heritage_Sport) February 24, 2018
1909-1911 The Self Proclaimed King of Tobacco
The very rare Cobb variant with Cobb back has the only back bearing the name of a player, in an obvious promotional intention. The complete advertising text is "Ty Cobb" King of the Smoking Tobacco World. It appears exclusively on the back of the image of Ty Cobb's portrait on a red background. No other T206 card is known with this back, not even the other three Ty Cobb subjects from the same series.
The treasure trove of 7 identical cards in the southern United States increased the total population of Cobb backs to 22 units in 2016. Interestingly 5 previously known units had also surfaced as a single group, in 1997 in Georgia. The cardboard of this model is tougher than a common T206 and tobacco stains are very rare.
Ty Cobb, nicknamed The Georgia Peach, had tried to market a brand of pipe and rolling tobacco under his own name. The cards could be coated to be protected from tobacco stains, an improvement over the usual T206. The assumption that the Cobb-Cobb card is a later plagiarism for a commercial operation that was ephemeral or failed would explain all the peculiarities of the material and of the editing as well as its rarity.
The two best cards of this type come from the 2016 hoard now known in the hobby as the Lucky 7 Find. The card graded VG+ 3.5 by PSA was sold for $ 410K including premium by Heritage on February 24, 2018. The best, graded VG/EX+ 4.5 by PSA with a glossy surface, is lot 2 in the online sale by Mile High Card Company to close on October 10.
On September 19, 2019, Heritage sold for $ 144K including premium a tobacco tin box inscribed on front side as Ty Cobb Granulated Cut Plug along with a stylized image of Cobb with bat on shoulder inspired from another T206 variant of this player.
1910 A Dirty Box in the Attic
2012 SOLD 287 K$ including premium
In the attic of a house in Ohio, a family has just opened an old box that had belonged to the grandfather. No one had an interest to it for a hundred years. They found 700 baseball cards collected in 1910. Having never been manipulated, they are in the same condition as on the day of their purchase.
The series cataloged under reference E98 is nicely represented in this treasure. Although the brand is not identified, it is classified with the promotional cards for caramels and candies.
The full E98 list includes thirty cards with the lithographed photo of a player in front side, and on the back the names of those 30 athletes selected by the anonymous editor as the best baseball players of the time, including Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Christy Mathewson. Players are often shown in the heat of the moment.
The Ohio treasure includes 28 different players in the series E98, with a few additional copies lithographed with color variants.
Heritage has prepared two top lots for the sale of August 2 in Baltimore.
27 players are grouped in a lot estimated $ 400 K : almost all on red background, excepted Hans Wagner on green.The other lot, estimated $ 200K, is devoted to a single card, the red Wagner, in an extraordinary condition : gradedPSA Gem MT10.
Hans was then a nickname as usual as Honus for Wagner, also a great player, ranked second tying with Ruth in the first election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. He is also famous among collectors for his T206 card, an image which is very rare due to his disagreement for the use of his portrait in this series.
POST SALE COMMENT
These first two lots from the treasure had good results, especially when considering that this series is not one of the most prestigious.
The lot of 27 cards was sold $ 287K including premium, which makes a nice average of $ 10K per unit, and the perfect red Wagner was sold $ 240K including premium.
1911 THE GOALtendER OF the Canadiens
2012 SOLD 116 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
2019 SOLD for $ 56K including premium
The only copy in mint condition of the only rookie card of Georges Vezina, graded 96 Mint 9 by SGC, was sold for $ 116K including premium by Goodwin on October 4, 2012. It is estimated $ 80K for sale by Heritage online on December 5, lot 51732.
The champion could be considered as the 'Iron Horse' of ice hockey, playing 327 consecutive games for the Montreal Canadiens in NHA and then NHL from his first professional game in 1910 to his tragic collapse while in his goal in November 1925 in an advanced phase of tuberculosis.
He was posthumously one the original nine inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I narrated this lot as follows in 2012.
There is not only baseball in North America. In Canada, ice hockey is a national sport. And same as for baseball, sport cards preserve the memory of the best players.
Georges Vezina was a perfect goalie to the team of the Canadiens de Montréal. Famous for his calm composure in this speedy and brutal sport, he was nicknamed the Cucumber of Chicoutimi, in reference to the district of the city of Saguenay where he had made his debut.
In 1911 in Canada the Imperial Tobacco company publishes 45 hockey cards 38 x 64 mm. The Vezina card is number 38 in the series.
1914 Ruth the Pitcher
2013 SOLD 450 K$ including premium
On July 11, 1914, Babe Ruth played his first Major League game. Goldin Auctions marks the centennial of this event through an auction dedicated primarily to the champion, on July 12 in Baltimore.
A baseball card listed in this sale is exactly one hundred years old. It was made in Baltimore in 1914 before July 11. This copy graded PSA1 recognizable by its wear defects has already been discussed in this column in 2013. It was sold for $ 450K including premium by Robert Edward on May 18, 2013.
Here is my article from last year including its link to the announcement made at that time by AuctionPublicity :
Today, would there be any chance for a rookie in a minor baseball league to have his picture published? Possibly no. In 1914, the bulimia for images was so high that an image from the early days of Babe Ruth in baseball has been published.
George Ruth is 19 years old. He has not even reached his majority when the manager of the Baltimore Orioles appreciates his skills and offers him a first contract. His amused fellows nicknamed him Jack Dunn's Baby. From then and forever he will be the Babe.
Dunn was certainly a good businessman, because less than five months later he transferred George to a major club. During this very short period, the local publisher Baltimore News had time to publish a baseball card of "Ruth, pitcher". This is a rudimentary monochrome print available in two variants, red or blue.
A copy of the red version, in poor condition, the lowest in the PSA grading scale, was sold for $ 152K at auction in 2009. This specimen is illustrated in the release shared by AuctionPublicity.
Then everything will go very fast in the career of Babe Ruth and his iconography quickly becomes more common. For example, a baseball card from 1916, when Babe Ruth played for Boston, graded PSA 5, was sold for $ 90K including premium by Memory Lane in December 2012.
1915, 1920 and 1934 game used bats of babe ruth
2017 all unsold
Ruth made his Major League debut in July 1914. The bat with a Spalding logo coming as lot 80001 is from his rookie period. With 37.5 oz only, this lightweight bat precedes the bespoke equipment made for Ruth by Hillerich and Bradsby throughout his later career. It is graded PSA/DNA GU9 with a heavy game use that may match Ruth's 1915 season with the Boston Red Sox.
The 40.2 oz bat at lot 80002 is from a model produced by Hillerich and Bradsby from 1918 to 1920 which is Ruth's transition period from the Sox to the Yankees. It is autographed by Ruth to a collector on the barrel and inscribed 1920 by him. This perfect Game Used bat graded PSA/DNA GU 10 and MEARS A10 displays many hits of balls grouped on a very small surface demonstrating the highly skilled gesture of Babe Ruth.
The Hillerich and Bradsby bat at lot 80021 matches with one of the very last home runs recorded by the champion with the Yankees, in 1934. It is signed by Ruth, Gehrig and most of the team. It also has a perfect grade but only with a light to moderate use.
In a hobby that values achievement most, and rookie vintage next, this 1915 #BabeRuth game used rookie bat is in a class of its own. Attributed to the first 50 games of the Bambino’s career it’s likely his first HRs came off its battle scarred barrelhttps://t.co/EHRYQCLaZY pic.twitter.com/gAiDkAc8W6— Heritage Sports (@Heritage_Sport) December 5, 2017
1923 SNOW ON THE BALL YARD
In 1923, the biggest event in the history of baseball is being prepared : the construction of a new stadium for the Yankees. On February 14, despite 10 cm of snow on the ground, Hunt and Ruth are testing the new field that the Babe kindly called the Ball Yard.
Of course, Babe Ruth took a bat. With no other public than the journalists, he made his first home run hit for that new place. In this Valentine's Day, the first visit of the champion to the field of his future exploits was perfectly successful.
A construction worker picked up the ball that Babe Ruth signed and dated. 'Ball Yard' being meaningless, he located it more appropriately as the New Yankee Field. From its grand opening on April 18, 1923 the prestigious yard became the Yankee Stadium.
This ball bearing the mark of the powerful bat blow was acquired directly from the worker more than forty years ago by Joel Platt, a prominent collector of sports memorabilia who is the founder and chairman of the Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton.
It is consigned by Platt in the sale organized by Goldin Auctions in Baltimore on July 12 to celebrate the centennial of Babe Ruth's professional debut. It is illustrated on the article shared by Auction Report.
1924 Trophies for Young Batters
In the same year Christy Walsh invents two lucrative jobs. He manages a syndicate of ghost writers who prepare texts to be endorsed by baseball personalities and approach the top players including Babe Ruth for becoming their business agent.
We must encourage young people to be reconciled with baseball. Following an initiative of the Los Angeles Evening Herald, Walsh and Ruth decide in 1923 that for three consecutive seasons the bat of the first home run of the champion will be inscribed and signed by him and given to the winner of a baseball contest organized for Californian students.
In 1923 Ruth scores his first homer on April 18 during the inauguration of the Yankee Stadium. It was impossible to imagine a more prestigious event. The bat used for this feat is awarded on June 7 by the newspaper to a young player named Victor Orsatti. It was sold on December 13, 2004 by Sotheby's for $ 1.26M including premium, a huge price for a sports memorabilia at that time.
In 1924 Ruth records his first homer on April 20 in Washington DC. This spectacular feat was performed on a fastball thrown by the best pitcher of all time, Walter Johnson nicknamed The Big Train, who was twelve years later one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The bat is awarded as promised to the winner of the Californian contest, Phil Grossman. Stolen in 1989 from his nephew by a fake expert, it resurfaced in 2017. This bat graded GU10 by PSA/DNA is estimated $ 2M for sale by Heritage in Dallas on February 23, lot 80058. It previously passed with a much higher opening bid at MEARS Auctions on December 1, 2018. The video was shared on YouTube by the user 'Black Knight' in February 2017.
1925 THE LAKE OSCAWANA BASEBALL BAT
2011 SOLD 114 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
On 30 December 2010 MEARS sold at $ 113K including premium a baseball bat used by Ty Cobb in 1925, identifiedby the name of Lake Oscawana Cobb Bat. This prestigious game bat is now available again from SCP Auctions, an auction house based in California which, like MEARS, operates on the web. The auction ends on April 30.
As in December, the news was communicated on Twitter by the excellent specialized website Auction Report.
The December sale had given me the opportunity to remind some important results concerning baseball bats. I republish this article as a whole here below:
If you wish to designate the best baseball player of all time, your choice today would certainly be Babe Ruth. The batwith which he played on the opening day of the Yankee Stadium in New York (April 18, 1923) was sold for $ 1.26 million including premium by Sotheby's in December 2004.
Bats of the greatest players are specially designed to suit their style of play. It was the case of another bat of BabeRuth, used in 1918, which I had discussed here when it was sold by Heritage on October 2, 2009, $ 537K includingpremium.
In 1936, during the inaugural meeting of the future Baseball Hall of Fame, this group of specialists selected the top five players. Ruth was among the winners, of course, but the first place was awarded to Ty Cobb, who was retired since 1928.
On December 30 (2010), MEARS Auctions, which operates online from Milwaukee, sells a bat that was used by Ty Cobbin 1925. The evidence of this provenance is much detailed in the catalog, first by stating that the bat has the exact dimensions of those used by the champion, and secondly that Cobb signed it and gave it to the grandfather of the current owner on the occasion of an especially enjoyable touristic trip.
As discussed above, these sport instruments can achieve high prices. Cap Anson was a champion of the late nineteenth century. His name no longer has the same response as those of major players from the next century, yet one of his bats was sold for $ 287K including premium by Heritage on August 5, 2010.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result, $ 114K including premium, is consistent with the price recorded four months earlier.
1927 The Sultan and his Challenger
Babe Ruth is the Sultan of Swat, meaning that his hittings are worthy of a monarch. Yet he finds in his own team a young challenger as talented as him : Lou Gehrig. The Yankees are invincible, but this friendly internal rivalry makes the 1927 season arguably the most exciting in baseball history.
Fans manage to count the home runs. At the end of August, Gehrig leads with 45 homers. In September, Ruth is unleashed. In the middle of the month, it becomes clear that his performance will be unbeatable. He makes on September 30 his 60th homer of the season, a remarkable record which will last until 1961, thirteen years after his death.
The journalists are there. On September 15, the Wide World Photos, photo news service of the New York Times at that time, takes a picture of Gehrig congratulating Ruth. Both players are in baseball uniforms. Ruth is holding a bat.
On February 22 online from Dallas, Heritage sells as lot 50032 a signed 20 x 25 cm print of this photo. The two signatures, inscribed by the players without superfluous comment on the image of their pants, are graded Auto 9 by PSA/DNA.
A typed paper was pasted on the back to provide the information necessary for publication. It explains why this moment is historic : "The King Still Reigns. New York : Lou 'Buster' Gehrig, pretender to the home-run crown, congratulates 'Babe' Ruth, who retained his title of 'Sultan of Swat' by outdistancing his younger rival in making round-trip hits ".
Buster was then a nickname attributed to Gehrig, after the error of a hard of hearing columnist who had believed that Ruth was so calling his young teammate. Ruth liked to use that name again to make fun of the incompetence of the journalists.
This, is the finest known #BabeRuth and #LouGehrig signed photo. Both legends clad in pinstripes during the glorious 1927 season, at the height of their individual and collective powers, and both autographs rate a @PSAcard Mint 9!https://t.co/83qSGeEHA9 pic.twitter.com/dEuaXuc7x2— Heritage Auctions Sports (@Heritage_Sport) January 30, 2020
1931 Autograph Hunt in Chicago
2013 SOLD 62 K$ including premium
By necessity, this column discusses a suite of austere and serious lots. I am pleased today to introduce a funny piece: a baseball signed by two highly distinguished Americans, Babe Ruth and Al Capone.
1931 is the key final year of Scarface's career. Threatened by the tax authorities, he would try to protect himself by exhibiting the power of his social position. He devotes to social events, and even opens soup kitchens in this period of intense economic crisis.
Al Capone is an avid baseball fan. He cannot miss the visit to Chicago of the fabulous New York Yankees.
He is also an amateur of autographs. A photo published by Life Magazine is starring him in the stadium, having a ball signed by a prominent baseball player apparently delighted with this meeting.
The ball with the dual autograph is an initiative of a Yankees player. He first got the mark from the gangster, and submits it afterwards to the champion who complacently adds his famous signature, strong, simple and easy to read, which might seem to a graphologist as more authoritarian than the signature of the most powerful man in Chicago.
Logically, this piece managed by an intermediary does not imply that Ruth and Capone did actually meet, although such an event is far from being improbable.
$ 200K are expected from this ball, to be sold online on January 31 by Mile High Card Company, an auction house that operates from Colorado. Here is the link to the article shared by Auction Report.
POST SALE COMMENT
The estimate was ambitious for a ball that was more the memory of a historical atmosphere than of a sporting feat. The result, $ 62K including premium, is certainly the fair price for this cool lot.
1932 The Kings of Caramel
2019 SOLD for $ 430K including premium
This series announces 32 pictures which are for 27 baseball players, 3 boxers and 2 golfers. It has been distributed locally and is rare. The last of the series, Babe Ruth, is the most common, probably because the fame of the super-champion encouraged the young candy eaters to keep his image.
The back of the cards has an offer to send a ball or a glove to any fan who will send back to the office one or three complete sets, which will be returned with the gift.
We may question how the US Caramel was doing to prevent a set to be sent again to them. It is very simple and absolutely dishonest : the number 16 recorded by PSA as an elusive Charles Lindstrom is doubtful and has certainly never been available in a box of caramel.
In the following year Goudey will do the same with his chewing gum by secretly omitting the number 106. The discovery of the trickery will lead Goudey to fill this gap by the late edition of their Nap Lajoie card.
In an online sale from Dallas that ends on April 18, Heritage is separating a complete set of the 31 real US Caramel cards. 27 of them have the highest grade recorded by PSA for their card number. Here is the filtered link to this group.
The Babe Ruth card listed as lot 51351 is graded Mint 9 by PSA with only one other copy at this level and none above. Estimated $ 200K, it already exceeded this value 14 days before closing.
This craze for 1930s cards is new to the hobby. On January 24, 2019 Heritage's special sale of the top PSA-graded set of the 1933 Goudey baseball cards fetched $ 3.65M for 240 cards, led by $ 580K including premium for Gehrig and $ 530K including premium for Ruth, both in Mint 9 condition.
RESULTS of top lots including premium:
Babe Ruth card SOLD for $ 430K
Bobby Jones card SOLD for $ 78K
Ty Cobb card SOLD for $ 72K
1933 Ruth by Goudey
2018 SOLD for $ 320K including premium
Goudey Gum Company is a leader in the chewing gum market. The founder of the company retires in 1932. In 1933 the new management includes silkscreen printed cards in the gum packs. The drawing executed from a photograph is simple and the colors are bright. The back includes in full format a short descriptive text beside the identification of the publisher, which was much more attractive at that place than on a postcard.
The most important series is devoted entirely to baseball players under the title of Big League Chewing Gum. Its 240 images are published by Goudey in Boston. 94 of them are renumbered and published in Montreal by World Wide Gum Company which was the Goudey branch in Canada.
The editions released in the same year include a multi-sport series of 48 cards for the Sport Kings chewing gum, 216 Indian views for the Indian chewing gum and two other series of 48 cards : Boy Scouts and Sea Raiders.
Babe Ruth, the top star in baseball, is represented by no less than 4 numbers in the Big League series. Number 181 is a close-up portrait on which the leaning champion carefully observes an action out of the field of view. This picture is not included in the other series.
In their ongoing auction, Goldin sell as lot 21 a copy of the Goudey 1933-181 graded Mint 9 by PSA, very rare in this condition with perfect centering, very fresh colors, very clean edges and the four corners intact. The online sale managed from New Jersey will be closed in a live session on August 2.
In order for young collectors to continue buying the gum, the number 106 of the 1933 series was originally not used. The deception has been discovered. In the following year Goudey created a 1933-106 to provide it to angry fans. This card with the effigy of retired champion Napoleon Lajoie is the rarest in the series and no copy was stained by gum. A 1933-106 graded Mint 9 by PSA was sold for $ 230K including premium by Goldin on October 1, 2016.
1936 THE TRIBUTE OF CAL RIPKEN JR TO LOU GEHRIG
When Babe Ruth retired in 1935, Lou Gehrig, his long time teammate in the New York Yankees, was already exceeding his performance.
Nicknamed the Iron Horse for his regularity, Gehrig recorded the amazing figure of 2,130 consecutive games, only stopped when he was suffering from the sclerosis now described as "Lou Gehrig's disease".
For Lou, 1936 is a year of glory. I introduce today two different bats (one of them already sold) from a series of seven made for him from 1936 to 1938 by Hillerich and Bradsby in Louisville KY.
On August 2, 2013, Legendary Auctions sold for $ 292K including premium a bat graded 8.5 by PSA / DNA that has the rare feature of an autograph inscription and signature by Gehrig.
The other bat is listed by Goldin Auctions in an online sale that will close on November 2. It is graded GU9 (game used) by PSA / DNA .
This bat is in ash, the highly dense wood that was the specialty of Hillerich and Bradsby. The champion who handles it in the video below is not anyone : Cal Ripken Jr. was the first player to break the record of endurance of Lou Gehrig.
I invite you to play this video shared by Goldin Auctions on YouTube.
1936 the perfect swing of sam snead
As skilled in short and long games, Sam had especially managed the perfect swing gesture combining strength, flexibility and accuracy. Along with Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth, Bob Beamon or Cassius Clay, he could have been one of those legendary champions who have forever changed the technique of their sport, but unfortunately he never won the US Open.
Heritage is dispersing the memories of Sam Snead. At the first sale on August 1, 2013, the 1946 British Open trophy was sold for $ 263K including premium.
The club used by Sam Snead from 1936 to 1953 is for sale onSeptember 25 in Dallas, lot 80001. Throughout this long period when he won over one hundred tournaments, Sam Snead had systematically used this piece of equipment.
I invite you to play the video shared by Heritage for introducing the first sale, where you can admire the beauty and especially the repetition of the perfect swing by this great champion.
1937 Football in Colleges
2018 SOLD for $ 310K including premium
The main difference is that College Football players do not have the right to receive financial rewards. They demonstrate their skills for strategy and leadership, set an example through their hard work and integrity, and many of them stop sport once they graduate.
Non-financial awards highlight these future elites of sport and of the nation. The most prestigious is the annual Heisman Memorial Trophy, awarded for the first time in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy and which changed its name in the following year in tribute to a recently deceased coach. Voters are mostly chosen among sports journalists.
The third Heisman Memorial trophy was awarded in 1937 to a Yale University player named Clint Frank. Very effective on offense as on safety despite a severe myopia, he was not disturbed by frequent injuries. He was in the same year the very first winner of a similar prize, the Maxwell award. Graduate in economics, he did not manage to make a career in sport.
The Heisman trophy is a 34 cm high bronze weighing 11.3 Kg showing a football player in action. The 1936 statuette awarded to Larry Kelley, another Yale player, was sold for $ 330K by Leland's in December 1999. Clint Frank's Heisman trophy is estimated $ 400K for sale by Heritage on October 18 online from Dallas, lot 50773.
1937 BOBBY JONES WAS GREEN
2011 SOLD 310 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
Bobby Jones is one of those exceptional sportsmen who have both dominated their sport and conclusivelydemonstrated an outstanding fair play.
The golf champion stopped competing in 1930. An engineer by training, he then devoted to the establishment of the best golf course in the world, in Augusta GA. It is in this venue that the prestigious Masters Tournament is played annually since 1934.
Taking up an idea already used by an English club, the Augusta National Golf Club founded by Jones and Roberts decided in 1937 that the tournament officials will be recognized in a brightly colored blazer.
Thus was created the Green Jacket, the garment that became over the years a golf legend by itself. It is now awarded to the winner of the Masters, with a strict usage protocol which prohibits the proud owner to wear it outside the club facilities.
The prototype of the Green Jacket was awarded to Jones, and bears his civil initials (TRJ). This monument in the history of golf is estimated $ 100K, to sell on August 4 in Rosemont IL by Heritage Auctions. As usual, the catalog page is shared on the web by the auction house.
POST SALE COMMENT
Golf is not the most popular sport at auction, and the estimate was conservative. It has been widely exceeded: $ 260K before fees, 310K including premium.
1950 Photo Matching for Di Maggio
2019 SOLD for $ 230K including premium
When matching refers to a significant event in the career of one of the greatest champions, the prices of jerseys are very high : $ 4.4M by SCP for Babe Ruth on May 19, 2012, $ 2.05M by Heritage for Jackie Robinson on November 19, 2017, $ 1.32M by Heritage for Mickey Mantle on August 18, 2018. These results include the premium.
In June 2018 SCP sold in a private sale a recently surfaced jersey worn by Lou Gehrig in 1937. It was matched with two games including a homer game. The price was announced as very high but not revealed.
Joe DiMaggio was a champion of the same highest caliber. He made his whole career with the New York Yankees, after Ruth and Gehrig and before Mantle. In 1949 he was the first baseball player to win $ 100,000 in a single season. Bored of baseball after several injuries, he retired after the 1951 season. He was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe in 1954.
On October 18, 2018 a jersey worn by DiMaggio passed at Heritage. Photo matched only once in 1947, it does not appear in the following games. It had been estimated $ 400K.
In an online auction ending on February 1, Lelands sells as lot 304 a uniform worn by DiMaggio, graded A8 by MEARS. The jersey is photo matched with no less than six games between April 1950 and March 1951 including two homer games, and the pants are matched with the last of those six games.
1952 Say Hey Willie
2016 SOLD for $ 380K including premium
Willie's career in Major League Baseball begins in 1951 after four years in the Negro Leagues and extends up to 1973. He is at 20 in 1951 the Rookie of the Year in the National League. More passionate about the game than by his teammates and competitors, he pretended not reminding their names and hailed everybody by the formula 'Say Hey Man'. He got as early as 1951 the nickname Say Hey Kid that will never leave him.
1952 is the year of the great modernization of the Topps cards. Willie Mays is honored for his rookie year at number 261. Collectors now consider that cards in perfect condition are very rare throughout the series although only the highest numbers including Mickey Mantle's 311 have been the subject to a mass destruction due to an editing delay.
A 1952-261 card graded Mint 9 by PSA was sold for $ 480K including premium by Heritage in May 2016. Another one in same condition is offered by the same auction house on August 27 in Dallas, lot 80010. Its guide value at $ 400K is in line with the above result. Only one 1952-261 was graded higher.
Topps changes every year the player's picture on the front and updates the summary of his career on the back. Willie is not forgotten in 1953 while his professional career is interrupted by military service. The reverse of the card includes also a Quiz unrelated to Willie : "Which player was tagged with the nickname The Iron Horse ?". The answer which you certainly know is to read by turning the card upside down.
Only one copy of Willie's 1953-244 card has ever been graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA. This perfect card of an outstanding young player is at lot 80012 in the same sale as above with a guide value of $ 800K.
1952 : SOLD for $ 380K including premium
1953 : unsold
1954 Henry of the Braves
2016 SOLD for $ 320K including premium
Despite the famous breakthrough of Jackie Robinson in Major League in 1947, the beginnings of this quiet athlete born in Alabama are marred by racism and segregation. Playing as outfielder, his results in Negro League in 1952 and 1953 with the Indianapolis Clowns are already exceptional.
Henry enters the Major League in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves. Topps publishes his rookie card under number 128, with a highly effective portrait. He is a good guy. The back of the card reinforces this feature by showing the player presenting to his friends his Minor League trophy watches. It may be noted from this example that Topps remains impartial with respect to racial issues.
1954-128 is not uncommon in mint condition and for this reason auction prices have not yet reached the culmination deserved from the subsequent glory of this rookie. PSA recorded 2 cards in Gem Mint 10 condition and no fewer than 22 cards in Mint 9 condition. Prices are however rising, following the trend of the rest of the market.
One of the two PSA 10 cards was sold for $ 360K by SCP Auctions in May 2012.
Two PSA 9 have already been sold in 2016 : $ 192K including premium by Mile High Card Company on January 22 and $ 360K including premium by Heritage on August 28. The card sold seven months ago remained well below the price guide currently suggested by PSA. It comes back unsurprisingly in the online sale by Goldin Auctions ending on October 1, lot 28.
1955 The Glove of Jackie Robinson
2013 SOLD 370 K$ including premium
The action of Jackie Robinson must be equally remembered in social history and in sport history.
Since 1887, no Black is allowed to participate in a game of the Major League Baseball, an untouchable and symbolic fortress of segregation. The racial barrier will be broken by the extreme audacity of the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey.
Rickey knows that the role of the manager is to recruit the best players. In 1945, he decides to take into account the skill rather than the color of the skin. He understands that his first Black player will have to stoically withstand abuse and aggression along many years.
Jackie Robinson is not a boxer, but he knows Joe Louis very well. The fact that a Black is a world champion is accepted in boxing. Jackie appreciates the incongruity of the situation in baseball and the extent of the challenge proposed by Rickey. He accepts. The success of Robinson is one of the events that led to the complete abolition of segregation in the United States.
Steiner sells the glove used by Robinson in 1955 and 1956 until his very last game. This glove of Rawlings brand, very worn, is an opportunity to honor the outstanding sportsmanship that made the popularity of Robinson in his difficult career.
The online sale will end on June 2. The reserve price has already been reached with a bid in excess of $ 300K.
POST SALE COMMENT
The outstanding equipment from the sporting career of Jackie Robinson are rare on the market. The glove was sold for $ 370K including premium.
1958 Brown of the Browns
2017 SOLD for $ 336K including premium
His rookie card was published by Topps in 1958. Jim Brown is in full run, demonstrating his exceptional power. His jersey bears the number 32 which was withdrawn by his club when he retired.
Curiously, despite a remarkable feat of 237 yards run in one game in 1957, the text on the back of the card appears a posteriori too soft for this young player who will be one of the best of all time. Topps, perhaps not well informed, attributes to him the first name Jimmy, a diminutive whose use is not confirmed by his page in Wikipedia.
Five copies of his 1958 Topps are ranked Mint 9 by PSA with none higher. One of them was sold for $ 360K including premium by Heritage in November 2016. Another one comes for sale by Heritage in Dallas with a guide value at $ 300K, lot 80100. The sale takes place on February 25 with a close out in the following day after an extended bidding phase.
Last year's Heritage catalog referred to Jimmy Brown's 1958 Topps as the most significant post-war rookie football card. PSA gives no example at auction of the Topps 1965 rookie card Mint 9 of Joe Namath whose population is four with none higher.
1965 and 1971 Muhammad Ali in Red and White
2019 both unsold
Lot 80110, estimated $ 150K, is the white robe worn by the champion in his match against Sonny Liston in Lewiston on May 25, 1965. For the first time Cassius Clay sports on a ring his new name Muhammad Ali, inscribed in red letters on the back of his garment.
In 1971 Ali prepares his grand come back for the heavyweight title of which he had been deposed in 1967 after his refusal to join the armed forces. He will fight the defending champion Joe Frazier on March 8 at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile the audio-visual has made its great revolution : the color television, still in infancy in 1965, is omnipresent in 1971. Ali wants to stay The Greatest. Four days before the event, he reveals to the New York Times that his robe will be red and white, like a king.
This telegenic robe is estimated $ 1M, lot 80111. Matching the shorts, it is made in red velvet enhanced with white satin for the trimmings and the inscription of his name. Inseparable from the images of this match which is aptly described as the Fight of the Century, it becomes a symbol of the first professional defeat of Muhammad Ali. The champion will never wear red again.
1966 The Master of Counterattack
2019 sold for $ 204k including premium
He is discovered at the age of 13 in 1961 by the Boston Bruins who then prepare his future career while respecting his school time in his native Ontario. In 1964, long before he could play in NHL, he already has the highest salary in the history of his sport.
The 18th birthday of Bobby is awaited by all fans of ice hockey. He plays for the first time in NHL on October 19, 1966 and scores his first NHL goal three days later. Remaining a defenceman throughout his career, he accumulates much success with the Bruins until 1976.
In 1966 also, Topps attempts an innovation in its hockey cards : an English-only version specifically marketing the United States and known as the 1966 Topps USA Test. This series of 66 cards printed in a limited quantity is a subset of the bilingual series of 132 cards, with numbers that rarely match together.
The rookie card of Bobby Orr, edited before his debut in NHL, is numbered 35 in both lists. A single 1966 USA Test - 35 is graded Mint 9 by PSA. It will be sold by Lelands in an online auction that ends on February 1, lot 1. According to PSA website, only one Bobby Orr card was graded at the same level in the bilingual series. No rookie card of this player exceeds this grade.
1969 The Last Jersey of Mickey Mantle
2011 SOLD 48 K$ including premium
On April 23, 2010, Heritage sold in Dallas a game worn jersey of Mickey Mantle. The estimate was announced at $100K, but the realized price, $ 48K including premium, did not respond to this expectation.
This lot will certainly score better at its next presentation in the same auction room during the sale of 10 and 11 November. Here is the link to the catalog page.
Last year, I announced this garment as follows:
The New York Yankees baseball team honors their greatest players by giving them a uniform number which is not returned to the circuit after their retirement. So Babe Ruth had the number 3.
In its sale in Dallas, Heritage Auction Galleries is selling the latest jersey number 7 of the Yankees. It was worn by Mickey Mantle, the star player of the 1960s. He used it for the last time in 1969 as an instructor for a youth training camp, and gave it to a young player who did not understand the importance of the gift and forgot.
This Spalding jersey is size 44 on a scale that usually goes up to 46. Indeed, the measurements of Mantle were not exceptional (85 Kg, 1.80 m). His speed and strength made him one of the most admired baseball players of all time.
POST SALE COMMENT
Among the baseball uniforms presented in the press release before sale, Ty Cobb's got the highest result, $ 360K including premium. It was the star lot of the sale.
I discussed Mickey Mantle jersey here above because I had already analyzed this lot in the past.Remarkably, it had exactly the same price as in April 2010: $ 48K including premium.
1971 THE TRUNKS OF GLORY
2011 SOLD 173 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
This was the fight of the century, between two boxers claiming the title of world heavyweight champion. Muhammad Ali had been stripped of his title in 1967 after taking a stand against the Vietnam War. Facing the superchampion, JoeFrazier was an outsider. Yet he was recognized by both official organizations, WBA and WBC.
On March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden, the match of the century is even more exciting than expected. Frazierdominated, and his victory at the end of the regular fifteen rounds is unquestionable. But it is a Pyrrhic victory. After the game, the confirmed champion, exhausted, is incoherent and has to be hospitalized. Ali is badly wounded in the cheek.
In October, on the web from California, SCP Auctions will sell the velvet trunks worn by Ali in that memorable event.This lot is shown in the email shared by the auction house.
The match of 1st October 1975 in Manila had a comparable intensity. After the fourteenth round, Frazier's coach,seeing his condition becoming critical, forced him to leave. Ali, winner, however had to be hospitalized because of his fatigue. He finally went to admit that his opponent was also a great champion.
POST SALE COMMENT
In this sale of sports memorabilia, basketball won. Seven championship rings of Julius "Dr. J" Ervingfrom the player's personal collection totaled $ 1.7 million including premium, highest at $ 460K.
Baseball also obtained a good result: $ 403K including premium for a bat used by Lou Gehrig.
I had not reference in boxing, but the price obtained for the trunks of Muhammad Ali, $ 173K including premium, seems excellent.
1971 The Rings of Abdul-Jabbar
2018 SOLD for $ 153K including premium
An African-American activist, Abdul-Jabbar is forever a role model for young people, a basketball player who overcame difficulties and succeeded in his career and post-career. He created the Skyhook Foundation to give new impetus to schoolboys in poverty by offering them a week-long stay in a camp in the midst of the forest.
Abdul-Jabbar knows that his achievement is part of the history of sports. He is a collector on a wide variety of topics. He decided to put all his basketball memories at the disposal of collectors. The auction includes 146 lots. It is organized by Goldin Auctions online, ending on October 27. Proceeds from the sale will go primarily to the Skyhook Foundation.
The catalog includes three prestigious championship rings.
Lot 53 is a non-nominating NCAA ring rewarding the Bruins for three consecutive victories in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
Lot 63 is the 1971 NBA Ring awarded to L. Alcindor of the Milwaukee Bucks. Lew Alcindor was the birth name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used by him until he made public his conversion to Islam in 1971.
Lot 76 is the 1982 NBA Team Work Championship ring awarded to Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers.
1971 NBA ring SOLD for $ 153K including premium
Lots 53 and 76 unsold
1972 Track and Moon
The gold medal of the barefoot runner Abebe Bikila at the Rome Olympics marathon in 1960 temporarily contradicts this trend. Yet four years later for his second Olympic victory, he wears Japanese shoes.
In 1964 in Oregon, a track athlete and his coach found a business for importing and selling running shoes of another Japanese brand. When the Japanese supplier changes its export strategy, they decide to create their own product line. In 1971 they found Nike, named after the Greek goddess of victory.
Both founders are drawing attention to their new brand through innovation. In 1972 the Nike Moon Shoe is specially prepared for the US Olympic trials. The rubber sole is a pattern imitating the waffle, ensuring without spikes a better grip on the ground and leaving behind it a footprint vaguely reminiscent of the human footsteps on the Moon.
The first series of Moon Shoes is limited to twelve pairs assembled by hand. It is this model that triggers the gigantic success of Nike. One of them, probably the only one left unworn, was sold for $ 440K including premium by Sotheby's on July 23, 2019.
Another pair will be sold by Goldin in an online sale that ends on December 7, lot 7. It is the only pair in the first series to have an additional padding of the sole. It is in excellent condition and the original laces are intact.
1973 the Racquet of Equality
2017 SOLD for $ 125k including premium
After 1962 the number one world women's title has rarely escaped Margaret Smith Court and Billie Jean Moffitt King. Their positions are opposite : Court is openly homophobic and King is a feminist activist who will be in 1981 the first sportswoman to publicly declare her homosexuality.
The first event gives right to Riggs : in May 1973 in a general indifference he beats Mrs Court on the ruthless score 6-3, 6-1.
Mrs King, who had not previously felt concerned by that challenge, is now unleashed. She wants to beat Riggs to promote the very recent Congressional amendment that ensures equal federal budgets for boys and girls in colleges. She even inflates the social stake : if she loses to Riggs, the equality of the sexes will recede by half a century.
On September 20, 1973 in Houston the match between Riggs and King is a big show attended by 30,000 spectators in the stadium and watched by 50 millions in broadcast. The passion of the woman supported her triumph : 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. For her action of a high consequence for the motivation of the girls and for the equality of the homosexuals, Mrs King receives in 2009 the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
One of the two racquets used by Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs is estimated $ 100K for sale by Bonhams in New York on December 6, lot 1068. The whereabouts of the other racquet are unknown.
1979 the first NHL Season of wayne gretzky
2019 sold for $ 220k including premium
In an online sale that ends on February 26, Classic Auctions sells as Lot 290 an Oilers' jersey numbered 99, with on the right shoulder the 1904-1979 crest for the 75th year of the Edmonton city incorporation.
This white jersey was used regularly, and perhaps even systematically in home games, by Gretzky from October to December 1979. At the beginning of that period, he scored his first assist in NHL and then his first goal. The photo-matchings of the period are convincing, especially with a tear in the stripe on an elbow.
I discussed last year a blue jersey signed by Gretzky, unsold in another auction house, which was consistent with a photo from the preparatory phase of the same season. It was not demonstrated as NHL game worn.
Classic Auctions is an auction house operating in Canada and United States. It is specialized in ice hockey. Its photo-matching expertise is based on an archive of 500,000 photos. The jersey number 19 worn by Paul Henderson in 1972 when he scored the decisive goal of Team Canada against the Soviets was sold for US $ 1.27M including premium by Classic Auctions in June 2010.
1979 The Great 99
Gretzky is wearing the 99 throughout his fabulous career. This number becomes the symbol of his success. When he retires as a player in 1999, the 99 is withdrawn in all the clubs of the National Hockey League. His admission in that retirement year into the Hockey Hall of Fame is another unprecedented honor. At that time he held 61 NHL records. For the time being, none has been overcome.
In January 1979 Gretzky turns 18 years old. He signs a 10-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association. A few months later the WHA is canceled and the Oilers are integrated into the NHL. The 1979-1980 season is then Gretzky's rookie year in NHL. A rookie card edited in Canada was sold for $ 465K including premium by Goldin on August 4, 2016.
A game used Oilers jersey signed with a black marker by Gretzky within the 99 figure is listed as lot 58 in the next sale of Goldin Auctions. The bidding opens online on July 9 and will close in a live auction in New Jersey on August 2.
This jersey is fitted on the shoulders with the Edmonton 1904-1979 patch memorizing the 75th anniversary of the City of Edmonton, which was only used for that season. The jersey was compared with another example on display at Gretzky's Restaurant in Toronto. The features are similar except for the sewn nameplate that is later on the jersey for sale.
The photo-matching of hockey jerseys is not an easy task. Jerseys can often be separated from each other only by tiny traces of wear. A photo published in December 1980 is considered as convincing by the MeiGray panel of experts. The jersey did not have a nameplate at that time in accordance with the usual practice of the club during the pre-season.
1985 the all time hit champion
The record of the number of hits seemed unbeatable. Pete Rose is the first to approach it. Mizuno prepares successively three special bats for the champion, each one to accompany a significant total.
The first bat is referenced R3631 when Rose manages to exceed the 3630 hits in National League by Stan Musial, retired since 1963. The second is named PR4000 : in April 1984 with the Montreal Expos, Rose is the second player in history to reach the prestigious threshold of 4000 hits.
Immediately after this feat, Rose returns to the club of his MLB debut, the Cincinnati Reds, both as a player and as a manager. In this glorious phase when he is approaching Ty Cobb's record, Rose no longer resists his passion for gambling.
Mizuno's third special bat is the PR4192. Rose uses it on September 11, 1985 to beat the all time record of the number of hits. He signs and dates it with a silver marker. Graded at the highest level, GU 10, by PSA/DNA, this bat is estimated $ 600K for sale by Heritage in Dallas on February 23, lot 80062.
Mizuno made a fourth bat for Rose, with reference ATHL (All Time Hit Leader). The champion ended his MLB player career in August 1986 with 4256 hits and an average of 0.303. He was banned for life from baseball in 1989 because of his bets on games in his last period with the Reds. He has not been rehabilitated. He is with Shoeless Joe Jackson the greatest champion remaining ineligible at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1989 Pete Rose banished from Major League
2016 SOLD for $ 86K including premium
It had been offered in November 2012 by Goldin as lot 1 but was not sold. A highest bid at $ 255K including premium was reported by ESPN (Darren Rovell). It went also unsold in an online auction by Heritage in May 2014, lot 81923.
It is now available in an online auction closing on April 23 by SCP Auctions, lot 563.
I copy below my 2012 post :
Ethics of sport is a difficult matter that raises passions. The greatest champions may fall, whatever their record on the field.
Pete Rose was one of the best players in baseball, for sure one of the most complete athletes in that sport which he practiced from 1963 to 1986 as a player and from 1984 as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1989, the scandal is coming. Rose had never hidden his addiction to horse racing gambling. He would have also be tempted to bet on baseball, including on his own team, which is of course unacceptable.
The Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bart Giamatti, must act. He managed a compromise that will not prevent the shock to the public but stopped the tarnishing of his sport. Rose is banished from baseball, and in exchange the investigation is suspended.
The four page document recording the acceptance of the pact by Rose is signed by the player, by Giamatti and by Giamatti's deputy on August 23, 1989. The piece for sale was the copy kept by the fallen champion.
Eight days later, Giamatti died of a heart attack. Much later, figures are advanced concerning the money gambled by Rose on baseball around 1987. They were considerable.
2007 The Home Run Baseballs of Barry Bonds
2019 SOLD for $ 283k including premium
The highest number of homers in a single season was 61 by Roger Maris in 1961. Mark McGwire broke this record at 70 homers in 1998 and Barry Bonds at 71 homers in 2001.
The largest number of homers scored in the major leagues during a career was 755 by Hank Aaron in 1976. Barry Bonds equaled and then exceeded this record in August 2007. On September 5, 2007, Bonds scores his 762nd and last major league homer. He is suspected of doping and cannot get a contract for the next year.
The 70th homer ball of 'Big Mac' was sold for $ 3M including premium by Guernsey's on January 12, 1999.
Combined in one auction despite different provenances, the baseballs of Bonds' 755th and 756th homers were sold respectively for $ 187K and $ 750K including premium by SCP on September 15, 2007.
The ball from Bonds' 762nd homer was auctioned by SCP on April 12, 2008. At that time there was still some doubt about the player's ability to continue his career. It reached $ 376K including premium, price announced in the same day to the press by the auction house but not confirmed in the results list, which could be an unpaid. It is listed as lot 61 by Goldin Auctions in an online auction that ends on May 11.
These two champions were not elected at the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2010 McGwire confirmed that he had used doping substances for most of his career. Bonds always denied a similar practice.
2003-2004 The Rookie Patch of LeBron James
2020 SOLD for $ 264K including premium
Their high-end concept Exquisite Collection starts with basketball in the 2003-04 season. For $ 500, the collector buys a box that contains three packs of five cards each. The purchase is blind : it is not possible to know the list of views before unsealing the packaging.
This 2003-04 series consists of 42 cards of veterans and 36 cards of rookies from the NBA. Each pack includes a rookie card, titled Exquisite Rookie Patch. The rookie card has been prepared in 99 serialized copies and includes the player's photo, a patch from his jersey and his autograph signature. The back is a certificate of authenticity of the autograph signature and of the jersey.
Luckily for collectors, this 2003-04 season is also the rookie year of LeBron James, already famous for his precociousness and who will become one of the best basketball players of all time.
An unopened box, the contents of which were therefore unknown during the sale, was sold for $ 66K including premium by Heritage in July 2018.
A Rookie Patch of LeBron James, graded by Beckett NM/MT+ 8.5 for the card and 10 for the autograph, was sold for $ 264K including premium by Goldin in October 2019. Another copy is listed by Heritage in an online sale which ends on February 22, lot 50022. It is graded Mint 9 for the card and 10 for the autograph, also by Beckett. On these two examples the centering, subgraded 9.5, is almost perfect.
(1965)-2008 the defining moment of neil leifer
The rematch for the world heavyweight boxing championship between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston takes place on May 25, 1965 in Lewiston. Leifer gets a press credential but he is very young and must leave the best seats to his competitors.
The match ends suddenly in the middle of the first round. Liston falls to the canvas as a result of a terrible blow from Ali that no one has actually seen. This situation is not impossible because of the rapidity of the movements in close combat but Ali himself is surprised. Liston is on the ground. Ali yells : "Get up and fight, sucker !".
Liston remains on the ground for two seconds too long. Ali has won. The suspicion of Liston's abandonment by cheating will never be lifted. The pressure from some influence groups related to his bad life was assumed but not demonstrated. Fortunately Ali is a great champion who deserved to retain his title and his reputation is not tarnished.
The photo taken by Leifer at Lewiston is perfect : he captured the moment of most intense tension of Ali's scream when his mouth was wide open. The champion seen full frontal is overpowered in an aerated surrounding that provides a dramatic dimension. Ali turns his back on the other photographers and we see between his legs the face of Leifer's rival, Herb Scharfman.
Leifer follows Ali throughout the champion's career. He makes a dye-transfer print 50 x 60 cm from his Lewiston's photo and frames it in a 64 x 92 cm format with other documents that include a dedication by Ali : "Thank you for such a great picture". Indeed this photo is the best proof of the honesty of Ali in the decisive match. One of the documents is dated 2008 which is probably also the date of the dye-transfer and of the mounting.
This photo is for sale by Guernsey's in New York on December 3, lot 1221 here linked on the bidding platform LiveAuctioneers.