Two of the most remarkable baseball bat collections will come before bidders next month, when Vintage Authentics offers a game-used bat from every member of the elite 500 Home Run Club, and a game-used bat from every 20th-century member of the 3,000 Hit Club. The auction concludes on Aug. 11, and also features the rare Honus Wagner bat used to fashion the original Louisville Slugger signature bat.
Vintage Authentic officials called the 500 Home-Run Club single lot of (20) game-used bats “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain a piece of game-used history from 20 of the greatest sluggers of all time.”
The lot includes a game-used bat from each of the following players: Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Barry Bonds, Jimmie Foxx, Ken Griffey Jr., Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Mark McGwire, Eddie Murray, Mel Ott, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Sammy Sosa and Ted Williams.
“We expect a lot of attention for these bats,” noted Steve Jensen, a partner and co-CEO of Vintage. “Some of them are extremely difficult to obtain. We expect some bidders will go after multiple bats and try to build a collection. It’s truly a remarkable opportunity.”
The estimated combined value of the 20 bats is nearly $250,000. A game-used bat used by Mickey Mantle during the All-Star Game in the historic 1961 season has an estimated value of $65,000-$75,000 and is the highlight of the 500 Home Run Club Collection. The Ruth and Ott bats are estimated as being worth $35,000 each, and the Aaron bat at $30,000.
The 3,000 Hit Club Bats
There is also a second run of game-used bats up for auction at the same time, in this instance representing the 3,000 Hit Club. The lot features game-used bats from every member of this exclusive club, with the exception of Cap Anson.
(Anson, the first player to reach 3,000 hits, accomplished his feat in the 19th century, and it is believed only three of his bats exist).
A certified, game-used bat from each of the following is included: Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Carl Yastrzemski, Honus Wagner, Paul Molitor, Eddie Collins, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Nap Lajoie, Cal Ripken Jr., George Brett, Paul Waner, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Rod Carew, Lou Brock, Wade Boggs, Al Kaline and Roberto Clemente.
The estimated value of the 3,000 Hit Club bats is roughly $160,000. Topping the list in value is Lajoie at $25,000, followed by Cobb and Wagner, (which was a coach’s bat), at $20,000.
In addition to the Wagner bat, the auction will also include Lou Gehrig’s 1933-34 game-used road flannel jersey, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson’s 1917-20 game-used signature model Louisville Slugger bat, a Rogers Hornsby 1928 game-used road flannel, Joe DiMaggio’s game-used 1940s road flannel (the year is undetermined, but Vintage Authentics officials note the possibility of it being the uniform he wore when his 56-game hitting streak ended), and Roberto Clemente’s game-used 1970 jersey.
The auction will conclude on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Bids can be placed via phone, fax (763) 208-2890, and e-mail at (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information go to www.vintageauthentics.com, or call (866) 304-3090.
Vintage Authentics is a sports memorabilia auction company based in Golden Valley, Minn. Steve Jensen, Mark Redmond and Ryan Guldberg are the founders, partners and co-CEOs.