Once again, if there is a struggling economy, it doesn’t seem to come into play for rare and high-end sports memorabilia.
It turns out the bidding leading up to the final night of the SCP auction on May 19 was just the tip of the iceberg. While flirting past $2 million a day before the end of the auction, a circa 1920 Babe Ruth Jersey set a new standard for sports memorabilia, ending at $4.4 million, inclusive of the 20 percent buyer’s premium.
The auction was a lineup of high-end items – and Ruth played a role in many of the items. No. 2 on the selling list was a 1927-28 Ruth pro model bat that brought $591,000. Ruth’s cap from the 1930s – owned and wore by David Wells – was third on the list at $537,238. And finally, Ruth’s 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers game-worn uniform sold for $207,142.
Another aspect of the auction we kept on eye on last week was some of the leaders of the Dmitri Young collection of Gem Mint rookie cards from 1948-90. All told, the Young Collection tallied $2.4 million.
The headliners were the rookie cards of Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron. Clemente 1955 Topps card finished at $432,690. Aaron’s 1954 beauty was far behind at $357,594.
Other headliners in the auction included Mickey Mantle’s 1968 Yankee road jersey ($366,967), a circa 1931 Lou Gehrig jersey ($275,706), Lawrence Taylor’s 1991 N.Y. Giants Super Bowl XXV championship ring ($230,401) and the cap off Bobby Thomson’s head after he hit the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ ($173,102).
And thus wraps up one of the most memorable stretches of sports memorabilia auctions in some time. In the past two months, a T206 Wagner brought $1.2 million and a few different auction houses have conducted several million-dollar auctions. With the second grouping of items from the Dreier Collection being auctioned next week, the big prices will keep coming through the end of spring.