The world record for a post-war jersey was one of several that fell at Heritage Auctions as Jackie Robinson’s only known surviving 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers rookie jersey drew a winning bid of $2.05 million to anchor $13.6 million in sales over a four-day span. A third major auction, closing Dec. 10, may bring sales to more than $20 million in the span of a month, the largest monthly tally for sports auctions since the famous Barry Halper sale of 1999.
“It’s been a grueling but gratifying experience,” said Chris Ivy, director of Sports Collectibles at Heritage Auctions, of preparations for the most lucrative month of 21st century sports memorabilia auction history. “We were pleased to see that prices remain very strong despite the enormous volume — it’s a real testament to the strength of the hobby, and to our status as the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer.”
High-grade single trading cards and game worn jerseys supplied the bulk of the high-five and six-figure results of the long weekend. Noteworthy results of the former include a $408,000 sale for a PSA NM-MT 8 example of the fabled 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie, and $264,000 for a 1916 Standard Biscuits Babe Ruth graded PSA EX-MT 4. The first great bubble gum issue—1933 Goudey Baseball—supplied the event with two major highlights: $38,400 for a Mint 9 Mel Ott, and $52,800 for a signed example of Babe Ruth’s #53 card.
After the massive Jackie Robinson result, basketball dominated the field for game used material on the memorabilia side, with a 1971 Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) All-Star jersey commanding $106,250, while a 1965-66 jersey worn during Wilt Chamberlain’s second MVP season with the Philadelphia 76ers commanded $97,500. Bill Russell’s 1960 All-Star Game jersey drew $81,250, while a pair of customized Air Jordan I Sneakers worn by an injured Michael Jordan upon his return to action in 1986 set a new world record for that first Nike incarnation at $55,000.
The ultra-rare pair was altered to include ankle support to protect Jordan’s healing left foot, and bears a period inscription and signature from the future Hall of Famer.
“For a global audience of Jordan collectors, this is as good as it gets,” Ivy said. “Only a tiny handful of game worn Jordan I’s are known to exist, and this unique pair is by far the rarest and most desirable of that breed, as our result would confirm.”
Other highlights include:
• A 1895 US amateur second place silver medal presented to Charles Sands, the inaugural year of USGA and US Amateur & US Open tournaments: $102,000
• A 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal-150 subjects Eddie Plank, SGC Authentic, realized: $52,800
• A group including a 1928 Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig dual-signed baseball and two signed scorecards: $48,000
• A 1933 Sport Kings Ed Blood #9 PSA Mint 9: $19,200
• A 1948 Leaf Joe DiMaggio #1, PSA NM-MT+ 8.5: $43,200
• A 1949 Bowman Duke Snider #226, PSA Mint 9: $55,200
• A 1966 Willie Mays game worn San Francisco Giants jersey, MEARS A10: $96,000
• A 1967-69 Gordie Howe game worn Detroit Red Wings jersey: $72,000
• A 1969 Hank Aaron game worn Atlanta Braves jersey photo matched to NLCS home run game, MEARS A7: $72,000
• A graded 1986 Topps Football Complete Set (396): $60,000