In the hearts and imaginations of fans who were bidding, Jackie Robinson hit a home run, as his 1951 game-used home jersey scored $341,779 in Grey Flannel’s holiday auction.
Carrying impeccable provenance, the Brooklyn Dodgers flannel jersey featured Robinson’s number “42” on the back, the team name on the front and the chain-stitched name J. Robinson inside its collar.
According to Grey Flannel Auctions’ president Richard E. Russek, Robinson remains one of the most beloved and respected baseball players of all time.
“He was the first African-American Major League baseball player of the modern era, played on six World Series teams and won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award only two years after he joined the Majors,” Russek said. “[He] broke the color barrier for black athletes, making him not only a baseball hero but also an iconic African-American. It was an honor for us to have been entrusted with the sale of this important jersey.”
However, the game-used treasures didn’t stop with the Robinson jersey. A 1994 Seattle Mariners autographed rookie alternate jersey previously used by Alex Rodriguez, complete with a Major League Baseball anniversary sleeve patch and letter of authenticity, also made an appearance. The jersey eventually sold for $29,881.
Stellar results were achieved by player memorabilia from all across the professional sports realm. A 1972-73 Wilt Chamberlain game-used Los Angeles Lakers home jersey realized $27,584, while an early 1970s Bobby Orr game-used Boston Bruins road jersey followed closely behind at $25,410.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Inextricably associated with recent negative headlines and a felony conviction, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s game-used and autographed road uniform prob
ably would have sold for a lot more than $3,000 before his legal troubles overshadowed anything he’s done on the field.
Boxing was represented by a coin-operated amusement from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair – an International Mutoscope Co. Silver Gloves arcade game. Made in 1948, the upright novelty consisted of two 2-inch “heavyweight” boxing figures pitted against each other in a realistic-looking ring. For 10 cents, a player could manipulate the levers and make his boxer punch the opponent, knock him down and hopefully win the match. In Grey Flannel’s sale, the game attracted a top bid of $9,755.
The most unusual lot in the sale was a 1920s-era bulletproof vest that came from the Florida home of notorious gangster Al Capone. A “dress-style” dark wool vest that weighed 17 lbs., the garment sold to a crime museum for $12,806.
As proof that the Marilyn Monroe mystique continues to fascinate, a lock of hair snipped by the platinum-blond film star’s hairdresser, Kenneth Battelle, was in great demand. It is known that Battelle – a celebrity stylist known simply as “Kenneth” – would save pieces of Monroe’s hair to give to his biggest clients. The lock offered at auction was mounted together with a picture of the actress and the number 005, signifying the number of New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio. The keepsake brought $3,354.
For more information on this and other Grey Flannel sales, call (800) 242-8647, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.greyflannel.com.