Ruth bat, Alexander jersey help push MastroNet nea

Babe Ruth and Grover Cleveland Alexander grabbed the headlines at the Aug. 17-19 MastroNet Auction in a sale that neared $10 million and featured remarkable prices almost across the board of sports and Americana material.

The Ruth-signed and inscribed 1931 H&B bat was presented by the slugger to Hollywood producer Louis Bresnow as a token of friendship after working on a film project together. That kind of provenance, combined with the Ruth name, helped propel the bat to $144,352, the highest price in the sale. It was closely followed by the Grover Cleveland Alexander 1926 St. Louis Cardinals World Series jersey at $92,160 and a single-signed Ruth ball that sold for $89,628.

Some of the other headlined sports pieces included: a game-used Mickey Mantle H&B bat from the 1958 World Series ($87,771); a second game-used Ruth H&B bat, in this instance from 1917-19; a Dizzy Dean 1938-39 Chicago Cubs game-worn jersey ($63,693); a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle ($63,693); a completely graded 1952 Topps Baseball set ($62,374); Bob Feller’s 1951 Cleveland Indians game-worn and signed uniform ($62,374); a Mel Ott 1937 H&B game-used bat ($57,903); a 1911 T205 Gold Border complete set with variations ($52,639);  a Ted Williams 1948 H&B vault-marked bat ($52,639); a 1952 Red Heart complete set, No. 1 on the PSA Set Registry ($49,093); Kareem Abul-Jabbar’s NBA “50 Greatest Players” signed lithograph ($49,093); a 1909-11 T206 White Border Ty Cobb Portrait Green Background ($47,853); a high-grade 1952 Bowman Large complete set ($47,853); and Roberto Clemente’s 1965-68 game-used H&B bat ($45,124).

“Every auction we have numerous items that jump to the next level in terms of value and demand,” said Doug Allen, president of MastroNet. “And then there are the ones that take even us by surprise and set new precedents.”

One such item was an early 1900’s Royal scepter of England’s King Edward VII. The lot opened with a minimum of $1,000. Thirty-five bids later, it sold for $40,100. “Any time an item sells for 40 times its opening bid, you’ve got to give it the credit it deserves,” said Allen.

Another such collectible was a drinking cup from a Titanic lifeboat and other items such as china from the ship. “We knew the deck chair ($36,883) from the Titanic would do well,” said Allen. “But the drinking cup and the china far exceeded our expectations and will set the bar for similar items in the future.”

And while the prices in the world of sports memorabilia tend to be much more predictable, Allen says that just wasn’t the case with a huge number of lots from the sports auction.
 
“The Wayne Gretzky jersey (game-worn 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers, $43,502) and rookie card ($62,374) went through the roof,” said Allen. “Anything Gretzky has a tendency to do well but this was a phenomenal jump that is bound to impact the future sale of Gretzky items.” Allen also cited the Grover Cleveland Alexander 1926 St. Louis Cardinals game worn jersey, the 1938-39 Dizzy Dean Chicago Cubs worn home jersey, and the single-signed Ruth ball and baseball bat.

More prewar card highlights: 1915 Cracker Jack No. 1 Otto Knabe – $41,020; a 1933 Goudey uncut sheet with five Hall of Famers including Ruth – $40,572; a 1912 E300 Plow’s Candy Honus Wagner – $40,100; a 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb – $32,683; a 1909-11 T206 White Border complete set minus the “Big Six” – $31,867; a 1933 R333 DeLong Lou Gehrig – $29,711; a 1912 E300 Plow’s Candy Cobb – $27,388; a 1933 Goudey No. 181 Ruth – $26,335; a 1887-90 N172 Old Judge Hall of Fame collection – $26,335; a 1909-11 T206 White Border near-complete set (520) minus the “Big Four” – $26,335; a high-grade 1904 WG2 American League Fan Craze set  –  $25,554; a 1909-11 T206 White Border near set – $23,941; a 1909-11 T206 White Border Cy Young Cleveland Portrait – $23,152; an 1887 N28 Allen & Ginter World’s Champions First Series SGC completely graded set – $22,321; a 1932 R328 U.S. Caramel Ruth  – $21,763; a 1911 T3 Turkey Red cabinet No. 9 Cobb  – $21,047; a 1941 R336 Play Ball completely graded set – $21,047; and a high-grade 1913 WG5 National Game complete sent – $20,575. 
  
More post-war card highlights: a 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson – $39,547; a 1957 Topps Baseball completely graded partial set (nr-mt to mt, 360/407) – $35,951; a high-grade 1952 Topps low numbers collection – $30,127; a 1952 Bowman high-grade complete set  – $27,008; a high-grade 1954 Topps complete set – $26,335; and a 1956 Topps completely graded set – $22,887.

Bats: Hank Aaron’s home run No. 733 record-setting bat – $27,010; 1917-21 H&B “Black Betsy” professional model bat, the style attributed to Joe Jackson – $20,292; 1917-21 Ruth H&B “250” game-used bat – $20,292; 1964 Willie Mays H&B signed and game-used All-Star Game bat – $19,785; 1965-68 rare game-used Don Drysdale H&B bat  – $11,611; circa 1905 Napoleon Lajoie game-used bat – $10,798; and a game-used and signed 1960 Yogi Berra H&B All-Star bat – $10,443.

Equipment: 1968 Brooks Robinson Orioles game-worn home jersey – $30,127; 1961 Robin Roberts Phillies game-worn and signed jersey – $28,970; 1949 Lou Boudreau Indians game-worn home uniform – $13,513; 1930s Tony Lazzeri game-used glove – $11,611; and a 1948 Charlie Grimm Cubs game-worn home uniform – $11,611. 

Baseballs: 1927-28 Yankees team-signed ball – $38,561; another single-signed Ruth ball – $43,502; a Ruth/Gehrig/Huggins signed ball – $32,683; 1961 Yankees team-signed ball – $21,763; a  Ruth and Gehrig signed ball – $21,047; a Walter Johnson single-signed signed baseball realized $18,705; a 1931 single-signed Ruth ball – $17,986; and a Hall of Fame signed baseball with Foxx, Ott and Cobb – $11,166.

Autographs: Gehrig-signed 1934 Goudey No. 37  – $13,172; a Ruth-signed 1933 Goudey No. 181 – $11,488; a 1929 Philadelphia Athletics autographed panorama sold for $10,798; a 1955-1963 Mickey Mantle vintage signed baseball card collection went for $9,382; and a Mickey Mantle signed check sold for $9,382.

Miscellaneous baseball memorabilia: a massive 1909-2003 World Series ticket collection – $29,547; an 1863 “Union Prisoners at Salisbury” Civil War baseball print – $27,010; a 1974 World Champion Oakland Athletics owner’s trophy in original shipping box – $26,335; Mickey Lolich’s full-size 1968 World Series trophy – $15,244; Earle Comb’s 1932 Yankees World Series ring – $14,864; and Mickey Mantle’s 1965 Fred Hutchinson Award – $6,552.

Basketball: 1980-81 Julius Erving Philadelphia 76ers game-worn road uniform – $10,799; early 1970s Bill Bradley game-worn Knicks home jersey – $7,626; a 1938 Coca-Cola advertising sign of women basketball players in original “Coca-Cola” frame – $6,846; a 1997-98 Michael Jordan Bulls complete road uniform  – $6,552; a 1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie card  – $6,484; and a 1986-87 Fleer No. 57 Jordan PSA-graded collection – $6,407.

Football: 1916 M101-5 Sporting News Jim Thorpe  – $24,632; 1965 Topps high-grade complete set  – $11,611; a 1951 Bowman complete set  – $10,321; a 1948 Bowman high-grade complete set – $9,595; high-grade 1924-29 Chicago Bears program run – $7,132, 1935 R331 National Chicle completely graded near-set (32/36) – $7,132; 1933 Goudey Sports Kings Jim Thorpe – $6,407; and a high-grade 1969 Topps  complete set – $6,407.

Hockey: a high-grade 1954-55 Topps complete set  – $22,392; a 1911-12  C55 Hockey Players SGC-graded complete set – $19,133; a 1951-52 Parkhurst complete set – $16,626; a massive collection (34,000-plus) of hockey cards – $13,513; and a high-grade 1961-62 Topps PSA-graded complete set – $7,754. 

Boxing:  Joe Louis’ 1951 signed boxing contract to fight Rocky Marciano – $4,870; circa 1900 large posed boxing figures – $3,022; a 1933 Goudey Sports Kings Jack Dempsey – $2,901; and a collection of 1888 N29 Allen & Ginter boxers – $2,178.

Non-Sports Cards: 1962 Topps “Civil War News” PSA-graded complete set – $13,739; 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” display box-top preliminary original artwork by Norman Saunders – $10,798; a high-grade 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” completely graded PSA set – $7,845; a 1940 R83 Gum, Inc. Lone Ranger original artwork for card No. 22 “Firebrands on the Ledge” – $7,049; an 1888 N2 Allen & Ginter “American Indian Chiefs” SGC-graded complete set  – $4,813; and a 1938 R69 Gum, Inc. “Horrors of War” near-set – $4,813.

More Americana highlights: Bill Vukovich’s 1953 Indianapolis 500 trophy – $44,562; 1840 William Henry Harrison six-sided campaign jug – $39,547; lock of Napoleon’s hair – $35,055; 1824 Beethoven official payment document with full signature – $33,530; 1799 George Washington signed check – $22,321; 1962 Topps  Civil War News unopened 36-count rack pack case – $19,785; 1844 Henry Clay campaign portrait flag – $19,133; 1957 Elvis Presley personally owned and signed phonograph – $19,133; 1860 Lincoln and Hamlin “Wide Awakes” campaign flag – $17,986; 1865 Abraham Lincoln assassination relics including hair and blood-soaked cloth – $17,603.

Other items in this category include: a huge 1840 “Harrison and Reform” campaign silk flag – $17,392; an 1803 Jefferson/Madison signed presidential appointment – $16,350; an 1864 Lincoln campaign bandana – $16,770; an 1896 McKinley and Hobart jugate campaign flag – $14,052; a locket with George Washington and Alexander Hamilton hair – $14,052; a rare 1860 Breckinridge and Lane Currier & Ives campaign print – $12,773; an early 1800s John Adams Liverpool pitcher – $12,283; an extremely rare 1868 Alaska Purchase era document signed by President Andrew Johnson – $10,151; a 1905 Theodore Roosevelt inaugural medal designed by Augustus St. Gaudens – $8,722; a 1912 Roosevelt/Johnson “Progressive” Bull Moose campaign banner  – $8,722; and John F. Kennedy’s personal 14K gold presidential cufflinks  – $8,722.

Hollywood, TV and Rock ’n Roll: Beatles-signed 1963 “Twist and Shout” 45 RPM record jacket – $16,350; Bob Dylan’s concert-played guitar from President Clinton’s 1993 “Inaugural Blue Jeans Bash” –  $13,513; and a circa 1964 Beatles-signed publicity photo – $11,166.

Other items in this category include: a John Lennon 1971 two-page signed handwritten letter and self-caricature defending Yoko Ono’s musical talents to radio commentator Joe Franklin – $10,555; a rare Buddy Holly 1958 two-page signed handwritten letter  – $10,321; a historically significant 1933 “Marx Bros., Inc.” minutes of first corporate meeting, signed by all four brothers with their real and stage names – $9,227; a phenomenal 1961 Beatles-signed Liverpool photo with Pete Best – $7,626; and a scarce 1950s “Big Bopper” signed 8-by-10 photo – $7,531.

Historical Autographs: significant 1960s-90s Charles and Diana autograph collection with Prince Charles unpublished letters and holiday cards – $18,448; 1878 patent application for the phonograph signed by Thomas Edison – $15,639; and a rare Wyatt Earp 1870 signed and handwritten “State of Missouri” subpoena – $14,864.

Other items in this category include: an extensive autograph collection with significant historical figures – $13,901; a “Stonewall” Jackson 1862 one-page ALS written days after the Fredricksburg victory  – $13,739; a 1782 Benjamin Franklin signed letter as Minister to France – $12,773; George Washington 1783 signed military discharge papers – $11,611; a George Custer 1870 two-page signed handwritten letter with intriguing “military dress” content  – $10,443; and a John Dillinger 1933 two-page signed handwritten love letter from prison – $10,443.

Historical Items: Amelia Earhart flight ensemble  – $15,639.; “Baby Face” Nelson’s personal gun, holster and bullets circa 1934 – $12,773; ornate 1920s Lalique mirror from the “Orient Express” Railway – $12,283; “Battle of the Bunker Hill” large oil painting by Darius Cobb – $10,151; an extensive 1941 archive of Albert Einstein – $10,151; an 1858 “Washington Crossing the Delaware” original oil painting – $9,227; and the “Evacuation of Boston Harbor” large oil painting by Darius Cobb – $9,227.

Also: original china cup, saucer and asparagus tray from the Titanic – $15,114; original deck bench removed at Southampton – $12,925; original wood from the Titanic wheelhouse door – $8,529; a “Titanic” lifeboat drinking cup – $7,049; a collection of “Titanic” refuse/salvage items – $6,846; an original “Titanic” silver tray – $6,223; an ornate table made from actual “Titanic” wreck wood – $6,092; Apollo 11 space-flown New Jersey state flag signed by Buzz Aldrin – $9,112; Apollo 15 moon-flown flag signed by Al Worden – $5,701; Apollo 17 space-flown flag signed by Gene Cernan and Christopher Craft – $5,295; a John Glenn signed 11-by-14” original 1962 color photo of Mercury Atlas 6 launch, inscribed to fellow astronaut Ed White – $4,813; Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin signed 8-by-10 color photos – $3,614; and an Apollo 11 space-flown treaty displayed with Michael Collins signed, handwritten note – $3,285.

Comics and Comic Art: August, 1940 Famous Fantastic Mysteries original cover oil painting by Virgil Finlay – $11,166; March, 1953 Weird Tales original cover painting by Virgil Finlay – $11,166; a 1963 Mad No. 79 original “Whistler’s Mother” cover painting by Norman Mingo – $10,189; the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man  – $7,929; and a 1987 Mad No. 270 original Bruce Springsteen parody cover painting – $5,096.

MastroNet’s next premier auction is scheduled for December. Consignments are currently being accepted. For more information or for consignment details, call 630-472-1200 or visit www.mastronet.com.

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