SCP Auctions’ Spring Premier Auction is live and runs through May 17 at www.scpauctions.com. Top lots include Babe Ruth’s gold pocket watch from the 1948 celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of “The House That Ruth Built,” an extraordinarily personal letter from baseball great Lou Gehrig to Dr. Paul O’Leary of the Mayo Clinic, the Newport Sports Museum Collection and the Delbert Mickel Estate Collection of important baseball jerseys.
Babe Ruth’s gold pocket watch from his final appearance at Yankee Stadium
Culminating the June 13, 1948, event, the Yankees ceremoniously retired Ruth’s uniform No. 3 and presented him with this unique gold pocket watch. The 14-karat gold Longines pocket watch features engravings on the back that read: “Babe Ruth – Silver Anniversary – Yankee Stadium 1923-1948 ‘The House That Ruth Built.’” Since his death on Aug. 16, 1948, the watch has been carefully preserved by Ruth’s family. It is well-documented that the vast majority of Ruth’s personal memorabilia was gifted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame shortly after his death. The watch is the only significant Babe Ruth artifact ever offered to the public with direct Ruth family provenance.
Ruth’s grandson, Tom Stevens, stated: “In December 1974, upon the occasion of my college graduation, my grandmother Claire presented me with this watch as a graduation and Christmas present. She told me that my grandfather would have wanted me to have his watch in recognition of the accomplishment. Throughout his life, he was most appreciative of the value of a good education, not having had the benefit of one himself.”
Added Stevens, “This watch represents one of the most significant events in the Babe’s storied life. It also recognizes the very significant role he played by almost single-handedly making it possible for Yankee Stadium to come into being. At his direction, most of the Babe’s personal memorabilia was donated to the Hall of Fame after his passing. Among the very little that was kept within the family, this watch has been perhaps our most cherished heirloom.”
The watch is estimated to sell for upward of $750,000. Earlier this year, Babe Ruth’s 1923 World Series pocket watch sold at auction for $717,000. Current bidding is at past $80,000.
Lou Gehrig personal letter
Written on Sept. 13, 1939, to Dr. Paul O’Leary of the Mayo Clinic, Gehrig’s point of contact with regard to his treatment, the three-page, typewritten letter signed by Gehrig is a unique window into the private battle for survival that he entered for the last two years of his life. The letter, unpublished and directly from the O’Leary family, is believed to be one of the last items that Gehrig personally signed, as researchers on this subject have determined that after 1939 nearly all Gehrig “signed” material was secretarially signed by his wife Eleanor or stamped. The letter reveals the symptoms that Gehrig was struggling with and his steadfast resolve to fight his disease. In the face of dire circumstances, the letter also shows his unfailing character, including humor, generosity and his appreciation and gratitude of others.
According to SCP officials, this letter is among the most significant Gehrig pieces ever offered and should set an industry record for a sports-related letter. Bidding is currently at $50,000.
The Newport Sports Museum Collection
For more than half a century, John Hamilton’s sports memorabilia collection grew to become one of the largest privately owned collections in the world. In 1995, Hamilton along with several athletes opened the Newport Sports Museum, which eventually housed more than 10,000 significant game-used artifacts and mementos representing every major sport and athletic endeavor imaginable. The collection represents Hamilton’s life in and around the world of sports and a lifetime of relationships and experiences that have enabled him to acquire most of his items directly from athletes and team personnel, most of whom he still counts as friends.
The genesis of the museum is a product of its founder’s dual passions for collecting and inspiring kids. For decades the museum has been a public gathering place for Hamilton’s astounding and ever-growing collection, as well as a non-profit venue for countless civic fund-raising events, school functions, and athlete mentoring programs.
“I’ve always had a passion for sports,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t do any good to have it all lying around in my basement. I wanted to take all this stuff and turn it into a positive tool.”
Added SCP Vice President Dan Imler: “As John enters a new chapter in his life, SCP Auctions is honored to embark on a historic four-part auction event that celebrates the Newport Sports Museum’s and its founder John Hamilton’s legacy of community service through the public offering of one of the world’s most extraordinary sports memorabilia collections.”
This spring auction marks the first of a four-part offering from The Newport Sports Museum Collection. Highlights include:
• 1965 Sandy Koufax autographed LA Dodgers (World Championship and Cy Young Season) game-worn home jersey already past $36,000)
• 1956 Stan Musial autographed St. Louis Cardinals game-worn road jersey
• 1966 Don Drysdale Los Angeles Dodgers game-worn home jersey
• 1971 Brooks Robinson autographed Baltimore Orioles game-worn road jersey
• 1990-91 Wayne Gretzky autographed Los Angeles Kings game-worn home jersey (Three Kings LOAs Incl. Wayne Gretzky)
The Delbert Mickel Estate Collection
Delbert Mickel was the curator of one of the finest personal collections of game-worn baseball jerseys in the world. Driven by his unbridled love for the game itself, Mickel’s interest in acquiring the finest quality baseball jerseys from some of the game’s greatest legends preceded the evolution of the modern, large-scale memorabilia market by decades. Mickel’s diligence, resourcefulness and engaging personality enabled him to amass a museum-caliber collection beginning long before the internet-age simplified such pursuits. Mickel’s reputation for knowledge, experience and integrity made him one of the most admired collectors of all-time. Highlights of his esteemed collection include:
• 1962 Warren Spahn autographed Milwaukee Braves game-worn road jersey (Spahn LOA)
• 1964 Bob Gibson autographed St. Louis Cardinals (World Championship Season) game-worn road jersey
• 1967 Hank Aaron autographed Atlanta Braves game-worn home jersey
• 1945 Mickey Owen Brooklyn Dodgers rare dark blue satin-style game-worn road jersey with pants
• 1964 World Series Dal Maxvill St. Louis Cardinals home uniform worn to catch the final out in Game 7 vs. the New York Yankees
Other top lots of the auction
• Satchel Paige’s 1971 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ring (Paige family LOA)
• Bob Turley’s 1958 (Cy Young winner and World Series MVP) New York Yankees World Series championship ring (Turley family LOA)
• 1969 Thurman Munson game-worn rookie catcher’s mitt (Yankee Stadium Museum provenance)
• Jackie Robinson single-signed baseball (PSA/DNA Mint 9) – one of two highest graded Robinson single-signed balls
• 1965 “Joe Namath” original oil-on-board painting by LeRoy Neiman,
The auction will be conducted online at SCPAuctions.com. For more information on how to participate, call (949) 831-3700.