A much heralded, locally-produced Honus Wagner bat, possibly used in the first World Series (1903) and given to the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. to create the company’s first “signature” Louisville Slugger for Wagner, went for $189,117 in an auction conducted by Vintage Authentics which concluded Aug 11. Lou Gehrig’s road jersey from the 1933-34 period, possibly worn when Carl Hubbell fanned him (and four other Hall of Famers, consecutively) in the ’34 All-Star Game, went for $253,000.
The $1.5 million auction, the best ever for the company, provided additional newsworthy items as well. Dan Marino’s jersey worn in the 1985 Monday Night Football game that ended the Chicago Bears’ unbeaten season, sold for $25,652, to set a record for modern NFL jerseys (covering the last 30 years). Marino was installed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in early August.
Meanwhile, a game-used Rafael Palmeiro bat offered as part of a collection bats from the 500-home run and 3,000-hit clubs, drew only $765, about half of what was anticipated, reflecting perhaps, the sudden uncertainty of his Hall-of-Fame status, Vintage Authentics officials noted.
But the rest of the 500 Home Run and 3,000 Hit Club bats were a sensation. Collectively (although they were offered as separate lots), the game-used 500 Home Run Club bats went for $177,588, including $22,371 for Hank Aaron’s 745th home run bat, $40,745 for Mickey Mantle’s 1961 All-Star bat, and $32,753 for a Mel Ott game-used bat.
As for the 3,000 Hit Club, complete save for 19th-century player Cap Anson, the total collection went for $72,631.
Shoeless Joe Jackson, a member of neither club, had his Louisville Slugger bat from the 1917-1920 period (which included the infamous 1919 campaign), going for $46,302, while his barnstorming, post-major league “Black Betsy”, used in the 1921-31 period, went for $13,561.
A Joe DiMaggio road jersey from the 1940s realized $40,745, while a Robert Clemente game-used jersey from 1970-71, went for a very impressive $30,559. The uniform could have been worn during his MVP performance in the ’71 World Series.
Also noteworthy: Herschel Walker’s game-used Georgia Bulldogs college helmet went for an amazing $13,637, and his jersey from the same period, $8,520. A Rogers Hornsby 1928 game-used flannel jersey (Boston Braves), brought $30,613 and a DiMaggio bat from 1946 brought $23,100.
An unexpectedly high price was realized for a baseball signed by the 1977 World Champion New York Yankees at $16,602. The ball included manager Billy Martin, coach Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson, Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, and current NL East managers Willie Randolph and Bobby Cox, who was a coach on the team.
Vintage Authentics is a sports memorabilia auction company based in Golden Valley, Minn. Steve Jensen, Mark Redmond and Ryan Guldberg are the founders, partners and co-CEOs. The company’s next auction will end Nov. 17, and has a consignment deadline of Sept. 9.
For more information go to to www.vintageauthentics.com or call (866) 304-3090.