Heritage Sports Auctions Make History with Record-Breaking Sales

Heritage Auctions recently hosted a Spring Sports Catalog sale that made waves in the world of sports memorabilia collecting. The event garnered immense attention and saw exceptional sales figures, particularly with iconic jerseys and bats linked to baseball legends stealing the limelight.

One of the standout pieces in the auction was a 1920 Walter Johnson Washington Senators jersey, which commanded a staggering price of just over $2 million. This flannel jersey, authenticated through meticulous photo matching, was confirmed to have been worn by Johnson during a pivotal game—the debut of the legendary Babe Ruth as a New York Yankees player. Originally belonging to Johnson’s teammate, Eric “Swat” Erickson, the jersey had been carefully preserved by the Erickson family in Jamestown, New York, for decades before entering the realm of sports memorabilia collectors in the early 2000s. Interestingly, the last recorded sale of this jersey was back in June 2006 when it changed hands for $352,000.

Following closely in the list of top sales was a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers jersey donned by none other than Sandy Koufax during his rookie season, fetching an impressive $1.8 million. This jersey holds a special place as one of the most iconic pieces of baseball memorabilia to have sold in recent times.

Other noteworthy sales from the auction included Carl Hubbell’s New York Giants jersey from his MVP seasons in the late 1930s, procuring $87,000, and a St. Louis Cardinals jersey worn by Stan Musial during his 1943 MVP year, which reached a price of $180,147. A Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves jersey from the 1954 season was sold for $102,000, while a Reggie Jackson Oakland A’s uniform from his record-breaking 1969 season realized $99,000.

The auction didn’t just focus on jerseys but also featured coveted memorabilia like a Ty Cobb Louisville Slugger bat from the early 1920s that fetched an impressive $630,000. This bat, weighing 40.7 ounces and measuring 34 1/2 inches, is believed to have been used by Cobb during the final season he achieved a batting average over .400.

Additionally, a Mickey Mantle bat from 1953 that was gifted to a fan in Oklahoma before the 1954 season commanded a price tag of $324,000. Furthermore, a Hank Aaron glove, photomatched to 1973 and previously owned by a Milwaukee Brewers executive, was sold for $210,000, indicating the growing market interest in game-used fielder’s gloves.

Chris Ivy, the Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage, praised the success of the auction, emphasizing the strong performance of game-worn items, with fielder’s gloves gaining popularity among collectors. The three-day event attracted a global audience of 3,650 bidders and raked in over $21 million in total sales, with nearly every item finding a buyer.

Additionally, the auction set new records in the card collecting world:

– A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded SGC 7.5 set a new benchmark at $564,000.

– A complete 1952 Topps master set, featuring a PSA 6 Mantle card, went for $264,000.

– A 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb card sold for a record $63,000.

– A George Brett rookie card, one of just 11 Gem Mint 10s registered by PSA, fetched $150,000.

The auction also showcased high-value unopened items, like a 1961-62 Fleer Basketball box that closed at $372,000 and a PSA 9 graded Wilt Chamberlain rookie card from the same set, bringing in $198,000. Moreover, a 1948 Bowman Baseball unopened wax pack graded PSA 7 sold for $138,000, and a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie card graded PSA 8 fetched $186,000.

This auction not only demonstrated the fervent passion and substantial investments in sports memorabilia but also underscored the historical significance and financial worth of these rare collectibles.


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