$1 million? Already passed it.
$2 million? It's in reach.
$3 million? That's the target.
The record-breaking Aaron Judge home run ball is up for auction this weekend at Goldin and the hammer price will provide collectors and investors with a clearer picture on the state of the modern baseball memorabilia market. It is no secret to those who have followed this space that modern baseball significantly lags behind the vintage world - especially when compared to sports like baseball and football. With the exception of a few breakout card sales in 2021-early 2022, the modern era of baseball collecting has been hampered by junk wax and steroids. Finally, there is a piece of memorabilia hitting the auction block from the 2000s that stands among the all-time grails we've watched set record after record over the years. In this edition of Auction Action, we preview the Judge ball and the additional collectibles we'll be watching as the final bids come through this weekend.
It seems fitting that what could be the final million-dollar sports collectible to sell this year was the biggest piece of memorabilia to come out of 2022. Aaron Judge delivered a season for the ages that captivated the sports world and reached its crescendo on October 4th at Globe Life Field in Arlington Texas. In his first at bat of the game, Judge launched this baseball into the left-field bleachers to give him the American League record for home runs in a season. The battle for the baseball was won by Cory Youmans who had it authenticated by the MLB and turned down a public offer of $2 million and a rumored private offer of $3 million to consign the historic collectible with Goldin. Now, the baseball has a chance to challenge the $3 million price tag once paid for Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball and has already surpassed the $752,467 paid for Barry Bonds' 756th round-tripper. If true, turning down a $3 million offer to consign at auction is a major gamble, especially in a market that is facing a significant economic pressure. With two days remaining in the event, the baseball has attracted 5 bids and sits at $1.44 million. While the bids have been few and far between, it only takes two bidders to push the price into a new stratosphere and with the multi-million dollar prices that have been thrown around, it would be shocking if this baseball doesn't reach at least $2 million before the hammer drops.
The next six-figure LeBron jersey is set to sell this week at Goldin as the auction house has already sold six LeBron jerseys for more than $100,000 this year. Backed by a photo match from Mei Gray to three games in March including a game where James tallied 56 points with 10 rebounds in a win over the Golden State Warriors. The 50+ performance stands as LeBron's 3rd highest single-game total of his career and 9 bidders have already piled into the rare Lakers threads. As of publication, the current bid stands at $108,000 which would be the second most expensive LeBron Lakers jersey sold by Goldin in 2022.
The fractional investing community might recognize this one. In October 2020, Rally offered this exact Heisman Trophy for $460,000 but the iconic award failed to fill and has now resurfaced at auction. The current price sits at $84,000, significantly below the IPO market cap and well short of its last sale of $348,000. You would be hard-pressed to find a modern Heisman Trophy on the market today as the selling of the award was banned by the committee in 1999. There are no more than 15 original Heisman Trophies available on public markets with the remaining in private hands, which makes this pre-war award one of the few that can be acquired by collectors.
The standard base 1990 Topps Frank Thomas card in a PSA 10 sells today for around $50. For the nameless error card pictured above, well it's already at $92,400 with two days remaining and 16 bidders involved. Talk about an expensive mistake! There are more than 3,000 PSA 10's of the error-free Thomas rookie while there are only around 250 total graded examples of this no-name printing - with only a single PSA 10. That lone gem mint card is now on the auction block and could provide a new record for any card from the 1990 Topps set.
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