With more than 3,500 sports collectibles scheduled to sell over a three day period, the Fall Sports Auction at Heritage could establish multiple category records and provide an update on the strength of the overall market. In this edition of Auction Action we preview the event and the top items set to sell.
In August, Heritage established a new sports collectibles record when they sold a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded SGC 9.5 for $12.6 million. In the months following that sale, the high-end Mickey Mantle market experienced a surge in valuations as the ten-figure result provided a catalyst for the '52 Topps set. In this auction, Heritage is set to sell a PSA 8 graded copy of the iconic Mantle card and it could become the third PSA 8 to reach a multi-million dollar total and the first Type 1 PSA 8 Mantle to sell for at least $2 million. With less than 12 hours remaining in the auction, the card carries a current price tag of $1.47 million with the next bid expected to push the valuation above $1.5 million.
Yes, there is a 2003 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection LeBron James RPA that could sell for $2 million and a 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady that is poised to close near or above seven-figures. The highlight of this auction from a cardboard standpoint though is undoubtably the overwhelming amount of high-end vintage that is scheduled to find new homes across the multi-day event. While the aforementioned PSA 8 Mantle and a PSA 7 of the same card will capture headlines, rare and well-conditioned examples of top-tier cards featuring names like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays will also play a significant role in the auction. The card imaged above is a 1963 Topps Hank Aaron PSA 10 and is the only gem mint example within the PSA census out of more than 2,600 total graded copies. Heritage will also sell a PSA 9 of Aaron's 1954 Topps rookie card which is only bested by two that have achieved a perfect 10. With market uncertainty still applying pressure to the overall industry, vintage grails have long been a safe haven for collectors and investors alike. The results of auctions like this one will provide an update on the strength of the longest standing sector within the sports collectibles market and will also provide new data points for some cards that have not sold publicly in decades.
Lot #57664: 1910-14 Ty Cobb Game Used & Signed Bat
Speaking of that record-breaking August auction that saw a sports card sell for $12.6 million, did you know that in that same event the record for any baseball bat was also established?
And now, that record is once again in danger.
In August, Heritage sold a Babe Rut Game Used and Signed Bat dated to 1918-22 for $1.68 million. The sale easily surpassed the previous ceiling of $1.3 million but could be in jeopardy less than three months later. Up for auction this week is one of the most impressive pieces of baseball history to ever sell publicly. This 1910-14 Ty Cobb Game Used and Signed Baseball Bat is a million-dollar sports artifact on its own but what takes the high-profile piece of lumber to the next level is the unmatched authenticity and provenance that accompanies it. In addition to confirmation from PSA/DNA, the bat has also been photomatched - something that is virtually unheard of for early 20th century sports memorabilia. There are two images that show Cobb carrying the bat and one of those images features the Detroit Tiger's legend standing next to "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. It is rare in itself to find a photo featuring two of baseball's most talented yet controversial stars to ever step onto the diamond but in this case, the photo also provides additional evidence of the baseball bat's history. For added measure, the lot including a personal handwritten statement from Ty Cob himself, which was given to Eddie Maier, the former owner of the Minor League Vernon Tigers and one of the most distinguised collectors of game used bats. At the time of publication, this Ty Cobb gamer is priced at $945,000 with premium and it could not only reach $1 million by auction close but could be headed towards $2 million if the bat market continues t flourish after the summer sales.
Lot #57668: 1952 Jackie Robinson All-Star Game Used Bat
The baseball bat bonanza continues with this specimen which comes directly from the estate of Jackie Robinson. The bat was used by Robinson in the 1952 All-Star Game and was the tool of choice when the barrier-breaking Dodgers legend hit his home All-Star Game home run. With that single swing of this 35.1 ounce Hillerich & Bradsby S100 bat, Robinson became the first African American in Major League baseball history to hit a home run in an All-Star Game. The 1952 All-Star Game was Robinson's fourth and his round-tripper helped propel the National League to a 3-2 victory. This exact bat sold in 2014 for $112,575 and the bat now carries a reserve price of $900,000.
Foreshadowing (noun): to be a warning or indication of a future event; an indication of something that will happen in the future.
In what could be contrived as a clear warning to the golf world, Tiger Woods stepped into the 14th tee box during his first professional tournament and delivered a hole in one courtesy of his six iron and this specific golf ball. The tournament, which was the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, has become a targeted event by sports memorabilia collectors and in February, Heritage sold the highest graded ticket from the event for $99,000. After sinking his hole-in-one, Tiger tossed this Titleist golf ball into the crowd and the lucky fan who secured the memorabilia is now the consignor as the ball makes its official auction debut. With one day remaining in the auction, the golf ball carries a current bid of $42,000 with premium and could be setup to surpass $50,000 by auction close.
If you've caught on, this auction is filled with rare and historic memorabilia across multiple sports but there is no question that baseball is the standout. Nearly 46% of all lots are baseball cards or memorabilia which is more than double any other sport. While there is a mix of modern within the auction, vintage commands the most significant portion of the event and this piece of pre-war baseball lore is one of the most intriguing items set to sell. Lot number 57821 features this Ted Williams Game Used and Signed Fielders Glove that is dated between 1938-41 and is backed by solid provenance and even a photomatch from Resolution. The glove was possibly worn by Ted Williams during his rookie year in 1939 and although the written documentation does not confirm that to be a fact - the recent photomatch work provides strong evidence that Williams used this exact mitt during his first year as a professional baseball player. The auction house estimate stands at $200,000+ and the current bid has reached $96,000 with more than 24 hours remaining in the sale.
All Images via Heritage Auctions
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