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Historic Jerseys and Memorabilia Fetch Millions in Heritage Sports Auction

The world of sports memorabilia was set ablaze at the Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Catalog sale, a dazzling event that captivated enthusiasts and collectors alike. Historic jerseys and bats from baseball legends took center stage, driving intense bidding wars and yielding astounding sales figures.

A standout piece that stole the spotlight was a 1920 Walter Johnson Washington Senators jersey, commanding a jaw-dropping price of just over $2 million. Crafted from luxurious flannel material, this jersey was meticulously verified through photo matching to have been donned by Johnson during a momentous game—Babe Ruth’s debut as a New York Yankee. Originally hailing from Johnson’s teammate, Eric “Swat” Erickson, the jersey was safeguarded by the Erickson family in Jamestown, New York, before entering the hands of avid collectors in the early 2000s. Its previous transaction in June 2006 saw it exchange for $352,000, making its current selling price a true testament to its historical significance.

Not trailing far behind in the realm of top sales was a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers jersey worn by the legendary Sandy Koufax during his rookie season, fetching a remarkable $1.8 million. This iconic piece stands as one of the most revered baseball memorabilia items sold in recent memory, solidifying its timeless appeal and historical value.

Among the other noteworthy sales were Carl Hubbell’s New York Giants jersey from his MVP-winning seasons spanning 1936 to 1939, which commanded a price of $87,000. A St. Louis Cardinals jersey worn by the esteemed Stan Musial during his 1943 MVP campaign fetched an impressive $180,147. Warren Spahn’s Milwaukee Braves jersey from the 1954 season found a new owner for $102,000, while a Reggie Jackson Oakland A’s uniform from his record-breaking 57-home run season in 1969 was sold for $99,000, showcasing the enduring allure of baseball memorabilia.

Additionally, the auction featured other remarkable memorabilia such as a Ty Cobb Louisville Slugger bat from the early 1920s, which sold for a substantial $630,000. This 40.7-ounce bat measuring 34 1/2 inches is believed to have been wielded by Cobb during his final season hitting over .400, adding to its allure and historical significance. A Mickey Mantle bat from 1953 gifted to a fan in Oklahoma ahead of the 1954 season fetched an impressive $324,000, while a Hank Aaron glove photomatched to 1973 and previously owned by a Milwaukee Brewers executive sold for $210,000, signaling the escalating demand for game-used fielder’s gloves in the collector’s market.

Chris Ivy, the esteemed Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage, lauded the auction’s triumph, particularly emphasizing the robust performance of game-worn items and the burgeoning popularity of fielder’s gloves among collectors. The three-day extravaganza attracted a staggering 3,650 bidders from across the globe, resulting in more than $21 million in sales with nearly every lot finding a new home.

Moreover, the auction witnessed several record-breaking card sales, with highlights including a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded SGC 7.5 setting a new grade record at an astounding $564,000. A complete 1952 Topps master set, inclusive of a PSA 6 graded Mantle card, garnered $264,000, while a 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb card fetched a record $63,000. A George Brett rookie card, one of only 11 Gem Mint 10s as registered by PSA, realized a notable $150,000, further accentuating the fervor surrounding sports card collecting.

Furthermore, the auction showcased high-value unopened material, such as a 1961-62 Fleer Basketball box that closed at $372,000, and a PSA 9 graded Wilt Chamberlain rookie card from the same set, which fetched $198,000. Additionally, 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 brought in $186,000, underscoring the enduring allure of vintage sports cards.

The Heritage Sports Auction not only reaffirmed the deep-rooted passion and investment in sports memorabilia but also underscored the historical importance and financial value embedded within these rare and cherished collectibles.

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