During the last week of September, a sports memorabilia auction place that may never be equaled during our lifetimes. I am speaking about the Barry Halper collection of course. Unless you have been hiding in the hills for the last few months, I am sure you have heard at least something about this historic sale. From Mickey Mantle's game-used glove to Ty Cobb's dentures, the auction was a huge success.

The auction was such a tremendous success that it surprised nearly everyone. "Our high estimate for the Barry Halper collection was 11 million dollars but the collection brought basically double that number," said Sotheby's representative Matt Robbins. "The provenance was the key to the whole sale, the provenance of this collection was unmatched in the hobby."

Many collectors could not believe some of the prices being paid for these items but, according to Robbins, there was a very obvious reason for the price levels. "Some people were shocked by the raw numbers but, if they understood how rare some of these items are, they would understand," Robbins explained. "The key is that Barry's memorabilia was the real thing and it was verified. Advanced collectors understand the importance of authentication. In fact, one dealer told me that the same people who were laughing at the Halper sale will be banging themselves over the head in a few years wishing they had bid more."

Sotheby's is accustomed to dealing with rare art and antiques so this auction brought out a different type of crowd according to Robbins. "This was a very tight knit group," explained Robbins. "It was almost like everyone knew each other but the most obvious difference was that the participants were a really fun group and they all seemed to have a great time."

In fact, it was a famous comedian that may be responsible for the most memorable moment from the sale. It occurred when Mickey Mantle's game-used glove came up for sale. "When the glove reached $100,000 there was some commotion but, when the glove hit $200,000, major applause resulted," explained Robbins. "When it was finally hammered down for $239,000, you could see a man leaning out of his bidding-suite on the second floor. The man yelled out and asked if he could jump from his booth to claim his prized glove. Cheers rang out from all in attendance. That man turned out to be Billy Crystal."

Believe it or not, the Halper sale is not over. For those collectors who cannot afford the types of items that went up for sale during the live auction, an Internet auction will follow at the end of the year. "The Internet auction will consist of several thousand lots that have been estimated between $100-$1,000," said Robbins. "This should give the average collector a chance to acquire something affordable for their collection."

The Barry Halper Top-Ten list
1
Lou Gehrig's last game-used glove
$387,500
2
1928 Ty Cobb game-used/signed jersey
$332,500
3
Del Webb's 1947-64 Yankees WS rings
$310,500
4
Lou Gehrig Yankees game-used road jersey
$305,000
5
1960 Mickey Mantle game-used glove
$239,000
6
1956 Mickey Mantle Triple Crown award
$211,500
7
1920 Sale of Babe Ruth agreement
$189,500
8
1930s Lou Gehrig game-used cap
$151,000
9
1903-1998 WS ticket collection of 256
$140,000
10
Alexander Cartwright family baseball/letter
$129,000
11
1956 Mickey Mantle WS ring
$123,500
12
Gehrig signed presentation jersey
$123,500
13
Babe Ruth farewell bat
$107,000
14
1947 Ted Williams Triple Crown award
$ 97,100
15
1894 team-signed ledgers
$ 96,000
16
1921 Babe Ruth game-used glove
$ 96,000
17
1927 Lou Gehrig WS ring
$ 96,000
18
Pete Rose game-used 4,192 hit jersey
$ 90,500
19
T206 Honus Wagner proof strip
$ 85,000
20
1967 Carl Yastrzemski Triple Crown award
$ 85,000


With the great success of the Halper sale, Sotheby's has decided to increase their presence in the high-end sports collectibles market by continuing to hold live as well as the head of our new sports memorabilia department and he will be handling all future auctions," explained Robbins. "We will be actively seeking authentic, high duality sports memorabilia for our auctions. The market is always strong for these types of items."


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.