If the results of Grey Flannel's "Summer Games 2003" auction are any indication of what the weather will be like this summer, it's going to be a hot one. By selling a remarkable 603 of the 607 lots offered in the auction, Grey Flannel was able to ring up $1.5 million in proceeds from the bidders. Grey Flannel's CEO Howard Rosenkrantz explained, "We have found that by downsizing our auctions and our catalog, quality lots, which otherwise might not have sold in 1500 or 2000 lot auctions, get the exposure they deserve. Collectors who are seeking the high profile Mantle, Williams, or Muhammad Ali items will always find them," continued Rosenkrantz, "but it's the prices we get for the Billy Martin jersey, the Christy Mathewson ball or Bob Cousy shirt that always surprise people."
While Mantle's 1954 NY Yankees Road Flannel Jersey brought $64,823 and Ted Williams' 1940 Boston Red Sox Home Flannel shirt fetched $68,879, Billy Martin's 1950 rookie road flannel jersey sold for $29,065 from a $5,000 reserve and the single signature Mathewson ball collared $29,791 from a reserve of $3,500. Grey Flannel also points to the $5,298 it received for Pedro Martinez's "Nine Perfect Innings" game ball ($500 reserve), the $4,715 it got for a 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers team-signed ball ($250 reserve) and a whopping $10,313 it garnered for a 1961 NY Yankees team-signed reunion baseball off a reserve of only $250. How do they do it? "Even our lower profile lots are not crowded off the pages of our catalogue," answered Rosenkrantz, "We like to think our bidders read our catalogues from beginning to end."
Other featured results from the "Summer Games 2003" auction were in baseball: Stan Musial 1956 St. Louis Cardinals Road Flannel jersey ($24,653), Yogi Berra's 1962 Yankees Road Flannel jersey ($22,411), Willie Mays' game-used glove ($18,521), a Mickey Mantle game bat ($23,000), Kevin Mitchell's 1989 MVP award ($16,808), and "Babe Ruth Crown" ($7,577), Tug McGraw's 1969 World Series team-signed game bat with Gil Hodges ($13,559), a 1957 Frank Robinson game bat ($9,492), a Babe Ruth photo inscribed to and including Mickey Cochrane ($10,187), a personal check signed by Henry Louis Gehrig ($15,280) and an oil painting of Babe Ruth by JF Kernan ($12,325).
Basketball results were very strong, led by a late 1950's Bob Cousy shirt ($22,842), a Bill Russell mid-1960's warm-up jacket ($15,687), Elvin Hayes' circa 1970 San Diego Rockets shirt ($16,808), Walt Frazier's mid 1970's Knicks jersey ($10,310), David Thompson's late 1970's Denver Nuggets jersey and shorts ($8,737), Larry Bird's 1981 Celtics championship watch ($7,408), Julius Erving's mid 1980's Philadelphia 76'ers mesh jersey ($5,967), and a pair of floor seats from the old Madison Square Garden ($6,325).
Notable sales in other sports included Muhammad Ali's fight worn trunks vs. Joe Bugner ($13,891) and fight worn shoes against Chuck Wepner ($9,261), Kyle Rote's late 1940's SMU game-used jersey ($9,492), Joe Namath's circa 1975 mesh NY Jets jersey ($6,958), Michael Vick's 2002 Atlanta Falcons mesh jersey ($4,641), Emmitt Smith's late 1980's Florida Gators game-used helmet ($3,704) and Mario Lemieux's 2003 game-used and signed Pittsburgh Penguins sweater ($7,068).
What's next for Grey Flannel? Rosenkrantz commented, "We expect to include an expanded Americana section in our next and all future auctions. Sports memorabilia will always be our main focus, but Americana is plentiful and hot now, so why not participate? We can assure future consignors we will treat their Americana with the same care, reverence and exposure we have given to our sports collectibles." Grey Flannel's staff and its three principals, Rich Russek, Andy Imperato and Howard Rosenkrantz want to thank its consignors and bidders alike for the success of "Summer Games 2003." They cordially invite you to participate in their upcoming Sports/Americana auction slotted for fall of 2003.