In an auction rich in treasures of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry and with strong showings in basketball and football from both the professional and college ranks, Grey Flannel Auctions proudly announced that its Fall Classic 2003 Auction exceeded $2 million in revenues. The top baseball item was a 1953 game-worn Ted Williams home Red Sox jersey, which sold for $73,954 while the "Splendid Splinter's" circa 1946 game used cap, fetched another $16,572. A cap worn by Ted's perennial rival in pinstripes Joe DiMaggio, in his rookie year, brought in a whopping $22,382.
A whole array of "Bronx Bomber" hardware also contributed some big numbers. Three Yankees World Championship rings were featured, two from catching great Elston Howard from the 1977 and 1978 seasons, garnering $18,521 and $12,650 respectively, while Tony Cloninger's ring from 1998 tallied $15,307. Elston Howard's Babe Ruth MVP award from the 1958 Fall Classic reached $7,653; his Gold Glove award from 1963 fetched $5,983, and his framed retired jersey presented to his wife Arlene brought in $5,358. A hand written letter, with great content, to Howard from Jackie Robinson earned another $6,958. A game worn jersey from Elston's battery mate Whitey Ford sold for $22,374, and a game used bat from his teammate Mickey Mantle reached $27,429.
Another game used bat from the immortal Rogers Hornsby fetched an incredible $44,528, and one from Jimmie Foxx went for $34,635. Single signed baseballs from all time greats Mel Ott ($25,300), Jimmie Foxx ($27,957), and Walter Johnson ($2,982) did well, and a team signed ball from the 1952 Montreal Royals featuring Roberto Clemente sold for $6,535. GFA CEO Howard Rosenkrantz commented, "We can't recall a minor league ball ever selling for such a high sum." Game-used baseball flannel shirts, A Grey Flannel trademark, fetched some eye-opening prices. A 1960 LA Dodgers Don Drysdale home jersey sold for $16,270 and a 1946 Johnny Mize NY Giants shirt brought in $16,406. A 1973 Nolan Ryan knit shirt from the Cal Angels reached $9,929 and modern day slugger Vladimir Guerrero's first major league jersey from the Montreal Expos sold for $8,727. The shirt Barry Bonds wore for the SF Giants the day he stroked home run #521 went for $16,297.
As is customary in GFA auctions, the basketball section was very strong. "Pistol Pete" Maravich's LSU jersey, worn in his senior year, led the onslaught at an incredible $94,300. It was the second highest price ever paid for a basketball shirt, and Grey Flannel has now sold the three highest priced basketball shirts ever; two of Maravich's and one of Bill Russell. Memorabilia of "Wilt the Stilt" Chamberlain also weighed in heavily; his 1971 All-Star jersey went for $24,463, and the official scorer's sheet from his 100-point game against New York on March 2, 1962 reached $20,872.
Other notable basketball items included Lew Alcindor's 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks shirt ($20,339), Dolph Schayes's 1954 All-Star jersey ($13,861), Dave Bing's 1974-75 Detroit Pistons shirt ($13,643), Bob Lanier's Pistons shirt ($12,908), Maravich's late 1970s New Orleans Jazz jersey ($11,500), two Bill Walton shirts, one from the 1976 Trail Blazers ($9,804) and the other from the Celtics ($6,833), John Havlicek's 1970s Celtics shirt ($7,653), two great Knicks shirts from "Clyde" Frazier ($7,845) and Bill Bradley ($7,132), two vintage ABA shirts from Walt Szczerbiak of the Pittsburgh Condors ($8,428) and Dan Issel of the Kentucky Colonels ($6,199), a 1985 LA Lakers World Championship ring ($5,358), and a leather basketball signed by the 1946-47 Philadelphia Warriors BBA World Championships ($8,149).
College football is alive and well at Grey Flannel, as evidenced by the sale of Doak Walker's 1940s SMU jersey for $24,020, Joel Thesing's leather helmet from Notre Dame's 1939 season for $4,876, and Forrest Gregg's 1955 College All-Star jersey for $3,934. From the pros, a salesman's sample of the 1969 NY Jets Super Bowl trophy brought $7,653, Franco Harris's 1970s Steelers jersey fetched $5,966, Bob Griese's 1977-78 Dolphins jersey reached $5,693, Brett Favre's 2001 Green Bay shirt netted $5,095, and a vintage Walter Payton Bears jersey brought $5,051.
In hockey, the Islanders' Mike Bossy outdid both Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Bossy's 1982-83 shirt went for a hefty $10,436, while Gretzky's 1990-91 LA Kings sweater and Lemieux's 2003 Penguins shirt brought $5,060 and $3,397, respectively. Another hockey notable was Ray Bourque's 1998 All-Star jersey for $3,479.
The new kid in the GFA ensemble, "Americana," weighed in with strong showings in movie posters, movie memorabilia, rock and roll items, comics and political memorabilia. Highlights were Christopher Reeves's original Superman costume for $6,958, actor turned artist Billy Dee Williams's painting "The Isolated Moment" for $8,419, a 1998 Lincoln Town Car executive limousine for $13,800, a movie poster from "Casey at the Bat," starring Wallace Beery at $6,009, another poster from Mack Sennett's "Black Oxfords" for $3,163, vintage rock and roll photos by Henry Diltz from the 1960s and 1970s totaling $2,588 and a vintage 1920s advertising poster for "Bank Note" cigars for $3,220.
Once again, Grey Flannel would like to thank its consignors and bidders alike for making the Fall Classic 2003 such a great success.