CASEY STENGEL'S 1951 NEW YORK YANKEES
WORLD SERIES RING FROM THE STENGEL ESTATE ACHIEVES $180,000,
OVER THREE TIMES ITS HIGH ESTIMATE
THE COLLECTION OF MITSUHIKO FUJITA TOTALS
FAR EXCEEDING ITS HIGH ESTIMATE
New York, New York, June 5, 2007 - Today in a packed salesroom, Sotheby's and SCP Auctions' sale of Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards brought $4,732,560, exceeding its high estimate (est. $3.2/4.6 million*). The sale featured three unprecedented single-owner collections: the Estate of New York baseball legend Casey Stengel, which included the top lot of the sale, Stengel's 1951 World Series Ring, won during his only season as manager for both Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, which commanded $180,000 (lot 231, est. $30/50,000); the Collection of Mitsuhiko Fujita, which was comprised of memorabilia from the 1934 Tour of Japan, including a Babe Ruth Single Signed Baseball in Original Japanese Ball Box, which achieved for $57,000 (lot 11, est. $25/35,000); and the finest private collection of Hall of Fame basketball jerseys ever to come up for auction, which was highlighted by Willis Reed's 1969-70 New York Knicks Home Jersey, which brought $90,000 (lot 300, est. $75/100,000).
Lee Dunbar, Director of the Collectibles Department, continued, "Today's
sale, our fifth live auction in partnership with SCP Auctions, demonstrated
strength across a number of categories in the Sports Memorabilia market, as
well as depth at a variety of price points. Our single-owner collections were
particularly successful, and collectors were willing to pay premium prices for
objects with historical and personal significance from many of the most important
and memorable moments in sports history."
David Kohler, President of SCP Auctions, continued: "We're thrilled to have had another hugely successful sale of Sports Memorabilia, with new buyers entering the market from other collecting categories. It would have been noteworthy to have one of these single-owner collections in a sale, but to have three in a single sale is truly remarkable."
The Estate of Casey Stengel
As the only person to have worn the uniform -- as player or manager -- of all four Major League baseball teams that played in New York City in the 20th century, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel was a true New York baseball legend. Among the marquee items offered by the Stengel Estate were Casey Stengel's 1951 World Series Ring, won during his only season as manager for both Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, which commanded $180,000, selling to a New York private collector (lot 231, est. $30/50,000). Another highlight of this offering was Stengel's 1969 New York Mets World Series Ring, which brought $78,000, selling to a New York private collector (lot 263, est. $30/40,000), and his 1957 New York Yankees AL Championship Gold Cufflinks, which elicited applause when they sold for $72,000, also selling to an American private collector (lot 253, est. $4/6,000).
Private Collection of Important Basketball Jerseys
Another cornerstone of the sale was the finest private collection of basketball jerseys ever to come up for auction. Highlighting the more than 80 lots of jerseys was Willis Reed's 1969-70 New York Knicks Home Jersey, which brought $90,000, selling to an anonymous buyer (lot 300, est. $75/100,000). The jersey was from his historic performance in the 1970 Championship Series leading his team to their first NBA title. Reed, who missed Game 6 of the series with a torn right thigh muscle, appeared amazingly on the court in the middle of pre-game warm-ups to join his team for the deciding game of the NBA Finals. It was this dramatic entrance, recently voted in a national poll as the most dramatic sports moment in the history of Madison Square Garden, that is said to have set the tempo energizing his team to victory.
The Collection of Mitsuhiko Fujita
The Collection of Mitsuhiko Fujita, grandson of Baron Denzaburo Fujita, totaled $415,020, far above its high estimate (est. $204,800/298,200). The Collection, comprised of forty lots, many of which far exceeded their high estimates, represented the finest and most extensive collection of autographed baseballs and photos that document this Japanese Golden Age, which peaked with the visit of the Ruth and Gehrig-led US All-Stars in 1934. Highlighting the Collection was a Babe Ruth Single Signed Baseball in Original Japanese Ball Box, selling for $57,000 to a telephone buyer after competing with at least two other bidders (lot 11, est. $25/35,000). This was followed by a 1934 US Tour of Japan Team Signed Baseball in Original Japanese Ball Box, which brought $52,800, also selling to a telephone buyer after competition with at least two other bidders (lot 8, est. $25/35,000)
Game-Used Bats, Baseballs and Additional Highlights
Among the other highlights of the sale were a Circa 1928-29 Babe Ruth Game Used Bat (Graded 10), which brought $162,000, selling to an anonymous telephone buyer after competition with at least two other bidders (lot 192, est. $125/175,000); a Walter Johnson Script Signature Game Bat, which sold for $96,000 to an American private collector (lot 106, est. $40/60,000); and a Ted Williams 1955 All-Star H&B Game Bat (Graded 10), which realized $72,000 (lot 75, est. $45/65,000).
Passed down from Walter Johnson through the generations and consigned by his grandson, Walter Johnson's Single Signed Baseball from Last Out During Game Seven of the 1924 World Series brought $90,000 (lot 99, est. $60/80,000). Signed by Johnson and notated "World Series 1924", the ball was only one of three balls personally saved by the Washington Senators pitcher. A 1927 Babe Ruth and Brother Mathias (St. Mary's School for Boys) Dual Signed Baseball which connected the legend with his childhood guardian and mentor, the Prefect of Discipline at St. Mary's School, achieved $66,000 (lot 187, est. $20/30,000).
Another highlight of the sale was a Joe DiMaggio's 1941 New York Yankees World Championship Wristwatch from the DiMaggio Estate that commanded $78,000, almost four times its high estimate (lot 205, est. $15/20,000). Further, Henry Zimmerman's 1907 Chicago Cubs Championship Medallion fetched $54,000 (lot 51, est. $15/25,000). The top baseball card of the sale is a 1909-11 T206 White Border Eddie Plank PSA 6 (MC) EX-MT, which commanded $102,000 (lot 311, est. $40/60,000).
Jim Thorpe Letters and Personal Archive
Another highlight of the sale was a group of Fourteen (14) Letters from Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest and most versatile athletes in modern times, to Fiancé Freeda Kirkpatrick during the Summer of 1924 with Baseball Content, which sold for $39,000 (lot 351, est. $20/30,000). All of these letters were handwritten from Thorpe to Freeda and contain previously unknown information about Thorpe's challenging and at times lonely life on the road playing semi-professional baseball in Massachusetts. A second grouping contained Fourteen (14) Letters from Jim Thorpe to Wife Freeda Kirkpatrick from Late 1925 and Early 1926 with Superb Football Content and also sold for $39,000 (est. $20/30,000).
*Estimates do not include buyer's premium
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