Laguna Niguel, CA - The Bob Cousy Collection, billed as the largest personal player collection ever offered, headlined one of the most successful auctions ever conducted by SportsCards Plus. Celtic fans and basketball collectors clamored over an incredible array of awards, game used items, and personal effects gathered throughout Cousy's prolific career. The final numbers clearly prove that the "The Houdini of the Hardwood" still has plenty of magic left.
The Cousy Collection accounted for $455,641 of the auction's total gross of $1,431,938 and amounted to nearly twice as much as the 10-time All-Star earned during his entire NBA playing career. Cousy, whose playing days with the Celtics ended 40 years ago, long before athletes were millionaires, stated, "If someone had said 40 years ago, 'Save that stuff because someday you'll get half a million dollars for it,' I would have said, 'Take this guy away, he's looney tunes.' I'm just pleased for our daughters."
Cousy, 75, and his wife, Missy, decided to auction his memorabilia kept in their basement to raise money for their two-schoolteacher daughters and two grandchildren. Among the 150-plus Cousy lots were some of the most important basketball artifacts ever to be offered publicly. Some of the highlights included Cousy's 1952 NBA All-Star Uniform ($11,205), 1957 League MVP Trophy ($51,673), 1957 Celtics Championship Ring ($27,179), the Game Ball Used to Garner His 5000th Career Assist ($11,132), a John F. Kennedy Signed Photo "to Bob Cousy" ($25,300), his Last Game Ball used versus the Lakers in the 1963 Championship Game ($6,326), and his Hall of Fame Induction Ring ($19,134).
Other items that drew lots of attention included a selection of items related to his 1996 selection as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, including his personal (#Cousy 1/1) 50 Greatest Signed Lithograph ($86,940), custom Hamilton Leather Jacket ($5,553), and 50 Greatest Players Ring ($13,558). Numerous mementos from his memorable 1963 "Bob Cousy Day" retirement ceremony included his Engraved Cigar Humidor from Celtics Teammates ($5,415), 1963 Boston Celtics Team Signed 'Court' Table ($3,732), and a Set of 15 Custom Presentation Plaques Received from The Celtics ($10,830).
Dan Imler, SportsCards Plus Auction Director, described the Cousy results as "very strong overall." Imler states, "We had high expectations from the start, but some of the individual items still really surprised us." According to Imler, the final price of $51,673 for Cousy's 1957 MVP Trophy is the highest price ever paid for any basketball trophy. Additionally, the Hall of Fame Ring ($19,133), and 50 Greatest Lithograph ($86,940) are also said to be auction records.
SCP's November 20th Auction also featured significant memorabilia collections directly from the estates of other Hall of Fame legends such as Tony Lazzeri, and a follow-up offering of items from the Honus Wagner Collection that was part of their previous August '03 auction. New York Yankees legendary Hall of Fame second baseman, "Poosh 'em Up" Tony Lazzeri, was represented by over 40 items, including his personal collection of team signed baseballs, signed photos, and game used equipment.
Among the top performing items were high-grade Yankees team balls from 1932 (World Champs!) - $23.463, 1936 (World Champs!) - $7,337, 1937 (World Champs!) - $7,395, and 1955 (NL Champs!) - $3,827. The incredible selection of signed photos was well received, including examples personalized to Lazzeri from Babe Ruth ($3,795), Lou Gehrig ($13,215), Ty Cobb ($1,530), and Jimmie Foxx ($2,709). A Large 1936 Yankees Photo Signed by Seven incl. DiMaggio, Gehrig & Lazzeri brought $6,958. Game used equipment from the famed member of the Yankees revered "Murderer's Row" lineup includes his Cap ($6,164), Fielder's Glove ($13,899), Flannel Pants ($5,000), and Cleats ($1,530).
The second offering of items from the estate of Honus Wagner included his 1909 World Series Pin. The pin, described by Imler as, "One of the most historic pieces of baseball jewelry ever offered" realized $53,538. Another marquee Wagner item was a magnificent 10 ½" tall sterling silver "Honus Wagner Day" Loving Cup that brought $31,050.
The balance of the memorabilia portion of the auction featured several other Hall of Fame caliber items including a Christy Mathewson Game Used Glove from the Mathewson Estate ($32,764), a supremely rare 1902 (First) Rose Bowl Program ($35,520), a 1922-25 Babe Ruth Game Used Bat ($34,687), a Spectacular Babe Ruth Single Signed Baseball w/Original Box ($21,836), and a Jim Brown 1957 Rookie of The Year Trophy ($10,572).
As usual, SportsCards Plus's November Auction included a vast array of quality cards that generated vigorous bidding competition. Topping the list of high-end cards was a remarkable 1909-11 T206 Eddie Plank graded PSA 7 NM that realized a record price of $93,661. Other notable offerings include a 1914 Cracker Jack #30 Ty Cobb PSA 8 NM-MT ($30,938), 1933 Goudey #170 Harry McCurdy PSA 8 NM-MT ($4,807), 1933 Sport Kings #15 Reggie McNamara PSA 8 NM-MT ($7,449), 1933 Goudey #119 Rogers Hornsby PSA 8 NM-MT ($4,592), and a spectacular 1951 Bowman Baseball Complete PSA Graded Set ($39,140).
SportsCards Plus will follow up this highly successful auction event with another major auction scheduled for April, 2004. The company is actively seeking consignments for this sale. For more information on SportsCards Plus and their auctions please visit www.sportscardsplus.com or call 1-800-350-2273.