NEW YORK, NY – The New York Yankees have won 27 World Championships to date, and Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali claimed the Heavyweight boxing title three times, each achievement a record unmatched in sports history. On Feb. 22, in New York, Heritage's "Platinum Night" auction will sell key artifacts of each respective historic first championship to the most determined collector.
Widely considered to be the most significant article of New York Yankees memorabilia ever to surface, the pocket watch presented to Babe Ruth for his contributions in claiming the franchise's first World Championship in 1923 is consigned to auction by the gentleman who bought it from Ruth's caddy in the late 1980's.
From the team's second Championship in 1927 through their most recent in 2009, rings have been awarded for winning the World Series, but the first of 27 team Championships was marked by an elegantly engraved gold pocket watch. Ruth's personal model was gifted to his friend Charles Schwefel, owner of the famed Gramercy Hotel in Manhattan. Schwefel's wife then passed the watch to her nephew, who often caddied for the Babe at St. Albans Country Club in Queens, NY.
"While a few 1923 Championship pocket watches have surfaced from lesser players and front office personnel, it was widely believed that Babe Ruth's had been lost," said Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage Sports Collectibles. "Learning that this wasn't true, that this extraordinarily piece still existed, was a great thrill, I can tell you. The pre-auction estimate is $750,000+, but it's truly a priceless artifact of Yankee history."
If there has been any figure in American sports as captivating as Babe Ruth, it was a brash, young boxer from Louisville, KY named Cassius Clay, better known to the sports world by his adopted name Muhammad Ali. Though he achieved some limited fame with a Gold Medal performance at the Rome Olympics in 1960, it wasn't until 1964 that he became a household name with his historic victory over a heavily favored Sonny Liston, the first of two meetings with the seemingly invincible powerhouse.
The boxing gloves Clay/Ali was wearing as he shocked the world in that February 1964 bout in Miami are expected to bring more than $250,000 on Feb. 22, just two days before the 50th Anniversary of the fight in which the legendary boxer earned his first of three Heavyweight Championships.
Another historic beginning is commemorated with the only known factory model bat from the arsenal of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, best remembered today as the biggest star of the 1919 Chicago White Sox to be banned for life from organized baseball for his participation in the throwing of that year's World Series.
The unique labeling format, as well as the factory side-writing on the bat, assigns use to Jackson's official debut season of 1911, one notable as the only Major League rookie campaign to record a batting average of .400 or better.
"This bat serves as a key piece of evidence for the many millions who believe that Jackson deserves enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame," said Ivy.
Other significant baseball bats on offer in this Platinum Night auction include one used by Babe Ruth during his first Yankees season of 1920 and Mickey Mantle's special model issued for the 1956 All-Star Game, the only Mantle bat that can be definitively attributed to the sole Triple Crown season of his career.
Other highlights on offer within the auction include:
1910 E98 'Set of 30' Ty Cobb (Black Swamp) - The Finest Example In The Hobby
Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world's third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.