Jackie Robinson rookie jersey, Norman Rockwell’s Tough Call highlight banner year for world’s largest sports auctioneer
DALLAS, Texas (Jan. 11, 2018) – Setting multiple industry records, Heritage Auctions’ Sports Department ended 2017 with more than $63 million in auction revenues, with total annual sales in excess of $100 million, including private sales.
“We are very proud to be the first sports collectibles auctioneer to post a nine-figure annual sales total,” Sports Auction Director Chris Ivy said. “It’s a tribute to the enduring strength of the hobby and our unrivaled ability to connect with a global audience of sophisticated collectors. We are enjoying a hot seller’s market right now, and we are both humbled and grateful for the consignors and buyers that have helped to establish Heritage as the industry leader.”
Leading the way was the 1947 Jackie Robinson Game-Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Rookie “Color Barrier” Jersey, MEARS A9, which brought $2,050,000 – a new record for any sports item with Heritage Auctions. The jersey commemorates the start of the Major League career of the 1947 Rookie of the Year who opened the door for the integration of baseball.
Meanwhile, a 1948 Original Study for “Tough Call” by Norman Rockwell – Gifted to Legendary Umpire “Beans” Reardon, drew $1,680,000. Crafted for the April 23, 1949, cover of The Saturday Evening Post, this oil-on-paper study represents a truer version of Rockwell’s intent than the famous final version, which resides in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The year’s total revenue includes more than $5 million in sales through Heritage’s Make Offer to Owner Program, through which collectors may acquire lots previously sold at auction.
High-grade cards, game-worn jerseys and unique memorabilia dominated the top 10 lots. Highlights include:
- $2,050,000: 1947 Jackie Robinson Game-Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Rookie “Color Barrier” Jersey, MEARS A9
- $1,680,000: 1948 Original Study for “Tough Call” by Norman Rockwell – Gifted to Legendary Umpire “Beans” Reardon
- $870,000: 1937 Lou Gehrig Game-Worn New York Yankees Jersey – Photo Matched
- $660,000: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA NM-MT 8
- $552,000: 1916 M101-5 Blank Back (Sporting News) Babe Ruth Rookie #151 PSA NM 7
- $486,000: 1968 Mickey Mantle Game-Worn New York Yankees Jersey Attributed to 535th Home Run
- $480,000: 1924 Lou Gehrig-Signed New York Yankees Rookie Contract
- $432,000: 1954 Mickey Mantle Game-Worn New York Yankees Jersey, MEARS A9
- $432,000: 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb #30 PSA Mint 9
- $408,000: 1920 Babe Ruth Game-Used Bat from the Louisville Slugger Traveling Exhibition, PSA/DNA GU 10
Visit Heritage Auctions’ website, HA.com.