Baseball afficianados and collectors everywhere have the opportunity to own a piece of the National Pastime’s history during a two-day auction at Christie’s in New York on October 19-20.
The international auction house best known for its elaborate art sales, is auctioning a comprehensive and awe-inspiring collection of rare memorabilia and photos from The National Pastime Museum and an anonymous collector, valued between an estimated $5 million and $10 million — which brings the largest assortment of baseball collectibles to Christie’s in over 15 years.
Spanning 130 years from baseball’s inception until the modern era, the collection impresses with a jaw-dropping 485 lot. Items up for bid include one-of-a-kind vintage photos, game-used bats, contracts, trading cards, and letters from scores of iconic figures, including: Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, Joe DiMaggio, Adrian “Cap” Anson, Roberto Clemente, Lizzy Stride, and even contemporary great, Derek Jeter. It’s sure to make an impression on the casual fan and may even bring tears to the eyes of a few die-hards. (Oh, there’s plenty of crying in baseball.)
It would be a huge mistake to write-off the auction as just something for baseball enthusiasts. Those who appreciate history and the exploration of race and gender in sports will also be drawn to the collection. Original artifacts from several Negro League teams, prominent women in baseball, and Cuban league baseball legends can also be found in the lot.
Those who wish to own a piece of history won’t even have to cough up a mint. Auction prices start between $300-$500 for a few photos and memorabilia. On the contrary, anyone who has their heart set on scoring the top item — an official “Shoeless” Joe Jackson bat, used by the infamous Chicago White Sox outfielder who was banned from baseball for his involvement in throwing the 1919 World Series in the Black Sox Scandal — will have to back up a Brinks truck and drop an estimated $500,000-$700,000 for the chance to call it their own.
I had the opportunity to preview the collection with Christie’s consultant and famed pop culture specialist and appraiser, Simeon Lipman, best known from his appearance on the PBS network’s Antiques Roadshow, and he provided insight on what makes the collection so exciting in the video below:
The entire lot can be viewed in person at the Rockefeller Center Christie’s headquarters until October 18 or online at www.christies.com/baseball.
Photos: Christie’s/Videos: The Sportstyle