With Major League Baseball playoffs season in full swing, Christie’s hopes to bat a thousand on October 19 and 20 with its two-day auction the Golden Age of Baseball, Selections from the National Pastime Museum. The New York auction features 485 lots—the most comprehensive assortment of the sport’s memorabilia to go on the block in more than 15 years.
Culled from the National Pastime Museum (an online exhibition sourced from a private collection), the assortment on offer has been divided into two parts, one dedicated to historical artifacts (including game equipment, letters, and contracts) and the other to photography. Also in the mix are important items from the former Negro Leagues as well as ones reflecting Cuba’s contribution to the game.
Prized pieces include a handwritten letter from iconic pitcher Cy Young (estimated at $8,000 to $10,000), the ball that Pittsburgh Pirate Fred Clarke caught to end the 1909 World Series (estimated at $10,000 to $15,000), and an original 1907 printing of History of Colored Base Ball by Sol White (estimated at $15,000 to $20,000). But the heaviest of hitters promises to be a bat used by Jackie Robinson during the Brooklyn Dodger’s World Championship season in 1955 (estimated at $300,000 to $400,000) and another swung by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (estimated at $500,000 to $700,000).
As a preview, select highlights of the collection will be on display at the Jules Maeght Gallery in San Francisco (from October 10 through 13) before being exhibited at Christie’s in New York up until the day of the event. The live auction will begin at 10 am both mornings with bids accepted in-person or online.
Whether one of these items will top the all-time standings in price, however, is yet to be seen. The most expensive baseball collectible to date is Babe Ruth’s 1920 New York Yankees jersey that sold through SCP Auctions for over $4.4 million in 2012. (christies.com)