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Heritage Sports Collectibles May Signature Auction Realizes Record Prices

Heritage Sports Collectibles (HSC) Signature Sports auction, held May 14, 2005 in Dallas, realized $2,018,244 with 602 lots sold.

"We had very high expectations leading up to the sale," explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage Galleries, "but I don't think anybody could have anticipated some of the tremendous prices realized. In every field, whether autographs, memorabilia or cards, we saw pre-sale estimates doubled, tripled or better."

Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage Galleries, echoed Ivy's sentiments, adding "Some of the lots turned the auction room into a scene from the New York Stock Exchange-hands waving, paddles flying, people shouting. There was definitely a serious case of 'auction fever' happening on Saturday afternoon. It was quite a spectacle."

"The headliner of this auction was clearly the 1954 Mickey Mantle game worn jersey," continued Ivy. "With its fabulous, unaltered condition, very strong wear, and even a perfect blue sharpie autograph in the collar, the jersey was basically unimprovable. It's the second Mantle jersey in as many Heritage Signature auctions that we've sold for six figures, and we're thrilled with the $119,500 sale price for our latest offering."

Other highlights of the sale included:

The Finest 1951 New York Yankees Team Signed Baseball Known, PSA Mint 9.
The OAL (Harridge) sphere remains all but untouched by the passing of fifty-four years since its creation, with the pale horsehide of its surface mellowing only a fraction of a shade from its original brilliance. The autographs themselves, all twenty-six of them, are comparably free of signs of aging, looking for all the world as if they were signed only minutes ago. DiMaggio's gorgeous signature finds its proper home on the sweet spot, as the nineteen-year old Mantle pays his dues as one of the masses on a side panel. Among his teammates present: Berra, Houk, Rizzuto, Dickey, Burdette, Mize, McDougald (1951 ROY), Reynolds, Lopat and Stengel. Not a single signature falls below 9/10 in boldness and legibility. "It is one of just a tiny handful of post-war team signed baseballs to top $20,000 at auction," noted Ivy, "and this one did it by a wide margin."

1958 Cassius Clay Golden Gloves Fight Worn Trunks.
A full six years before Cassius Clay wrested the title of Heavyweight Champion from the grip of underworld goon Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Hall, the boy who would be "The Greatest" suited up in these white satin trunks as he battled to a victory in the Light Heavyweight division of the Chicago Golden Gloves Championships on March 5, 1958. Though his greatest amateur achievement would come two years later as he claimed the Light Heavyweight Gold Medal at the Rome Olympic Games, this 1958 Golden Gloves win was his first real taste of boxing glory, a fact that he proudly noted with his black ink inscription on the right leg, reading, "To Mary From Cassius Clay, Champ! 1958." This autograph is obviously one of the earliest known from Ali, if not the very earliest, bar none. It remains in strong 8/10 condition in terms of boldness.

1954 Warren Spahn Game Worn Jersey.
This absolutely magnificent road grey flannel gamer stands as the finest Spahn jersey ever to reach the auction block, meriting an unbeatable rating of A10 from the knowledgeable staff of SCD Authentic. It was acquired directly from Spahn by the Milwaukee Braves switchboard operator, whose son later served as bat boy for the Braves from 1958 to 1961. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the highest price ever realized for a Warren Spahn jersey," noted Ivy.

1960's Roberto Clemente Single Signed Baseball, PSA Mint 9.
"No superlative could adequately capture just how spectacular this ball is," noted Ivy, "though the label on the hermetically sealed cube reading PSA Mint 9 should begin to tell the tale. It's definitely a piece for the collector who demands nothing but the very best. Even with its personalization, it set a world's record for Clemente singles, and by a wide margin."

1952 Bowman Large Football High-Grade Complete Set (144).
"I don't think that there's a card collector in the world that doesn't have Heritage locked firmly in his radar after this sale," joked Ivy. "And every collector that saw this set fell instantly and desperately in love with it. It's rare to see even a single '52 Large card in the sort of high-grade that is repeated over and over again in this remarkable set. I lost count of how many singles were here with populations under ten. It's far and away the highest price ever realized for this set at auction."

Despite this outstanding May auction, Heritage Sports has not been resting on it's laurels and has already built a strong foundation of rare and high-quality offerings for its upcoming September Signature auction. "Our next sale figures to be our strongest ever," predicts Ivy. "We want to keep the collecting community in suspense a little while longer, but let's just say that one of the nation's foremost collectors has consigned the bulk of his holdings to our September auction. The press coverage for the event is certain to be very heavy, so potential consignors couldn't pick a better time to join this epic sale with their high-quality consignments."

Heritage Galleries, with annual sales exceeding $300 million, is the world's largest collectibles auctioneer, handling rare coins, sports collectibles, currency, comic books, vintage movie posters, Hollywood & music memorabilia, illustration art, antique silver, and Americana. For more information about Heritage, please visit or for more information about this current Signature Sports Auction, please visit

HSC specializes in rare and collectible sports cards, as well as uniforms, equipment, and related vintage sports memorabilia. Consignments for future Signature Sports Auctions are currently being accepted. Prospective consignors or sellers of quality vintage sports cards and sports memorabilia are encouraged to contact:

Chris Ivy at 800-872-6467 Ext. 319 or email:
Sam Foose at 800-872-6467 Ext. 227 or email:
Stephen Carlisle at 800-872-6467 Ext. 292 or email:
Jonathan Scheier at 800-872-6467 Ext. 314 or email

To order the next Heritage Sports Collectibles Signature catalog, contact Nicole Jewell, or write c/o Heritage Sports Collectibles, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219.

Source: Heritage Sports Collectibles
Date: May 24, 2005

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