LOS ANGELES – Over 400 historic sports artifacts from Atlanta physician and collector Goodman Basil Espy III hit the auction block on Thursday, Nov. 14, Julien’s Auctions billed the auction as a Southern Gentleman’s Collection: The Personal Property of Goodman Basil Espy III, M.D. The event also included the sale of his spectacular 150 lot collection of items from the life and career of Marilyn Monroe, as well as vintage radios, walking canes, first edition classic novels and many other fine collectibles from his vault. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The top moment of the event was the sale of baseball legend Babe Ruth’s 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers coaching uniform (above) worn in his final official major league appearance which sold for $187,500.
Other top-selling items from the Babe included four signed baseballs by the Sultan of Swat that sold between $16,000 and $21,875 each as well as two baseballs he signed with teammate Lou Gehrig that sold for $21,875 and $11,520; Babe Ruth’s 1939 presentation award ($12,500) and more.
A unique baseball ball that commemorated the brief union of another Yankee great with Hollywood’s most glamorous star – signed by both Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe – during their brief and tumultuous marriage in 1954-55- sold for $137,500.
Items associated with legendary Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig were winners including Gehrig’s signed 1933 major league contract which sold for $131,250, well above its original estimate of $80,000; a rare 1934 signed Goudey trading card #61 signed by Gehrig which sold for $34,375, three times its original expected price of $10,000; a 1930s signed baseball by Gehrig that sold for $53,125 (estimate $20,000-$40,000) and more. Another Yankee hero, Mickey Mantle, also scored big on the auction block with his 1960 World Series game-worn New York Yankees jersey selling for $121,600.
Other highlights with their winning bids are Hank Aaron’s 1974 Atlanta Braves Jersey ($70,400); an Earle Combs 1928 World Champions presentation wristwatch ($37,500); Charlie Gehringer’s 1934 U.S. Tour of Japan jersey ($76,800); a Ty Cobb signed baseball ($10,000); Casey Stengel’s 1962 Mets coaching jersey ($64,000); and Mike Eruzione’s 1980 Team USA hockey jersey ($41,600).
Several fascinating and provocative items connected to the Hollywood screen goddess, Marilyn Monroe, were also some of the evening’s auction highlights including: Monroe’s U.S. Army jacket presented to her while in Korea ($44,800); Monroe’s signed model release in 1949 for what would become one of the most famous calendars of all time ($37,500) and a Monroe signed baseball ($19,200).