Circa-1933 Lou Gehrig jersey tops auction lineup at Grey Flannel
WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – A circa-1933 game-used home jersey worn by the New York Yankees’ immortal Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, tops an all-star lineup of sports apparel, equipment and memorabilia in Grey Flannel’s Holiday Auction, with absentee bids accepted now through Dec. 9.
While a fatal illness forced Lou Gehrig to retire in 1939 at the age of 36, his monumental achievements as a hitter and first baseman live on in the history books, with a career record of 23 grand slams that is still unchallenged. The first athlete ever to appear on a box of Wheaties, Gehrig is in a league of his own, and so is his game-worn apparel. His pinstriped Yankees home jersey offered by Grey Flannel is 100 percent original, with Gehrig’s long-retired number “4” on the back and the name “L. Gehrig” chain-stitched in red on the inside collar. Once part of the renowned Barry Halper Collection, the iconic jersey is entered in Grey Flannel’s auction with a $225,000 reserve. As is the case with all game-used jerseys auctioned by Grey Flannel, the Gehrig jersey is accompanied by a Grey Flannel Auctions Letter of Authenticity (LOA).
Another early game-used Yankees jersey dates to 1927-1930 and was worn by catcher Benny Bengough. The front of the jersey, which carries a $5,000 reserve, is emblazoned with the team name “YANKEES” in blue felt, while the name “Bengough” is embroidered in cursive inside the collar. The player number “42” appears in an identical style of stitching on the jersey’s front tail.
Jerseys worn by stars from the current world champion New York Yankees lineup are poised for the auction spotlight, as well. A 2009 pinstriped game-used home jersey from team captain Derek Jeter, who this year broke Lou Gehrig’s all-time record for hits by a New York Yankees player, features a Yankee Stadium Inaugural Season patch on the left sleeve and his player number “2” on the back. This coveted jersey, with photo match, commands a reserve of $10,000. A game-used road jersey from Jeter’s teammate, slugger Alex Rodriguez, is ornamented with both a “Yankee Stadium Final Season” and “2008 All-Star Game” patch, plus a black armband in memory of Yankees outfielder and broadcaster Bobby Murcer. A-Rod’s jersey has a $7,500 reserve. Both the Jeter and Rodriguez jerseys are accompanied by Yankees-Steiner LOAs.
Documenting an unforgettable World Series in 18K white gold is the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Championship ring with original box. On the left shank in raised relief is the phrase “Greatest Comeback in History 2004,” with a pair of red enameled Boston Red Sox “socks” beneath it. The ring is generously adorned with diamonds and rubies, as well as words and images symbolic of Boston. Reserve: $10,000.
Another premier lot is the 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants game-used flannel road uniform described by Grey Flannel’s experts as “absolutely gorgeous…one of the finest Mays flannels we have seen.” The uniform is accompanied by a Grey Flannel LOA, and Mays’ signature on the uniform pants has been verified by James Spence Authentication. Reserve: $10,000.
Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s 1969 St. Louis Cardinals game-used and autographed flannel road uniform features the pitcher’s surname “GIBSON” and player number “45” on the back in eye-catching red on navy blue felt. On the left sleeve is the Major League Baseball “100th Anniversary” patch. Gibson autographed the front of the jersey, adding the year “1969,” with verification by James Spence Authentication (JSA). Reserve: $10,000.
Ty Cobb might only have been remembered for his mean-spirited antics were it not for the fact that, along with Ted Williams, he was one of the greatest pure hitters in baseball history. The Baseball Hall of Fame charter inductee’s lifetime .367 batting average is still a standing record. Two important Cobb-related lots are entered in the sale, one of which is directly connected to the infamous “flying spikes” episode of 1947, in which Cobb sharpened the spikes of his shoes and cut the arm of an opponent, Philadelphia Athletics third baseman Frank Baker. In a hand-written letter to Joe Fisher (presumably a fan), Cobb elaborately explains his side of the story, blaming sports writers for exaggerating the circumstances surrounding “the so-called Baker spiking incident.” The two-page letter, written on personalized “Tyrus R. Cobb” stationery, is made even more desirable with the inclusion of an 8 by 10 inch black and white photo of the spiking incident, autographed and dated by Cobb. With an LOA from JSA, its reserve is $5,000.
Grey Flannel’s 869-lot Holiday Auction includes choice articles from all major sports. A remarkable limited-edition book titled XL Super Bowl The Opus documents 40 years of Super Bowl history, from 1967 to 2006. Exhaustively researched and lavishly produced, this leather-bound, gilt-edged edition with silk-covered presentation box contains 850 glossy pages and weighs an unbelievable 88 pounds. What makes the book extra special is the page of Super Bowl MVP autographs, with signatories including Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Chuck Howley, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman and many more. The book also features exclusive, never-before-seen Super Bowl images taken over 40 years by top sports photographers. There’s much more to know about this fully authenticated book, which is number 76 of an edition of 400. Read the full description in Grey Flannel’s catalog online. Reserve: $25,000.
Among the basketball items of note is a Dave DeBusschere New York Knicks game-used and autographed home jersey accompanied by multiple certifications, including a copy of a hand-signed LOA from DeBusschere himself, in which he states that he wore the jersey between the years 1969 and 1973. The late Dave DeBusschere was one of the most talented and feared power forwards ever to play in the NBA. His trim-style red, white and blue Knicks jersey is a connoisseur’s item and carries a reserve of $10,000.
Basketball Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, and if anyone deserved to drive a car like the 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III offered in Grey Flannel’s sale, it was Nate. The vehicle’s spaciousness and luxury appointments perfectly suited the genial giant known for his classy wardrobe and champagne lifestyle. With “NATE 42” California license plates and other custom features such as a sunroof and factory air to U.S. specifications, this regal set of wheels comes with Hollywood provenance, since its original owner was singer Glen Campbell. The Rolls-Royce was previously offered by Grey Flannel; this time it is entered with a lowered $30,000 reserve, which is below the appraised value. The lot includes a priceless bonus: dinner with Nate Thurmond, who will personally turn over the keys.
Also within the selection of re-offered items – mostly Americana and pop culture pieces that have been re-consigned – is a coin-operated “Laffin’ Sal” automaton that was once part of the old Playland Amusement Park in San Francisco. Through a robust interior speaker, Sal’s raucous recorded laughter was a familiar sound not only at Playland but also at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, where she famously joined other carnival attractions on the midway. Reserve: $2,500.
Making its Grey Flannel auction debut is a circa-1960 bathing suit that was personally owned and worn by Marilyn Monroe. The black cotton blend one-piece suit is a classic style with four buttons placed vertically down the front. The provenance accompanying the item is impeccable. It comes with an LOA from Monroe’s former personal secretary, May Reis, who was allowed by the Monroe Estate’s executor to select articles from the star’s wardrobe as mementos. The bathing suit has a $2,500 reserve.
Bidding in Grey Flannel’s 2009 Holiday Auction closes on Dec. 9. View the fully illustrated electronic catalog online at www.GreyFlannelAuctions.com. Printed catalogs are free to all registered bidders. For additional information, call 631-288-7800, ext. 228 or 223; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE