News-Antique.com - Dec 21,2008 - Mastro Auctions, the world’s leading Sports and Americana auction house recently announced the results of the company’s second successful live sports auction of 2008. The event, held on December 8, 2008 at The Sports Museum of America in New York City, featured two sessions, “Legends of the Diamond” which offered over 80 premium lots of high-end baseball memorabilia and “Legends of the Gridiron” that presented over 250 Hall of Fame-associated pieces of football memorabilia. While there was solid bidding in both auction sessions, it was obvious that the appeal of baseball memorabilia coupled with the iconic status of Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth, even Christy Mathewson resulted in the most significant sale highlights. The auction proved conclusively that even in tough economic times, there is enduring value in baseball’s greatest legends.
“Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and heroes such as Christy Mathewson are big league players in every sense of the word when it comes to baseball memorabilia,” says Doug Allen, COO and President of Mastro Auctions. “The premier items associated with these players was a driving force behind the overall success of the Legends auction.”
The top performing baseball item in the auction was a Mickey Mantle 1958 New York Yankees World Series game worn road jersey that sold for $216,000. Mantle donned the jersey during game 2 of the 1958 World Series when he hit two home runs. Until its appearance in Mastro Auctions’ “Legends” live sale, the jersey had never before been sold with the acknowledgement that it was worn during World Series play. According to Doug Allen, COO and president of Mastro Auctions, this recently acquired “newness” of the jersey also contributed to the final price of the item. “Collectors pay for new ‘finds’,” said Allen. “The ability to attribute this jersey to Mantle World Series play for the first time creates a ‘wow’ factor that is difficult to resist.”
There were other Mickey Mantle items bidders found hard to pass up including his World Series home run ball #16 hit on October 1964. The ball that broke Babe Ruth’s record of 15 runs in October play sold for $96,000. Also impressive was the selling price of $66,000 for a Mickey Mantle 1951 H&B game used bat. The rare "L16" model was only ordered in Mantle’srookie season.
More “firsts” to the collecting public were to be found in items offered from a notable Babe Ruth collection. The Mastro Auctions “Legends” sale debuted pieces from the treasured Jimmy Donohue collection. For more than half a century, Jimmy Donohue’s restaurants were well-known eating establishments for New Jersey and New York VIPs. Donohue provided secluded, welcome retreats for the area’s most well-known residents. As a result, Donohue became fast friends with many of his famous patrons. One of the most notable and enduring bonds was with Babe Ruth. Over the years Ruth gifted Donohue with many personalized items that became prized, family-held possessions until they were consigned to Mastro Auctions in the fall of 2008.