Legendary Auctions, a leading Sports and Americana auction house, announced that the recent sale of The Bill Mastro Collection substantially exceeded pre- sale estimates and set a new record. A signed original handprint of Babe Ruth was sold for a price that would make most peoples’ palms sweat. The unique, mint condition handprint sold for $222,000, more than doubling all previous auction records for a sports item signed by an athlete. (To date, only signed game used items have eclipsed this lofty amount.)
According to Doug Allen, President & CEO of Legendary Auctions, bidding on the handprint was heated, and extended well into the early morning hours with several engaged collectors. “There is no secret to the item’s appeal,” said Allen. “Everyone who views the handprint is compelled to place their own hand over it. This is as close to the Babe and that era of baseball history as a collector can get.” In addition, Allen noted, “the record price is a testament to the fact that
regardless of the soft economy, great items still achieve great prices.”
The origin of the handprint dates to July, 1934. Palm reader Alice Denton Jennings published an article in an issue of Baseball Magazine entitled “The Hand of George Herman Ruth: A Character Analysis of the Famous Babe’s Paw.” Her in-depth decoding of his handprint confirmed traits of powerful leadership, superior sportsmanship and keen observation. Jennings personally obtained the print from Ruth, and it was utilized as the visual centerpiece for the article.
The handprint was one of more than 800 lots included in the sale and while it certainly captured the auction spotlight, it was not the only item to shine. The Bill Mastro Collection was one of the hobby’s most noted collections of all time. Comprised primarily of iconic pieces of Sports memorabilia, the collection ranked among the world’s most prestigious in terms of both condition and display appeal.
“It should come as no surprise that The Bill Mastro Collection generated extraordinary results at auction,” said Allen. “The quality and pristine condition of the items in his collection truly make them one-of-a-kind.”
Additional top performing lots from the Bill Mastro Collection included:
• A 1927 Barnstorming Advertising Poster – the Only Known Example – sold for $78,000;
• A Babe Ruth 1916-1922 H & B Game Used Bat went for $75,000;
• A Boston Red Sox World Champions 1915 Panorama Featuring Babe Ruth – PSA DNA Authentic Type 1 – commanded $57,000;
• A Babe Ruth 1927 Signed Yankees Payroll Check Issued and Cashed the day of His 60th Home Run – PSA DNA Mint 9 – went for $51,000;
• A “Tour of Japan” 1934 Team Signed Ball – PSA DNA NM-MT 8 – with Original Tamazawa Box sold for $42,000;
• A Bustin’ Babes and Larrupin Lous 1927 Barnstorming Panorama – PSA DNA Authentic Type 1 – went for $33,000;
• An Unused 1890s Spalding Fingerless Fielder’s Glove – the Finest Example Known – commanded $33,000;
• A Babe Ruth “Home Run Special” 1920s Single Signed Ball – PSA DNA NM-MT 8 – sold for $33,000;
• A Babe Ruth 1920s “Sporting News” Die-Cut Advertising Sign went for $28,800;
• A Classic Ted Williams Rookie 1939 Charles Conlon Photograph – PSA DNA Authentic Type 1 – commanded $25,500;
• A 1914 Philadelphia Athletics World Series Pin sold for $21,600;
• A Babe Ruth “Starting His Mighty Swing” Paul Thompson Photograph – PSA DNA Authentic Type 1 – went for $18,000;
• A Babe Ruth “Finishing His Mighty Swing” Paul Thompson Photograph – PSA DNA Authentic Type 1 – went for $12,000;
• An Iconic 1971 “Joe Sofa” by Poltronova went for $15,600;
• A Ted Williams Rookie-Era Signed Burke Studio Photograph – PSA DNA Gem Mint 10 went for $10,800.
For information on any of the items from The Bill Mastro Collection or to consign in an upcoming Legendary Auctions event, call 708-889-9380 or go to www.legendaryauctions.com. Consignments for the February premium auction event and the industry-leading Live Auction event held each summer are currently being accepted.
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