Owner of Aaron’s 755th HR ball keeping low profile

With Hertiage Auction Galleries having offered $1 million in exchange for Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run, some in the hobby have wondered if Hank Aaron’s 755th home run ball will ever surface again on the auction circuit.

On Jan. 12, 1999, Connecticut portfolio manager Andrew Knuth purchased No. 755 in a Guernsey’s auction that also featured Mark McGwire’s 70th home run baseball. Knuth, who describes himself as an “investor” more than a collector, ponied up $650,000 for the ball from Aaron’s final roundtripper and has kept the ball in an undisclosed location that he described as “very safe” ever since.

Although Bonds is just 11 home runs away from establishing a new all-time home run record, Knuth said in a recent interview that he isn’t concerned about the possibility of the value of Aaron’s 755 ball decreasing if and when a new mark is established.

“I still think it’s a meaningful piece of baseball history,” Knuth said of No. 755. “I thought for a while that the Bonds situation would be a negative in terms of the value of the ball. But as things have started to unfold and the extreme negative publicity, if anything, Aaron’s ball will be the pre-steroid record ball.”

While opinions vary on how the Bonds situation will impact the market, several experts believe No. 755 is the most sought-after game-used ball in the industry.

“I personally believe that Bonds surpassing Hank Aaron will have little impact on the value of Hank Aaron’s 755 ball,” Mastro Auctions president Doug Allen said. “The 755 ball is arguably the most valuable game-used ball in the hobby. I believe it would sell for more than the $650,000 and may well reach the seven-figure mark.”

SCP Auctions president David Kohler feels Aaron’s 755 and Bonds’ 756 will be valued about the same when all is said and done. SCP Auctions sold the Bonds’ No. 700 home run baseball for $102,000.

“We believe that the Hank Aaron baseball from home run No. 755 is still worth in the neighborhood of $500,000-$600,000 based on the record being held as a “non-tainted” baseball,” Kohler said. “We believe that the 755 home run ball from Bonds will be worth around $100,000 and the record 756 ball will be approximately $400,000-$500,000. The most valuable ball will be Bonds’ last home run ball beyond 756 whenever he retires and it is determined that this is the last home run baseball. That ball will be worth $1 million in our opinion at a large auction firm such as ours.”

– Scott Fragale

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