Published: February 10, 2004
MastroNet, Inc recently closed the most successful multiconsignment sports and Americana auction in its history. At $10.2 million, the event eclipsed the previous auction record of just under $9.2 million set by MastroNet in November 2000.
William Mastro, chief executive officer of MastroNet, credits his company’s continued success and growth to a number of related factors. “There can be no doubt left that MastroNet offers the best collectibles available in the industry, period,” he said. “We have refined the auction process to an art form and work effortlessly to improve results, service and the overall experience for both buyers and sellers. There simply is no better place for consignors and collectors to meet than in a MastroNet auction.”
Highlights of the auction include a 1926 Sesquicentennial $2.50 golf commemorative coin. The coin is the second of only two gold commemoratives of this denomination ever produced, and is the only one of the two produced to ever to be authenticated or graded. Issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, business strikes were sold at the Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1926. The coin sold for $194,736.
The infamous Chicago Cubs foul ball was another highlight. The dispute continues whether this baseball, tipped off the hands of Cubs’ fan Steve Bartman, really caused the Cubs 2003 season to head south. The fate of the fabled ball is no longer questioned, however. A Chicago restaurant purchased the baseball for promotional purposes after a bidding war with two other parties. The restaurant plans to destroy the baseball along with the notorious Cubs “curse” in late February. The final price for this unique piece of sports history was $106,600.
“Sailing The Spanish Main,” an original Carl Barks oil painting, commanded $93,666. Barks was one of the most prolific Disney artists of all time. His development of Donald Duck and his creation of such characters as Uncle Scrooge, McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, The Beagle Boys and Gladstone Gander expanded the duck universe for two generations of comic readers.
A 1909-11 T206 white border Honus Wagner card, graded 10 Poor 1 by SGC, commanded 26 bids despite its shortcomings. The legend of the T206 Wagner continues and its appeal only seems to intensify. The card sold for $90,199.
Tying for the sixth top lot in the sale was Biographies and Autographs of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence in three large bound volumes, which also brought $82,599. In the centuries since their names appeared on the most important document in US history, the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence have comprised arguably the most sought-after and desirable signature set for advanced autograph collectors. Peter H. Brandt assembled his remarkable near set of letters, documents and partial-page signatures into a three-volume, leather-bound, gilt-embossed set of tomes.
There were three lots tied for seventh place. Emmitt Smith’s record breaking rushing ball, carried to surpass Walter Payton as the all-time leading rusher in NFL history, set its own record – the highest price paid for a game used football – $58,139. Smith will donate to charity 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sale.
Action Comics #1 – the first appearance of Superman — 1938, also tied for seventh top lot. It is a keystone in the comic book collectibles industry. Just 30 years ago, collectors mocked a fellow collector who paid $5,000 for a copy of Action Comics #1. No one is laughing now.
Selling for $56,671 was a 1934 Goudey low number uncut sheet with Jimmy Foxx and 12 additional Hall of Famers.
Ted Williams’ 1960 final season Boston Red Sox home flannel jersey struck a final price of $52,854. And a “50 Greatest Players” autographed lithograph, a 25- by 39-inch piece displaying the likenesses of all 50 NBA legends and, remarkably, 49 of the 50 signatures (Pete Maravich, deceased at the time of printing, is the only missing autograph), commanded $51,519.
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