Published: December 12, 2000
Sports and Entertainment Memorabilia Reap $1.7 Million Online at Leland’s
Sports auction house Leland’s took the leap online December 7 and 8 when for the first time bidders could see the previous high bid and enter bids via the Internet.
Joshua Leland Evans, the auction house’s chairman and founder, called the auction a “major success,” as his staff fielded bids from computers, fax machines and telephones. The event was entirely by Internet, phone and fax, with no live bidding. More than 80 percent of the lots sold, for a $1.7 million take.
Also, about half the lots in this “Sports and Entertainment Auction” were from the pop culture and entertainment fields, more than usual for Leland’s.
“This was the first auction for Leland’s in which nearly half the lots came from the entertainment and pop culture worlds,” says Leland’s spokesman Marty Appel. “This will be a new and strong division for Leland’s, and the results of the first major outreach in this area were tremendous. It takes time to develop client lists for a new field, but for a first effort, it looks as though this will be a major area for Leland’s growth.”
That area, he says, is managed by Marc and Debra Zakarin, who came to Leland’s with “tremendous” contacts.The top lot, though, was from the sports arena. A Lou Gehrig contract, signed on March 10, 1933, for his 1934 Triple Crown season, far exceeded its reserve of $10,000, garnering $49,301 (including the buyer’s commission). Appel notes that the $23,000 Gehrig received for this season would be equivalent to about two innings’ pay for a top player today.
Other sports highlights included Johnny Unitas’ last Baltimore Colts’ jersey, selling for $30,560, and a signed “Bustin’ Babes and Larrupin Lou” photo signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, for $20,372. A collection of five Atlanta Braves championship rings from 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999 sold for $16,837. And a true Babe Ruth fan, no doubt, paid $5,357 for a personal spittoon signed by the Babe.
There wasn’t a fan generous enough, however, to take home the “unique” baseball signed by both Ruth and Gehrig “seemingly done while flirting with a 30ish girl,” according to Leland’s, which carried a reserve of $35,000.
The entertainment portion of the catalog was headlined by the sale, for $31,625, of 16 black and white negatives from a set of 17 of the Beatles, taken by Albert Marrion, shortly after the group was signed by Brian Epstein. Leland’s set a reserve of $25,000 for this “major historic find,” which depicts John Lennon and Paul McCartney at age 20,George Harrison at 18 and the group’s original drummer, Pete Best. One of these images was used on the cover of the Beatles’ Anthology album. Leland’s could not yet reveal the buyer’s identity.
A related rdf_Description, a vest worn by Paul McCartney in a 1964 BBC special, drew $11,932. Also, Dave Ruffin’s 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trophy sold for $18,045 and issue #1 of Mad Magazine garnered $6,507.
Sports and entertainment rdf_Descriptions may have fared well in this auction, but a mix of politics and entertainment did not.
A saxophone from one of President Clinton’s 1993 inaugural balls, signed by the president and Vice President Al Gore, as well as by Fleetwood Mac members Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, failed to meet its $15,000 reserve.
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