Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Williams memorabilia items fetch big money at auction
Posted Apr 28, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated Apr 28, 2012 at 07:50 PM
The bids have been made, and the amount of money changing hands is staggering. Here is an update on that Ted Williams memorabilia auction that took place Saturday at Fenway Park.
I figured I would share an update on the winning bids for the most interesting or intriguing items that were on the block in the auction conducted by Hunt Auctions (http://huntauctions.com). I do not have a final figure as to how much money was made, or how much of it will go to The Jimmy Fund, but it is going to be a big amount.
The amounts I am quoting are winning bids, unless the buyer’s premium also was announced. In case you are not familiar with the buyer’s premium, here is the definition: it’s basically a charge levied by the auction house, which is paid by the buyer in addition to the “hammer” price.
Williams’ 1949 American League Most Valuable Player Award, sold for $260,000, and the buyer’s premium (somewhere in the neighborhood of 14.5 percent) pushed the price up to $299,000. The Silver Slugger bat Williams was awarded to signify his winning the 1957 A.L. batting title — his sixth and final batting title of a career that saw him average .344 — had a winning bid of $170,000 ($195,500 after factoring in the buyer’s premium). That was the same price that an autographed baseball, personally inscribed to Williams from Babe Ruth, sold for.
A “Sultan of Swat” crown presented to Williams after his 1957 A.L. batting title went for $200,000 (boosted to $230,000 after the premium was added on). And the baseball used to throw out the first pitch in the first major-league game played at Fenway Park, on April 20, 1912, also went for six figures—$172,500 after the buyer’s premium ($150,000 in the actual auction). That item was not part of Williams’ collection of memorabilia.
A baseball autographed by five men who batted .400 or higher in a season—Williams, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, George Sisler and Bill Terry—sold for $55,000. Williams’ AL championship ring from 1946 fetched $34,000.
A Visa credit card belonging to Williams went for $1,200, while a canceled $250 check Williams wrote to hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr (endorsed on the back of the check by Orr) brought $1,900.
Williams’ collection was donated by his daughter, Claudia. It was quite an array of memorabilia.
And a huge chunk of change made collectors happy and will go a long way toward helping Williams’ favorite charity.