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Feel like picking up a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth? Or one of Shoeless Joe's game-used bats?
Mastro Auctions, the Burr Ridge-based consignor of sports memorabilia and Americana collectibles, is hosting its second annual live auction at ESPN Zone on Friday, August 1. The 95 sports-related lots on offer--including a 1909-'11 T206 Honus Wagner, considered the "holy grail" of sports cards--opened for bid by Internet, phone, and proxy yesterday.
This is Mastro's only live auction all year, and like the company's three annual "premier" auctions, where the average lot goes for about $5,000, this one's for high rollers. The minimum bid on the cheapest lot is $2,500, and 19 lots start at $20,000 or more. Don't expect to see a copy of that 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card you've been holding onto. But if you wish you'd caught the Kid's 600th home run ball, now's your chance to chase it--the starting bid is just $24,000. (Low rollers might consider one of Mastro's three annual "classic" auctions, where the average lot goes for about $1,500. The next one is in October.)
The live auction is intended for serious bidders only, in part since the capacity in the second-floor room where it's being held is just 300. But if you want to attend, you can register with Mastro and be prepared to make a $100 donation at the door; proceeds will benefit Derrek Lee's 1st Touch Foundation. (The Cubs' first baseman won't be attending the event, but he has donated several game-used and autographed items, sales of which will also benefit 1st Touch.)
The restaurant's serving a dinner buffet at 7 PM, and the auction is at 8:30 PM. Only phone and in-person bids will be accepted. The auctioneer is Mastro's Nicholas Dawes, who's also an appraiser for the TV program Antiques Roadshow.
Here are the Chicago-related items in the auction (in addition to the Derrek Lee items mentioned above):
Babe Ruth game-used bat, 1920, personally obtained by White Sox player Buck Weaver
Shoeless Joe Jackson game-used bat, 1916-'17
Buck Weaver game-used bat, 1911-'15, the "only known example" from his professional career
1915 E145-2 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson, "Near-Mint"
Joe Tinker signed letter to the MLB Hall of Fame, 1948
Joe Jackson photograph by Charles Conlon, 1915, "one of the earliest images" of the player (pictured below)
And here are some other highlights of the auction:
1909-'11 T206 White Border Honus Wagner, graded PSA 5 "Excellent" (pictured below)
Lou Gehrig game-worn jersey, 1938 (his final season) (pictured below)
Wilt Chamberlain's MVP trophy, 1959-'60 (his rookie season)
Signed contracts for the 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton boxing match
The "first" football card, 1888 N162 Goodwin "Champions" Ed Beecher, "Near-Mint/Mint"
Fingerless baseball gloves, late 1870s/early 1880s (pictured below)