Hunt Auctions and Christie’s To Offer a Collection of Never-Before-Seen Baseball Memorabilia

Shreeya Maskey
Published on

On December 16th, 2020, Christie’s and Hunt Auctions will present a single-owner baseball collection that has remained “largely unknown” for over two decades. The auction will feature iconic players, teams, and moments of Major League Baseball from throughout the game’s history. The president of Hunt Auctions, David Hunt, confirmed that “a great number of the items within are being unveiled to the public for the very first time, including several which are the finest known examples of their medium.”

Lou Gehrig with Babe Ruth. Image courtesy of Christie’s.
Lou Gehrig with Babe Ruth. Image courtesy of Christie’s.

When Lou Gehrig signed his first contract with the New York Yankees in April of 1923, little did he know that he would one day be known as the “Iron Horse” for his skill as a first baseman. His endeavors in baseball not only led the team to six World Series titles but also established a record for playing 2,130 consecutive professional baseball games.

However, in June of 1939, Gehrig was diagnosed with a rare nervous system disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He had to retire the same year, ending the 2,130 game streak. Gehrig passed away from the disease in 1941.

1931 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees professional model home Jersey. Image courtesy of Christie’s.
1931 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees professional model home Jersey. Image courtesy of Christie’s.

In this auction, a jersey worn by Gehrig throughout the 1931 season is among the key lots (estimate: USD 500,000 – $1,000,000). With his name stitched in red, this flannel piece leads the Home Plate: A Private Collection of Important Baseball Memorabilia event.

Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era professional model baseball bat c. 1916-18.  Image courtesy of Christie’s.
Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Era professional model baseball bat c. 1916-18.  Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Almost ten years after his retirement, American baseball legend Babe Ruth was invited to swing the bat for a home run in the 1944 War Bond Game. While his first two swings hit the fence, the final swing hit the wall and cracked the bat. “Ole Babe doesn’t have it anymore,” Ruth remarked to the crowd. This baseball bat is available in the upcoming event (estimate: $500,000 – $1,000,000).

The Boston Red Sox-era cracked bat carries a unique history. It was first used by Ruth in the late 1910s. According to the lot description, the bat would later be presented to Ruth’s old friend Connie Mack, who gave it to the Philadelphia Athletics’ batboy, Frank Gara.

1909-11 T-206 Ty Cobb (Portrait, green background). Image courtesy of Christie’s.
1909-11 T-206 Ty Cobb (Portrait, green background). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Also coming to this live auction is a baseball card of Ty Cobb ($225,000 – $425,000). The piece shows a portrait of Cobb against a solid green background.

“I never could stand losing,” Cobb once said. “Second place didn’t interest me. I had a fire in my belly.” Recognized as one of the leading American Major League Baseball outfielders, Cobb would not accept defeat. His combined career score of 4,065 runs is the highest number produced by any major league player to date.

The baseball memorabilia auction begins at 2:00 PM EST on December 16th, 2020. Register to bid and view each of the lots on the Christie’s website.