Auction results: Sports

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship Ring RR Auction

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Above: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship Ring. Sold by RR Auction for $45,049.

First auction all about sports reaped great results

RR’s inaugural dedicated Sports auction saw enthusiastic bidding into the night, and record amounts of new-to-RR bidders. Here are the results.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”10195″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Buoyed by much anticipatory press from around the country, more than a dozen sports items reaped five-figure payouts for consignors. Many were attached to important stories from sports history – The only baseball championship ever won by the borough was represented in the sale of a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship Ring (main image), which was the top seller, garnering $45,049. Another item with a significant story was a 1966-68 Brian Piccolo game-worn Chicago Bears road jersey (graded MEARS A8). The tear-away shirt (at right) belonged to the football player who was the tragic inspiration for the film “Brian’s Song”; it achieved $25,200. A Babe Ruth signed baseball sold for $21,013; and the long-“cursed” Boston Red Sox continued their upward climb with another 21st century World Series 4-0 sweep win, as represented in a 2007 Boston Red Sox World Series Championship ring, which soared to $17,400.

PSA-graded baseball cards finished strongly, with individual cards and sets selling high, representing pre-1900s, pre- and post-war, Topps, Cracker Jack, tobacco and cabinet cards. The top-selling individual card in the auction was an 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug Ed Delahanty (graded PSA EX-MT 6), shown at right, which achieved $16,414. The most successful set was a 1909-1948 large pre-war collection (with two Babe Ruths), which went for $12,613.

Olympics memorabilia did well, with torches, winners’ medals and badges leading the category. The top item for Olympics was a Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics Torch, which garnered $19,327, followed by a Stockholm 1956 Summer Olympics Bronze Winner’s Medal that sold for $18,710, and several silver and gold winners’ medals. RR’s reputation for autograph items was represented in a candid vintage autograph photo of Muhammad Ali (which he signed as Cassius Clay), when the athlete was at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. The encapsulated image went for $10,161.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”9999″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_single_image image=”10194″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

The top 20 auction results

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship Ring – $45,049

1966-1968 Brian Piccolo Game-Worn Chicago Bears Road Jersey MEARS A8 – $25,200

Babe Ruth Signed Baseball – $21,013

Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics Torch – $19,327

Stockholm 1956 Summer Olympics Bronze Winner’s Medal – $18,710

2007 Boston Red Sox World Series Championship Ring – $17,400

1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug Ed Delahanty PSA EX-MT 6 – $16,414

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Signed Baseball – $16,371

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics Silver Winner’s Medal –$14,400

1909-1948 Large Pre-War Collection with two Babe Ruths – $12,613

1982 FIFA World Cup Gold Winner’s Medal – $12,294

Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Gold Winner’s Medal – $12,292

1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinets Jim O’Rourke PSA VG-EX 4 – $11,644

Muhammad Ali Signed Photograph – $10,161

Los Angeles 1932 Summer Olympics Team Athletics Jury Badge – $9,787

Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics Torch – $9,248

Jackie Robinson Autograph Letter Signed – $7,986

NY Yankees 1961 Signed Baseball – $7,918

1968 Topps #177 Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman PSA NM-MT+ 8.5 – $7,906

Jimmie Foxx Signed Baseball – $7,028[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10190″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_single_image image=”10189″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_single_image image=”10191″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]




Victor Niederhoffer Collection: 5 fast facts

ALS George Washington Brigadier General James Clinton May 22, 1779 Victor Niederhoffer Collection RR Auction

Above: Signature detail on a correspondence written by George Washington to Brigadier General James Clinton on May 22, 1779.
Part of the Victor Niederhoffer Collection, offered by RR Auction.

5 intriguing insights into Victor Niederhoffer and his enviable letter collection

Victor Niederhoffer is more than a well-known hedge fund manager, champion squash player, bestselling author and statistician. He is also a world-class collector. June 22-28, RR Auction will present more than 100 rare and incredible correspondences from his vast collection, as The Significant Letter Collection of Victor Niederhoffer.

Here are five fast facts about a fascinating man and his fascinating collection.


1: He literally wrote the book on being a Wall St. speculator.

Victor Niederhoffer is best known as a bold and tumultuously successful hedge fund manager. His book “The Education of a Speculator” is an amusing but clear-eyed memoir of his life to date, with “offbeat reminiscences and observations” and interesting analogies that relate to his Wall Street experiences.

Read a review of the book here.


2: He squashed the competition in sports, too.

Niederhoffer was a winning hardball squash player and is a member of the squash hall of fame. At 6’2” and sturdily built, Niederhoffer doesn’t look like a traditional athlete of the sport, and had never played squash when he entered Harvard University in 1960 (though handball was part of his Brighton Beach youth). After asserting it would be so, a year later he won the national junior title. By the time he graduated, Niederhoffer was the National Intercollegiate squash champion. He won the U.S. Nationals five times and three national doubles titles. In 1975, he defeated one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Sharif Khan, in the final of the North American Open (the only time that Khan failed to win the title in the 13-year period between 1969 and 1981).

Read a historic account of his rise at Harvard here.


3: Books dumped in the East River factored highly in his life.

“Books and letters have always been an important part of my family life,” Niederhoffer said. “My father was a policeman in the book publishing area of east New York. In those days, they didn’t sell their overstock – they dumped them in the East River. They hired policemen to do the unloading. My father was paid 50 cents an hour to dump them in the river; instead, he saved them. Our house of about 750 feet, plus wife and two children, had his book collection. The whole house and basement were lined with books.”


4: Bears and bulls dictated the growth of his collection.

As his career on Wall Street rocketed skyward, so did a desire to purchase items in which his interest was sparked in that book-crowded house of his childhood. “When I learned that books and letters were available, I started collecting at 25,” Niederhoffer said, noting he had “very eclectic interests.”

Soon enough, sellers knew he was interested in only the most significant works, and would bring him suggested purchases. “Each week, the sellers would come to my office. If I’d had a good week in the market, I’d use my entire winnings,” Niederhoffer said.

“I collected for about 20 years, buying most in the 1970s. I kept them in archival volumes and often looked at them with great longing and nostalgia. I gained a lot of happiness looking through them and sharing with my family,” Niederhoffer said.


5: Only the best will do for Victor Niederhoffer.

In his personal and professional life, Niederhoffer knows what he wants, and how he wants it. His personal motto of “Create Value” influences him to curate a collection that is unrivaled in quality. He only selects content-rich and historically vivid correspondences from the arenas of politics, science, sports, literature and more. “I tried to garner the best writing and significance the author could have, [that best displayed] the writer’s contributing to western civilization,” Niederhoffer said.

When you have many thousands of letters, [you want] them to come to life. I’m happy to sell my best letters because they’ll be the ones more interesting and valuable to those who can appreciate their significance. I never bought a letter just because of a signature, a name or to complete a set. It will be nice to find surrogates who will enjoy them now.”

The Significant Letter Collection of Victor Niederhoffer is now live for bidding, through June 28.


Featured items: Olympics memorabilia

RR’s inaugural Sports auction (June 14-21) features more than 150 items of Olympics memorabilia. Here are just a few highlights.

Dorando Pietri Olympics RR Auction
An original elaborate artist’s sketch commemorating the “Marathon Race” held at the London Olympics on July 24, 1908, autographed by Italian runner Dorando Pietri. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9527: Dorando Pietri Signature

An original elaborate artist’s sketch commemorating the “Marathon Race” held at the London Olympics on July 24, 1908, autographed by Italian runner Dorando Pietri. Pietri finished first in the marathon, but was subsequently disqualified: succumbing to utter exhaustion at the end of the race, Pietri fell several times and was helped back to his feet by officials. Although he managed to finish in first place, Pietri was disqualified for receiving assistance and the gold medal was given to the runner-up, American distance runner Johnny Hayes.

“It’s a famous story in Olympic circles,” said RR Auction’s Olympics expert, Jonathan Becker. “I haven’t seen [Pietri’s] autograph [at auction] in a long time.”

Jesse Owens Olympics tickets memorabilia RR Auction
A complete set of track and field tickets for every event that Jesse Owens competed in during the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9556: Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics, set of (8) Jesse Owens event tickets

A complete set of track and field tickets for every event that Jesse Owens competed in during the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. These include all four days on which he won a gold medal: August 3 for the 100m sprint; August 4 for the long jump; August 5 for the 200m sprint; and August 9 for the 4×100 sprint relay. In overall fine condition, with paper loss to top right of the largest ticket.

The historic importance of Owens’s success at the Olympics is unrivaled: no athlete is as closely identified with an Olympic Games as Jesse Owens is with Berlin 1936, and his four gold medals helped dispel Hitler’s notion of Aryan supremacy, on Hitler’s own “home turf.”

“It’s exceptionally rare to have a complete set of Berlin track and field tickets,” Becker notes.


Paris 1924 Summer Olympics vase RR Auction
Paris 1924 Summer Olympics Sevres Winner’s Vase. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9538: Paris 1924 Summer Olympics Sevres Winner’s Vase

Rare and beautiful Sevres pate-sur-pate porcelain vase awarded to gold medal winners at the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics, measuring approximately 13″ tall and 5.5″ at its widest point. This splendid vase was designed by M. O. Guillonet and executed by Bracquemond at the world famous porcelain factory of Sevres, and features golden laurel branches hand-painted on a French blue background. It features four ‘medallions’ portraying athletes in white against gray oval backgrounds bordered in light green, with the events depicted being sailing, shooting, tennis, and cycling. 

At the suggestion of the French Olympic Committee, these vases were developed to be given to the first place winners as a “special souvenir.” Several different variations were produced to accommodate the many different sports, and they were presented by the Paris City Council to gold medal winners in individual events only; a small number were reserved for dignitaries and institutions. Surviving examples of these stunning trophy vases are of the utmost rarity. 

“In only two summer Games, winners received more than just the medal,” Becker noted. “Amateur rules were strict. In 1920, winners got a statue, and in 1924, this vase. They’re spectacular and rare.”


See all Sports auction results here.

Featured item: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Championship Ring

1955 World Series ring for sale Brooklyn Dodgers RR Auction
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Championship ring. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9407: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Championship Ring

This astounding 14K white gold 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Championship ring features a genuine diamond (possibly a replacement) set into a dark Dodger-blue stone. In fine condition, with light wear to the maker’s mark inside the band.

The Brooklyn Dodgers’ championship victory over their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees, was the first and only World Series won during the team’s time in Brooklyn. “The Dodgers faced the Yankees constantly in the World Series,” said Louis Bollman, RR Auction’s sports expert. “This ring is so exciting because firstly, players or their families would rarely sell them; and secondly, it symbolizes the one and only Brooklyn World Series win.”

A truly superb ring from a historic World Series.

See all Sports auction results here.

Featured item: 1966–68 Brian Piccolo Game-Worn Chicago Bears Road Jersey, MEARS A8


1966–1968 Brian Piccolo Game-Worn Chicago Bears Road Jersey MEARS A8 RR Auction
1966–1968 Brian Piccolo Game-Worn Chicago Bears Road Jersey MEARS A8. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9435: 1966–68 Brian Piccolo Game-Worn Chicago Bears Road Jersey, MEARS A8

This magnificent Chicago Bears road jersey was worn by running back Brian Piccolo. The off-white durene pull-over jersey features embroidered “41” numbers to chest, back, and both sleeves, with the proper King O’Shea manufacturer’s tag sewn to the front left tail listing cleaning instructions and size, “44,” with hand-annotated “+3″ body.” In fine condition, with expected light wear.

The letter of provenance includes the statement that “this shirt was not worn by any other player since Piccolo came up in 1965, the year the Bears went to tear-away shirts for their running backs & return men. His uniform number was retired after his death.” Also included is a Mears letter of opinion with official worksheet, evaluating the jersey with a base grade of 10 and a condition grade of -2 moderate wear.

The tragic story of Brian Piccolo was told in the made-for-television movie “Brian’s Song” in 1971. The film focused on the unlikely friendship between Piccolo and his teammate Gale Sayers, as well as the former’s sickness and untimely death at the age of 26. Late in the 1969 season, Piccolo took himself out of a game complaining of breathing problems and was soon diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma. Doctors were unable to stop the cancer’s spread, and after several surgeries, Piccolo died on June 16, 1970.

Bollman notes that Piccolo “almost wasn’t good enough to play pro ball; but sheer grit and determination got him on the Bears roster. This is only the second [Piccolo jersey] we’ve seen come to market in the last few decades. The other was a home jersey; this is an away.”

He adds that the scarcity of surviving tear-away jerseys makes this an exceptional offering. “The material [used is] another reason you don’t see these very often. They’re usually all shredded from game use and destroyed.” A Mears A8 is a rare well-preserved example from a man whose story transcended the realm of sports.

See all Sports auction results here.


Featured item: 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug Ed Delahanty, PSA EX-MT 6

1895 N300 Mayo's Cut Plug Ed Delahanty PSA EX-MT 6 RR Aution
1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug Ed Delahanty PSA EX-MT 6. Offered by RR Auction.

Lot 9018: 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug Ed Delahanty, PSA EX-MT 6

This high-grade Delahanty is arguably the nicest N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug example featuring the Hall of Famer that the auction house has ever seen. It is stellar with very mild wear at the upper right corner, barely noticeable on a card which contains those unforgiving black borders. Other than light chipping along the right edge, which appears factory fresh, the reverse is near perfect.

Known as the Black Beauties, the Mayos were inserted as premium in plug tobacco, and are usually replete with stains. However, this example does not have any of the pesky tobacco stains, which commonly downgrade the N300s.

“Any example of the Mayo Cut Plug in an acceptable grade as a type is difficult enough to obtain,” noted Louis Bollman, RR Auction’s sports collectibles expert, “but to have a HOF’r of Delahanty’s stature, plus one of the highest grades possible for any a card in that issue, is a rarity.”

The card features a tremendous image of a dapper Delahanty, whose hitting and fielding prowess mesmerized 19th century baseball fans. He was the first “five-tool” player in baseball history. This is a stellar example, which would not look out of place in a PSA NM 7 holder.

“This is the highest graded PSA example extant, with only four cards within the entire N300 set (over 500 graded examples!) which have graded higher than this Delahanty,” Bollman said.

See all Sports auction results here.