Baseball auction like Cooperstown in midtown

After his 1941 American League MVP season, Joe DiMaggio received a $6,250 raise — to $43,750 — and his 1942 Yankees contract is among rare memorabilia and photos for sale starting Wednesday at Christie’s Auction House in Manhattan.

“The Golden Age of Baseball” collection includes hundreds of items spanning well over a century, many once belonging to major league Hall of Famers, plus Negro League and Cuban stars.

“It’s like a museum in midtown, really,” said Simeon Lipman, Pop Culture Consultant for Christie’s, which is displaying each item. The memorabilia is available Wednesday, and photos will go to auction Thursday. Bidding is in person, by phone or online.

The items are being sold by an anonymous owner, ranging in estimated price from photos for hundreds of dollars, to one of just two known Shoeless Joe Jackson bats, estimated to fetch $500,000 to $700,000.

There’s also a rare, original Jackson photo from 1951, the year the 1919 Black Sox Scandal’s central figure died.

“After that, he basically lived in obscurity,” Lipman said.

Available are bats, handwritten letters, signed photos and/or balls from Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Matthewson, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.

Dating back to the 1860s, items include an 1882 New York Gothams (Giants) National League membership application, and former Yankee manager Casey Stengel pictured playing for the Brooklyn Robins circa 1917.

The heaviest item? Hall of Famer Cap Anson’s 1897 bat — weighing over 47 ounces!

“The things a log, basically,” joked Lipman.


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