Photo Courtesy of Hunt AuctionsAn auction consisting mainly of items owned by legendary baseball player Ted Williams held at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts over the weekend, grossed more than $3.5 million. Sports-collectibles auction house, Exton, Pennsylvania-based Hunt Auctions managed the festivities at the storied sports venue. Claudia Williams, the daughter of Ted Williams, greeted attendees at the ballpark and offered insightful remarks prior to the bidding on several of her father’s prized possessions.
"Thank you to all the fans of my dad. It is humbling to see the passion that fans still feel for my father after all these years, said Ms. Williams. “I am hopeful that his belongings have made their way to good homes and that the new owners will display them with a true sense of pride and enjoy them as much as my dad and my family did. I am honored with the success, and happy that it allows me the chance to share a portion of the proceeds with the Jimmy Fund, a cause so close to my father’s heart for such a long time.”
The highest priced item of the auction, an MVP trophy to Ted Williams for the 1949 season, sold at $299,000. A crown, known as the Sultan of Swat Award, made famous originally by Babe Ruth, fetched $230,000. Memorabilia relating to Ruth finished second and third, as a baseball with an inscribed message to Williams: "To My Pal Ted Williams From Babe Ruth” scored $195,500. A portion of the proceeds from this auction are earmarked for the Jimmy Fund, a Boston-based cancer-research program that Williams helped to raise funds for since his playing days with the Boston Red Sox.
Theodore Samuel “Ted” Williams is a man whose life reads more like a tale written than about a man who actually lived. The larger-than-life legendary Hall of Fame baseball player served his country twice as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot and is a member of another hall of fame, the International Game Fish Association’s, for his achievement as a sports fisherman.
More than 97 percent of the 794 items presented sold at the auction. Overall, 21 pieces sold for more than $16,000. The least expensive lot sold among the top 10 most expensive items that sold was a bat used by Williams in the 1960 All-Star Game that netted $80,500.
“The prices attained today, across the board, were simply astounding. While the materials in the collection are certainly deserving of record pricing it is my opinion that the results are more likely attributable to the iconic status of Ted Williams," said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.
“No category in the auction better illustrated Ted Williams’ importance to this country than his military items which achieved outstanding prices realized. If there was any doubt as to the strength of the sports memorabilia market and specifically Ted Williams items those doubts were categorically erased with this offering.”
Many fans view the former left fielder of the Red Sox, whose career spanned from 1939 to 1960, as the greatest hitter to ever play baseball. The native of San Diego is the last MLB player to achieve a batting average of .400 or higher throughout an entire season since 1941. A baseball owned by Williams contains signatures of six of the nine players in MLB history to maintain a batting average of .400 or higher for an entire season. The 400-club baseball sold for $63,250.
Perhaps the oddest lot of the auction was a pocket watch by Tiffany & Co. that was given to Ted Williams for being among the greatest 100 players of the century. MLB commissioned the venerable luxury brand to make the timepieces in 1999, for each of the players. A singed letter addressed to Williams from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the original packaging were included. The lot sold at $20,700. For more information, visit HuntAuctions.com.