Mets, 1, Yankees, 0, at Sotheby’s New York City Memorabilia Auction

Yankee Stadium sign, circa 1976. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sotheby’s sale of New York City memorabilia brought in $2.1 million on Wednesday (see Sotheby’s and eBay Join Forces in Today’s Photography and New York Sales), but one supposedly hot ticket item failed to sell: a Yankee Stadium sign owned by former baseballer Reggie Jackson.

The 10-foot-high Plexiglas and aluminum letters were created circa 1976 and are valued between $300,000–$600,000. They were purchased for an undisclosed amount by Jackson after the stadium’s closure in 2008.

But buyers reportedly showed little interest, despite an attempt by a Sotheby’s staffer to inspire bids on the item by calling out “$280,000!”

Jackson, who was present at the auction, told the crowd that he purchased the letters “on a lark,” but when he saw their massive height, grew concerned that he have made a mistake. Apparently onlookers agreed, because despite Jackson’s offer to fly to visit the winning bidder and see the letters displayed in their new home, the massive sign failed to move.

The sign’s failure to sell wasn’t for the crowd’s lack of interest in sports memorabilia—a Mets bull pen car from the 1960s beat its estimate of $20,000–$30,000, selling for a stunning $112,500.

The sale also featured the lease for Andy Warhol‘s first artist studio, which he rented for just $150 a month in 1962 (see Lease for Andy Warhol’s First Studio Will Hit Auction Block on April 1). The lot sold for $13,750, beating its estimate of $8,000–$12,000.

Ormond Gigli’s iconic New York City (Girls in the Windows) photograph hammered for $47,000, while a Robert Longo drawing sold for $40,000, and two Longo photographs sold for $8,750 and $11,875.

The evening’s star item was a 9-foot-tall bronze cast of the Statue of Liberty, which sold for an impressive $970,000.


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