Collectors Optimistic – But Cautious
Part 1 of a 3 Part Blog
Rare items presented for sale by recognized auction houses this spring and early summer have generally sold at high prices, some at record levels. Interestingly, a few unique items have either sold at lower than expected prices or have not met even their minimum bids and been withdrawn by their owners. Understanding the reasons behind this dichotomy, may save some costly mistakes.
A Famous Fake
Savvy global collectors intensified their efforts in June and July to buy at auction the finest works of art and collectibles having indisputable provenances. These are items proven to show the highest levels of appreciation at auctions over the years.
Some of the more intriguing items recently sold are: Babe Ruth’s 1918 contract with the Red Sox, a $9.5 million postage stamp, John Lennon’s artwork, a unique Stradivarius violin, Francis Sinatra’s drivers license, a Claude Monet painting, and an “Inverted Jenny” stamp. The latter items will be discussed in Parts 2 & 3 of this blog.
John Lennon’s Line Drawings
Buyers are particularly interested in items from renowned private collections which in turn enhances their provenance and hence their value. Smart buyers are keenly aware of the possibility of “paper and canvas art” forgeries . They, therefore, seek maximum assurance of authenticity including chain of custody.
Famous art forger, Tom Keating, wanted to make the great masterpieces available to all so he “forged” about 2,000 famous works of art, but always left clues that experts could use to determine they were forgeries
Bidding on Babe Ruth Memorabilia
Rare sports memorabilia from Babe Ruth’s storied baseball career has retained and increased its value over the years.
George Herman Ruth
George Herman “Babe” Ruth started his legendary major league career as a pitcher in Boston on July 11, 1914. His first known contract was with the Red Sox in 1918 for $5,000 a year. In 1919 he was sold to the New York Yankees for $100,000, starting the famous legend of “the curse of the Bambino.”
Red Sox Pitcher Babe Ruth
On Saturday July,11, 2014, 100 years to the day after Babe Ruth’s first major league start, the contract itself sold for $1,020,000 by Goldin Auctions. The chain of custody for the contract was deemed impeccable.
Babe Ruth’s 1918 Contract with the Red Sox
“The Babe” is considered by many sports experts to be the most famous athlete and best offensive baseball player ever. Babe Ruth memorabilia sells at extremely high prices. A bat used by Ruth also sold at the July 11 auction for $214,000.
Ken Goldin in a recent ESPN interview founder of Goldin Auctions stated “A Hundred years from now they still will be celebrating Babe Ruth.” http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11208842/babe-ruth-contract-boston-red-sox-sells-1-million-auction
However, the first baseball hit out of Yankee Stadium , although not in a game but reportedly by Babe Ruth as a publicity event, drew at the same auction a sad single bid for $95,000. The bid met neither the minimum nor the expected selling price of at least $1 million. The ball was withdrawn by the owner. The auction was held in Babe Ruth’s home town of Baltimore at an appropriate venue, the Sports Legend Museum, Camden Yards.
If the withdrawn baseball had been the first home run ball at the then new Yankee Stadium and had been hit by Babe Ruth in front of stadium full of fans, then its significance and provenance would have been appreciably strengthened.
Where Will Your Collectibles be in 2114 ?
When Babe Ruth first stepped to the pitcher’s mound in 1914, Sofia Bros. Inc was already a growing NYC family business, founded in 1910. More than a century later, the Sofia family continues to provide safe and secure storage for fine arts, antiques and collectibles as well as business and household goods and many other items.
Just as it is important to check the originator, condition and chain of ownership of a rare item, so it is crucial to know management longevity and continuity of your storage company. As a family owned and operated company, Sofia Storage management is very proud of our 104 year unbroken and consistent existence, integrity and reputation in serving New Yorkers. We have always been highly rated by consumer organizations. For year we have been rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and have had an unblemished record with the Department of Consumer Affairs.
A NYC Sofia Storage Building
Why do you think longevity and continuity are such important factors when selecting a storage center ?
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