Getting in on the Action
And it's not too late for you to get in a bid. In cooperation with eBay, Guernsey's has set up an on-line auction which allows web surfers the chance to place bids on some of the more popular items.
Those wishing to be present at the auction can do so by purchasing a catalogue of the day's merchandise from Guernsey's for $25. The catalogue not only grants admission, but includes an absentee-bid form for those who can't make to New York. The paperback, itself already being as a collector's item, includes pictures of the balls and first-hand accounts by the fans who caught them.
Some of the items up for sale will directly benefit charities. Proceeds from the sale of Sosa's 61st home-run ball and a banner from the Chicago parade in his honor will benefit the Sammy Sosa Charitable Foundation. Other charities include the Hank Aaron Chasing a Dream Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia Society of America, and The Last Post — an animal shelter in Connecticut.
Richard Simon, who has spent 16 years working in the sports memorabilia market and is serving as a consultant to Guernsey's, agrees that if the media response is any indication, this may be the biggest sports memorabilia auction ever.
He expects most of the 50-plus items in the catalogue to sell for between $3,000-$50,000, with the McGwire and Sosa balls going for substantially more. But among hobby veterans like himself, it will be the old souvenirs that will cause the biggest stir.
"We're talking about a ball signed by the 1915 Red Sox," he said. "It's 83 years old, and it was signed by Babe Ruth when he was 20 years old. And it's a World Series championship team. That's what gets me excited."