Mastro New York Live Sports Auction

Mastro Auctions, the world’s leading Sports and Americana auction house, has announced that it will conduct a Live Sports Auction at The Sports Museum of America—the new home of the Heisman Trophy—in New York City on Monday, December 8.

The exciting event will feature two sessions. The first will focus on “Legends of the Gridiron,” and this portion will take place on the morning of December 8. The second session, “Legends of the Diamond” will occur in the afternoon on the same day. Combined, the two-part unfolding of this unprecedented auction will include hundreds of artifacts, comprising some of the world’s most coveted pieces of vintage football and baseball memorabilia.

Doug Allen, COO and president of Mastro Auctions notes that the choice of venue and timing for the Legends Live Sports event could not be more appropriate: the marquee item of the auction is the actual Heisman trophy awarded to USC’s Charles White in 1979. “Just a few days after this amazing item is auctioned, we’ll find out in the same building who the 2008 Heisman trophy winner will be,” says Allen. “The auction of a Heisman trophy will deliver an exciting lead-in to what is always one of football’s most anticipated moments each year.”

Allen says that the Heisman trophy, included in the “Legends of the Gridiron” session of the live auction, is just a single piece in one of the largest private collections of highest-quality football memorabilia ever offered publicly. The collection is composed of more than 300 items, and is dominated by game-used jerseys and helmets worn by Hall of Fame football players, future Hall of Famers, and Heisman Trophy winners. “This is a jaw-dropping collection,” says Allen. “It’s especially fitting that we’re conducting the auction in a museum, because, truly, that’s where these timeless treasures belong.”

Heisman trophies are among the rarest pieces of sports memorabilia. According to Allen, only a few have ever been offered for public sale. The record price paid for a Heisman trophy is $395,240. (That record-setting trophy, awarded in 1941, originally belonged to Minnesota halfback Bruce Smith.) Allen expects the bidding on the 1979 Charles White Heisman Trophy to be heated, and that it could hit the mid-six-figure range. “You just never know when a Heisman will be available again,” says Allen. “And collectors will respond accordingly.”

Other significant football items being offered in Mastro Auctions’ “Legends of the Gridiron” event include:
• Jim Brown Cleveland Browns circa 1960s game worn brown dureen jersey;
• Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1971 game worn white dureen jersey;
• Jim Taylor Green Bay Packers circa 1966 game worn green dureen jersey;
• Ray Nitschke Green Bay Packers circa 1966 game worn green dureen jersey;
• Tom Landry New York Giants circa 1952-54 game worn red wool jersey;
• Dick Butkus 1974 NFC Pro Bowl game worn blue dureen jersey;
• Don Maynard New York Jets 1969 Super Bowl III game worn white dureen jersey;
• Joe Namath New York Jets circa 1970 game worn green dureen jersey;
• Bart Starr Green Bay Packers early 1960s game worn helmet;
• Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1969-70 game worn signed helmet;
• Don Meredith Dallas Cowboys circa 1967 game worn white dureen jersey;
• Merlin Olsen Los Angeles Rams 1969 game worn white dureen jersey.

The second session of the Live Sports Auction will focus on “Legends of the Diamond,” and this component will feature evocative and historical pieces of baseball memorabilia. Early highlights include a legendary array of game used items, one-of-a-kind display pieces, and high-value baseball cards.

The two-part live “Legends” sports auction will represent Mastro Auctions’ second major live-format sports auction of 2008. The company conducted a wildly successful Live Sports sale in August, which resulted in the highest price ever paid for a single baseball card at public auction: a 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card sold for $1.62 million. Overall, the August live sale averaged an astounding $50,000 per lot, more than ten times the average per-lot price in a typical premier industry event.

Allen explains that the company’s decision to proceed with another live auction in 2008 was based on the industry’s overall support and acceptance of previous Mastro Auctions’ live events, as well as the top-quality nature of the material that will be sold in December. “We’ve received nothing but positive feedback on every aspect of our live sales,” says Allen. “It has become clear to us—and to our bidders and consignors—that there are just some outstanding collections and individual pieces that not only warrant a live auction environment, but thrive in it. Our goal and our responsibility to our clients are to position the material we auction in the best possible platform for maximum results. The December “Legends” sale is a perfect example of this strategy.”

Prior to the auction, all items in the sale will be on public display at the The Sports Museum of America on Sunday, December 7, and a cocktail reception will be held that evening at 7 p.m. Reservations for the cocktail reception are required. For more information, to register for the cocktail party, or to bid in the auction and receive an auction catalog, call Mastro Auctions at 630-472-1200 or go to