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Press Release - July 28, 2021

Heritage Sports’ Blazing Summer Platinum Night Auction Rolls Into Chicago For an All-Star Preview

The auction house follows $14-million July event by showing off museum-quality highlights from August event worth more than $20 million


41st National Sports Collectibles Convention
CHICAGO (July 28, 2021) — Heritage Auctions' enormous booth filled with more than a century's worth of iconic sports history sits smack in the center of the Donald E. Stephens Convention & Conference Center main lobby, anchoring the 41st National Sports Collectibles Convention in Chicago that officially opens Thursday morning. The timing and placement couldn't be better, as the Dallas-based auction house just wrapped a history-making $14-million sports-card event that will lead into August's star-studded Summer Platinum event worth more than $20 million.

"The National Sports Collector's Convention is the largest annual gathering of sports dealers, auction houses and collectors each year, and Heritage Auctions is proud to be a primary corporate sponsor once again in 2021," says Chris Ivy, founder and president of Heritage Sports. "We expect this year to be one of the most well-attended and busiest Nationals in the event's history due to the one-year hiatus, and the fact the industry has seen immense growth since the last National was held in 2019."

It's like a museum.

That's what passersby have already said of Heritage's booth consisting of dozens of cases filled with hundreds of extraordinary items from the August 21-22 Summer Platinum Night event, among them Babe Ruth's rookie card worth more than $1 million and Magic Johnson's signed title-clenching jersey worn during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, another seven-figure artifact.

The Johnson jersey, in fact, is one of the finest NBA jerseys ever to head to auction, not to mention the floor of a convention center. It's photo-matched to that championship game, when Magic, en route to the first of his three Finals MVP awards, took center stage — playing every position that night, including center in the absence of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson wore the jersey again during the 1984 Finals loss to the Boston Celtics.

This is a monster piece. Here's how we know: Twenty-four hours after bidding opened, it was already up to $330,000. With more than three weeks to go before the auction.

The only item higher at the moment is the 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie card, graded PSA EX-MT 6, which shot up to $370,000 within hours of opening. No surprise there: Just last weekend Heritage sold one of the highest-graded 1933 Goudey Ruths for a record-setting $540,000 in the auction house's Summer Sports Card Catalog sale, more than five times than what a similar card realized just 10 months ago.

The Ruth rookie and Magic jersey are on display at The National, alongside myriad other museum-quality pieces ranging from a 1920 Ruth game-used and signed bat (already up to $280,000 in early bidding) to the 1955 New York Yankees American League Championship Ring presented to Mickey Mantle to items owned and worn by Muhammad Ali never before displayed to the public.

Also on display: the finest-known baseball signed by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, which has already grabbed the attention of the international media.

trophies, rings and plaques accrued by Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey
For the first time, all of the trophies, rings and plaques accrued by Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey will be made available to fans and collectors during the August auction. The Willie McCovey Collection — which features some 210 lots, among them some of the most coveted hardware in baseball history — is a centerpiece of the event, with several of those honors on display in Chicago this week.

And to commemorate the convention's Chicago return, Heritage has filled the cases with items from iconic items from local legends, among them a pair of Air Jordan 1s worn in 1985 and signed six years later by — who else? — Michael Jordan, who wrote his name on the iconic sneakers on network television just hours before the Bulls claimed their first NBA title. Here, too, in the sale and in Chicago, is a 1969 Chicago Cubs jersey worn by Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks; this photo-matched top even comes with a letter of authenticity from Cubs business manager Eldred "Salty" Saltwell.

And from Thanksgiving Day 1929 comes this piece of Chicago sports lore: the football used when Ernie Nevers scored all 40 points in the Chicago Cardinals' 40-6 shellacking of the crosstown rival Bears. Nevers, the former St. Louis pitcher who surrendered two home runs to Babe Ruth during his record-setting 60-dinger season in 1927, would go on to become a five-time All-Pro and a member of the 1963 charter class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This game-used ball is even more significant and magnificent because of the signatures it bears, among them such Hall of Famers as Tim Mara, Red Grange, Walt Kiesling, Benny Friedman, Duke Slater and, of course, Nevers himself.

That's but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what's in the auction and on display in Chicago this week, where Heritage Sports experts will also be offering free on-site appraisals and accepting consignments.

"We couldn't be more excited to finally be able to meet with our colleagues, clients and consignors face-to-face once again in Chicago this week," Ivy says. "And we cannot wait to show everyone what we brought with us."

Robert Wilonsky, Director, Corporate Communications

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