Grey Flannel Auctions has announced details of its Sixth Annual Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Auction and other special events associated with the Hall's induction ceremony. The live auction will take place on Friday, Aug. 12 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Grey Flannel Auctions will begin its Hall of Fame activities on Aug. 11 by hosting an invitation-only pre-induction dinner for Hall of Famers, inductees and industry dignitaries at the Hall of Fame’s Center Court. The following afternoon, starting at 1 p.m., Grey Flannel will conduct its 170-lot auction of vintage basketball-related memorabilia.
“The material in our Basketball Hall of Fame auction amazes me more and more each year, but this year’s selection tops all others,” said Grey Flannel Auctions’ president Richard E. Russek. “Many of the jerseys, uniforms and other mementos were consigned directly by players, their families or team employees, and at least 50 lots are accompanied by letters of authenticity from those sources.” Russek added that six Hall of Famers plan to attend the auction in person.
A featured highlight is the collection of veteran TV commentator and 25-time Emmy Award winner Al Trautwig, whose passion for a career in sports solidified during his teens, when he served as a ball boy for the ABA New York Nets and stick boy for the New York Islanders.
Among the most important items of game-used apparel in the Trautwig collection is Julius “Dr. J” Erving’s 1974 Eastern Conference ABA All-Star uniform. The red, white and blue uniform embellished with stars, Erving’s name, the number “32” and “ABA” is entered in the sale with a $10,000 reserve. In 2008, Grey Flannel sold Erving's 1976 ABA All-Star jersey for over $188,000 and in May of this year, the company sold a 1972-73 Virginia Squires Erving jersey for over $190,000.
ABA collectors will also love seeing a 1975 Dan Issel ABA Eastern Conference All-Stars game-used uniform.
Rick Barry’s game-used ABA/NBA Super Games II uniform from 1972 is among the rare items included as well. “To our knowledge, this is the first ABA Super Games jersey ever to be offered at public auction,” said Russek.
While working for the Nets as a ball boy, Trautwig became a trusted insider, Russek said, sometimes even babysitting Rick Barry’s children. “The provenance for the Rick Barry Super Games jersey is direct and impeccable,” Russek said. “It comes with LOAs from both Rick Barry and Al Trautwig.”
The jersey’s reserve is $5,000, although it is expected to go much higher. Russek explained:
“Rick Barry was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in History, and there’s tremendous interest, now, in game-used material connected to those Top 50 players. Collectors have become very competitive for these items and it has driven prices through the roof in our past sales. We expect to see a continuation of that trend in this sale,” Russek said.
A circa-1967 St. Louis Hawks game-used and autographed road jersey comes to auction from two-time Hall of Famer and Top 50 player Lenny Wilkens. “This is the only Lenny Wilkens game-used St. Louis Hawks jersey known to exist. There will be huge interest in this lot,” Russek predicted. “It has everything going for it – rarity, provenance, the connection to a Hall of Famer and Top 50 player, and an LOA from Lenny himself.” Reserve: $10,000.
Lot 30 in the auction consists of two letters the UCLA Bruins’ head coach John Wooden hand-wrote in 1968 to his close friend and fellow Hall of Famer Charles “Stretch” Murphy. The sensational contents of the letters detail in frank terms the strained relationship between Wooden and his star player Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). “These eye-opening letters have to be read to be believed,” said Russek. They will be auctioned as one lot with a $10,000 reserve.
The auction inventory boasts five championship rings, including Robert Horry’s 2005 San Antonio Spurs NBA championship ring and Bailey Howell’s 1968 Boston Celtics NBA title ring. On the collegiate side is Lynn Shackelford’s 1966-67 UCLA Bruins NCAA Championship ring.
Several items came directly to Grey Flannel from colorful Class of 2011 inductee Dennis Rodman. Within the selection are: the painting used as cover art for Rodman’s autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be, Rodman’s game-used Bulls sneakers, and an array of awards, including his 1990-91 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (reserve $2,500). Rodman’s much-publicized fling with Madonna is recalled in Lot 63 – a basketball hand painted with an alluring image of the athlete’s one-time girlfriend in scanty black lingerie.
The highest achievement to which an NBA player can aspire is the Most Valuable Player Award (a k a The Podoloff Trophy). For the first time ever, an NBA MVP Award will make its appearance at auction, when Grey Flannel opens the bidding on the 1972-73 trophy given to former Boston Celtic Dave Cowens. Standing 3ft. 9in. tall, the trophy comes straight from Cowens’ personal collection and is cataloged together with a photo match. This infinitely important award from a Hall of Famer and Top 50 player has been chosen to serve as the featured final lot of the sale and carries a reserve of $10,000.
This year’s enshrinement is expected to attract a packed house of returning Hall of Famers and other VIPs. The Class of 2011 includes Teresa Edwards, Artis Gilmore, Herb Magee, Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Arvydas Sabonis, Satch Sanders, Tara VanDerveer and Tex Winter. Also, legendary Harlem Globetrotter and hook shot inventor Reece “Goose” Tatum will be inducted posthumously.
Grey Flannel’s Friday, Aug. 12, 2011 auction will take place at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 W. Columbus Ave., Springfield, MA 01105, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. In addition to in-person and phone bidding, Grey Flannel welcomes absentee bids, including by phone (please call to reserve a line) and through its website: www.GreyFlannelAuctions.com. Printed catalogs are free to all registered bidders. The fully illustrated electronic version of the catalog may be viewed online at www.GreyFlannelAuctions.com.
To request a catalog, register as a bidder or obtain further information on any lot in the auction, call 631-288-7800, ext. 223; email firstname.lastname@example.org.