Steiner Sports Memorabilia has created quite the cast of characters to star in their current online auction, the “Fall Classic.”
Before we dive into the who’s and what’s of this year’s Fall Classic, which concludes this coming Sunday, October 23 at 10PM, let’s get familiar with Steiner Sports. They are “the leading producer of authentic hand-signed collectibles, specializing in helping companies use the power of sports to grow their business and has spent 29 years building relationships with more than 2,000 athletes and the major American sports leagues and partnerships with the best teams in sports.” CEO Brandon Steiner started Steiner Sports in 1987 with a Mac computer, $4,000 and an intern. The rest is history. They are quite busy over there in New Rochelle, New York at Steiner Sports headquarters.
For today, we will focus specifically on the current auction. The Fall Classic opened on September 12, has 2,500 unique items up for bid, and has been called by Steiner “our biggest auction in history.”
The selection of memorabilia items from New York sports icons is not matchable. Highest price item is the late New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra’s original 1953 World Series Championship “5-Time Champions in a Row” player ring. Minimum bid was set at $100,000, but currently there are two bids for this ring, with the highest at $110,000. There are 103 total items in the Yogi Berra Estate Collection, with items ranging from the before mentioned championship ring, game worn jerseys, his New Jersey driver license, his personal USA passports, his Social Security card (which may I add has 6 bids), and the list goes on.
More collectable items from notable New York sports figures include pieces from Yankees World Series “Perfect Game” pitcher Don Larsen, New York Giants Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson, New Jersey Devils three-time Stanley Cup goaltender Marty Brodeur, and Rangers Stanley Cup champion coach Mike Keenan (this is absolutely not the end of the beloved list of historical sports champs, remember there’s 2,500 items in this auction).
Just how in the World do all these incredible, classic, and most importantly authentic items get into the hands of Steiner Sports? Auction Director Barry Valentino gave me the inside scoop. “In regards to player collections, we get them directly from the player themselves or the family,” he said. “In Yogi’s case, we got it from the kids. They wanted to leave their father’s fans with something to remember him by. They kept what was meaningful to them. The items they didn’t feel the need for they said let’s carry dad’s legacy on, sell those remnants.”
What if it is not a 300-items collection? Maybe just one, two, three items? Valentino continued, “A lot of things come from private collections from people who have been long time collectors. Any case happens, maybe divorce and they have to sell for legal reasons, maybe someone passed away, or some people just feel like it’s time to move on and they just to go in a different direction and they want to sell off what they collected all these years.” Regardless of how these items got to the warehouse, they are there, they are official, they are authenticated, and they are ready to ship come Sunday night (this day is just specific to the current auction).
I am sure we have some auction buffs out there, but me, being a sports enthusiast but also an auction novice, I’m just concerned where this money is going. A legitimate question, if I do say so myself. Of course, Mr. Valentino had an answer for me. He said, “If it’s something from our inventory, then obviously it’s ours. When people put things in on consignment, usually we just take a percentage and they keep their percentage, whatever is the agreed upon number between the two parties. There’s a third aspect that comes in where some people like it for a charity play. Where, for example, coach Mike Keenan, we have his collection. I went up to Canada, I did the whole process from start to finish with him, he is actually donating the money to CUREOM His daughter Gayla, was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, which is a rare eye cancer, in 2011 at the age of 32.” Items in the Keenan Collection include Keenan’s 1994 replica Stanley Cup presented to each team member by the NHL, and game-used jerseys of every captain that Keenan ever coached.
This small preview of items I have gone over today is a drop of water in an ocean of historical keepsakes. Before all items are snagged over the next 48 hours in what’s predicted to be some bold bidding, take a look at all the Fall Auction has to offer. Visit Auction.Steinersports.com to bid.
We can all dream, right?