Jackie Robinson Memorabilia Making Millions
We all know his name, his number and his significance.
And every April 15th we celebrate him. Major League Baseball has been honoring Jackie Robinson since 2004 with every player in the league wearing his number 42 on the back of their jerseys. The date celebrates one of the most groundbreaking moments in the history of the sport, as it was the day Robinson finally took to the field as the Brooklyn Dodgers’ first baseman, becoming the first Black player to play for the MLB in the modern era. On that day in 1947, Robinson broke down the color barrier of the sport and paved the way for countless players behind him. He was a trailblazer not only for the sport of baseball but also for his work in the civil rights movement. He’s undeniably one of the most famous athletes of all time.
Clearly, collectors have long sought out memorabilia tied to the legend and continue to do so. There’s been quite some buzz and high-dollar bidding of late around some of Robinson’s items.
Robinson is back in the TV news again with the launch of Netflix’s new series King of Collectibles (dropping April 28). The Netflix series introduces us to Ken Goldin, who owns the auction house Goldin, where he shares some of his more staggering sales and fascinating collectibles in the six-episode series.
The first and second episode of King of Collectibles finds Ken and his team preparing for the 75th anniversary auction of Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947.
Expect to see Goldin’s team race to sell and secure items like:
• Jackie Robinson Yearbook from Pasadena College, where he was a four-sport (baseball, basketball, football and track) varsity star, with his signature as “Jack Robinson” (before he was Jackie)
• 1949 Jackie Robinson All-Star Baseball Bat
It’s the only time he played an All-Star Game at Ebbets Field in front of a home crowd in Brooklyn, appraised at $750,000
• 1969 hand-written letter from Jackie Robinson addressing race relations and the Holocaust, appraised at $25,000
• 1951 home game-used Brooklyn Dodger jersey, with bloodstains still in the color, which could be the most valuable sports item ever sold, appraised over 5 million
Next up for Jackie memorabilia at the Goldin 100 auction:
Goldin also will be opening up bids on May 12, 2023 for Robinson’s 1955 game-used bat. This bat was used in Game 1 of the 1955 championship, where Robinson stole home for the fifth straight (and final) time. Starting bid is set currently at $200,000
Original owner George Seekamp Jr. recounts the family history on Goldin’s site for the item with: “In the 1950s through the mid-1960s my Dad was the Purchasing Agent for Allied Maintenance, a very large maintenance company headquartered in the Empire State Building, Manhattan, NY. Allied had the contract to maintain Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In his position and job responsibilities with the company he had full-time access to the stadium plus received annual passes which included his ability to bring one guest to games (something I benefited from as a young boy). For a guy raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and a diehard Dodgers fan this was the ‘all-time job perk’ for my Dad. As my Dad relayed it he came into possession of the Jackie Robinson bat while attending one of the 1955 Dodgers vs. Yankees World Series games at Ebbets Field (I don’t know which game). After the game he was down on the field by the Dodgers dugout and saw the bat discarded on the ground. There was someone in the dugout (don’t know who) that he asked about the bat and was told he could take it. Dad brought the bat home where it was proudly displayed in the playroom of our Huntington, LI, NY home until the house was sold in 2014 and I moved to Jensen Beach, FL., bringing the bat with me. The bat has remained in my possession until recently upon deciding to consign it to Goldin Auctions.”