A jersey worn by Magic Johnson in perhaps the iconic game of his NBA career sold for $ 1.5 million early Sunday at Heritage Auctions. Dating not only from Johnson’s remarkable performance for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, but also from additional use in the 1984 Final loss to Boston , the purple jersey has been photo-matched to several use cases.
After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar injured his ankle and was unable to play in Game 6, Johnson started the game down center and played all five positions in his 47 minutes of action, collecting 42 points , 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers to their first NBA championship since 1972.
MeiGray and Resolution Photomatching both looked at the jersey and highlighted matches from both championship series. Unlike today’s match shirts which are often used for a single or a small number of matches or even changed at half-time, teams in the past often used shirts over multiple seasons.
A few other items used in the game turned out to be great attractions as well. The oldest autographed bat known as Babe Ruth, listed with collector Eddie Maier 101 years ago, sold for $ 870,000. Maier, as president of the Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League, was perhaps the first serious collector of bats used by game.
A step below Ruth’s wood was the bat used by Pete Rose for his 4,191st career success in 1985, matching Ty Cobb. Signed and inscribed by Rose, the PSA / DNA authentication letter includes a note about a hole that appears to have been drilled in the barrel, suggesting it may have been plugged.
The bat sold for $ 855,000, despite further research that dropped Cobb’s career success tally to 4,189.
A pair of rookie Air Jordan of the Year shoes worn and signed by Michael Jordan grossed $ 615,000.
A total of 28 auction lots sold for over $ 200,000 in the first part of a two-session sale.
Collectible cards were a big part of the auction with a PSA 8.5 copy of Bill Russell’s 1957-58 Topps card topping the pile at $ 630,000. It ranks among the top five in PSA’s Population Report.
One of eight SGC-rated copies of Joe Jackson’s Old Mill Tobacco issue in 1910 was also among the heavy hitters, with the VG 3 example bringing in $ 540,000, while a 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie card was rated. PSA 9, hammered at $ 480,000.
The second half of the auction was scheduled to end on Sunday evening.