The Bonhams 20th Century Decorative Arts auction in New York was topped by a stunning work by American glass artist William Morris.
Mark McGwire’s 70th Home Run Baseball was sold in January 1999 for $3,005,000.
The ball was used in McGwire’s last swing of his record-breaking 1998 season.
Mark McGwire (b. 1963)
Mark David McGwire (1963-present) was an American baseball player. He began his career in 1986, retiring in 2001.
He was renowned for being “one of the most fearsome power hitters in baseball in the 1990s," and his record-breaking home run year of 1998 and association with steroid abuse.1
A first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire set a record when he hit 70 home runs in a single season in 1998.
The ball was McGwire’s last swing of his record-breaking 1998 season at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, on September 27th 1998.2
It was McGwire’s 70th home run of the season. He “turned on the first pitch he saw from Montreal's Carl Pavano in the seventh inning and sent it ricocheting off some metal bleachers, into the Washington University box”.
After a scramble, research scientist Phillip Ozersky came up with the ball and "was hustled away by security people.”
On 12th January 1999, the ball sold for $3,005,000 at Guernsey’s auction house, New York.
It was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder, after a one-on-one bidding battle between the invisible phone voice and Irwin Sternberg, president of Stonehenge, Ltd.
Sternberg stopped at $2.6 million, later stating that “he was sorry he didn't go higher.” The buyer was later revealed to be collector Todd McFarlane who “blew his life’s savings” on the item.3
The selling price was 23 times the world record for any baseball ever sold at auction, and was described as “extraordinary accomplishment”. It was also five to six times the record of any sports artifact.
Ozersky had privately been offered $1,000,000, which he declined.
Main article: list of notable sports memorabilia
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