Lifetime sports collection goes on auction block in Scottsdale

"Sid Stern’s Sports Memorabilia Auction” takes place March 19-20 at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, 10345 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

“Sid Stern’s Sports Memorabilia Auction” takes place March 19-20 at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, 10345 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

A Scottsdale resident’s lifetime collection of more than 800 rare and important sports memorabilia items will hit the auction block in the midst of spring training and March Madness.

“Sid Stern’s Sports Memorabilia Auction” takes place March 19-20 at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, 10345 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

Highlights of the auction include a 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series team-signed baseball; boxing trunks signed by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman and Larry Holmes; a vintage Chicago Blackhawks travel duffel bag; a baseball glove signed by Ty Cobb, Mel Ott and Tris Speaker, and other sports collectibles.

Potential bidders can preview items at the auction house 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, where Hall of Famer, Cy Young Award Winner and popular Cubs pitcher

Fergie Jenkins will sign autographs from noon to 2 p.m.

Among the items to be auctioned: a 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series team-signed baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe and others.

Among the items to be auctioned: a 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series team-signed baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe and others.

Doors open 9 a.m. on Thursday and Friday for preview with the live auction starting at 11 a.m. both days.

Josh Levine, owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, said the auction house is buzzing with excitement about the upcoming event.

“In nearly two decades as an auctioneer, I’ve never seen a single owner sports memorabilia collection this extensive,” Mr. Levine said.

“And the best part is that Sid spent 49 years collecting each item all through his personal connections and experiences. He didn’t use eBay or collect items based on stats. It truly was his passion for sports that fueled his desire to build his collection.”

Mr. Stern has vivid memories of growing up in Chicago where fans would stand on Waveland Avenue and fight for the home run baseballs coming out of Wrigley Field.

“When I was 12, I figured out how to catch a bunch of foul balls standing on the railroad tracks,” he said.

To be auctioned: Heavyweight champion boxing trunks signed by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman and Larry Holmes: Estimated value between $6,000 and $8,000.

To be auctioned: Heavyweight champion boxing trunks signed by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman and Larry Holmes: Estimated value between $6,000 and $8,000.

He played baseball and tennis in high school and college, but credits his wife, Sherry, for helping him start his collection.

“We were at Wrigley Field on June 25, 1977, and there was an old-timers game there. I had a program signed by various Hall of Famers, including Warren Spahn, Lou Boudreau and Bob Feller. Sherry had it framed and gave it to me for Father’s Day,” he recalled.

Inspired by his teenage job working in a drugstore, Mr. Stern became a pharmacist, opening his first drugstore on the north side of Chicago. Before long, he owned four drugstores in Chicago and became the pharmacist to the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears.

As he formed close friendships with athletes, sports agents and team executives, he added more autographed items to his collection. As a community advocate, he hosted an annual “Sports Week” at one of his stores and lined up popular players to sign autographs and meet neighborhood families.

In the mid 1980s, Mr. Stern sold his drugstores and started working for a promotional company. By 1996, the Stern family moved to Scottsdale where Sid launched a new company that sold candy and other products to dollar and discount stores.

His favorite sport is hockey and he boasts that he and his wife “never missed a Blackhawk home game for 21 years.” Locally, he cheers for Arizona’s teams, but he’ll always be a Cubs fan and he’s looking forward to spring training this year.

“They’re working toward building a championship team. I’m hopeful. I predict the Cubs will do well this year and be a contender in 2016,” he said.

He and Sherry have been married 51 years, and it helps that she, too, loves sports, along with their daughters, Lisa and Abbe. But where to store his sports memorabilia has been a topic of contention.

“He can’t have anything in the dining room or living room since we are running out of space,” Sherry said lovingly.

In addition to Stern’s collection, the sports memorabilia auction includes close to 200 additional collectibles for a total of nearly 1,000 items representing baseball, football, basketball, hockey, boxing, golf, tennis, horse racing and more.

Items from Sid Stern’s collection that are expected to cause a bidding frenzy include:

  • 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series team-signed baseball — signed by Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe and others. Estimated value between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • 1998 Yankees World Series team-signed baseball: Signed by Mariano Rivera, Joe Torre, Mel Stottlemyre, José Cardenal and others. Estimated value between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Heavyweight champion boxing trunks signed by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman and Larry Holmes: Estimated value between $6,000 and $8,000.
  • Baseball glove signed by Ty Cobb, Mel Ott, Tris Speaker and others: Includes photos. Estimated value between $5,000 and $10,000.
  • Vintage Chicago Blackhawks travel duffel Bag: Official NHL travel duffel bag with shoulder pads, shin guards and pants. Estimated value between $800 and $1,200.
  • 1992 Chicago Bulls autographed basketball: Official NBA Spalding basketball autographed by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, John Paxson, and Will Perdue. Estimated value between $800 and $1,200.
  • Autographed 1966 Chicago Bears football: Official Wilson football autographed by some members of the 1966 Chicago Bears, including Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, Ed O’Bradovich, Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, and others. Estimated value between $800 and $1,200.
  • Cubs player bat with multiple autographs: Genuine Louisville Slugger 125, Model s44 Pro Stock. circa 1977. Autographs include: Fergie Jenkins, Randy Hundley, Dennis Lamp, and others. Estimated value between $300 and $500.
    Auctions are subject to a 15 percent Buyers Premium (20 percent for Internet and phone bidders).

Live online bidding can be accessed through www.jlevines.com or through www.invaluable.com.

For information, visit www.jlevines.com or call 480-496-2212.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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