Clemente memorabilia sells for $7.5M at auction
Roberto Clemente never had a salary higher than $150,000, and the Hall of Famer’s career earnings over 18 seasons with the Pirates were well south of $1 million.
Turns out his memorabilia collection was a gold mine.
About 300 items from Clemente’s personal collection were auctioned Tuesday at the All-Star FanFest in Miami and totalled sales over $7.5 million.
The most expensive item, a silver bat Clemente was awarded as the National League batting champion in 1967, sold for $493,500. It was a record price for that particular trophy, eclipsing the $313,500 bid for Mickey Mantle’s 1956 American League batting champ award.
Vera Clemente, the baseball player’s widow, said in a statement she couldn’t imagine a more appropriate setting for the family to share some of its memorabilia with collectors. Clemente was a 15-time All-Star, after all.
The family and Hunt Auctions announced in May it would sell a portion of Clemente’s memorabilia collection, which sent collectors scrambling.
“The legacy that Roberto left with all of us is impossible to properly describe,” she said, “but I truly believe his commitment to helping others has resonated with the game of baseball and become a guiding light for future generations of players. I have enjoyed a beautiful life that Roberto and the game of baseball have provided for our family and we are very pleased to share some of our treasured memorabilia with the great fans of the game.”
Her son, Roberto Clemente Jr., thanked Pirates fans in a statement and added, “This is a great gift. He played for the love of the game and the fans that paid their hard-earned money to attend the games. He represented the hard working class, and gave his all for them.”