Crystal Catches Mantle's Glove

Comedian Billy Crystal has paid $239,000 for an old baseball glove.

It's not just any glove - it once belonged to the late New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. The glove had been worn by Mantle during a game around 1960. It had a pre-sale estimate of $20,000.

Crystal has said that when he was nine years old, he watched in awe as Mantle blasted a home run at Yankee Stadium. And that's when Crystal says he knew he "wanted to be Mickey Mantle."

The glove was part of a multimillion-dollar baseball memorabilia collection being auctioned over several days by Sotheby's in New York.

Also at Monday's session, Mantle's 1956 Triple Crown Award fetched more than $211,000, while Joe DiMaggio's 1951 World Series ring sold for more than $37,000.

In another sports memorabilia sale, Karen Shemonsky of Clarks Summit, Pa., took a tentative step into the world of sports collectibles. Then, she plunged right in.

Shemonsky, a lifelong sports fan, was intrigued when she saw Ty Cobb's dentures estimated at between $300 and $500 at Sotheby's.

"When I saw that, I said to my husband, 'That's not bad for a piece of history,'" she said. "It caught my eye. It's so odd, so different."

Ty Cobb's dentures

The Cobb dentures were one of the highlights of Monday's sale as the Halper auction pushed past $14 million. Among the other items sold was a package of underwear endorsed by Babe Ruth that went for $1,840. They were not game-used, a Sotheby's spokesman explained.

The highest-priced items Monday were former New York Yankees owner Del Webb's World Series and AL championship rings from 1947-64. They were auctioned for $310,500.

Shemonsky bought Cobb's dentures early in the day after scouting the auction on Sunday, driving 132 miles to Manhattan. The couple was brand new at the auction scene, but it didn't take long to get involved.

After watching for a while, Shemonsky even got in a couple of bids - $900 for a Babe Ruth glove that went for $1,700 and $800 for a pair of Babe Ruth watches that sold for $1,400.

"I didn't push for Ruth," she said. "I knew I wanted the teeth."

That might be because her father, Frank Alimenti, practiced dentistry for 53 years in Old Forge, Pa.

If she had her choice, she said she would have gone after some of the auction's Mickey Mantle stuff because he was her favorite player. But those were break-the-bank prices. "For Mantle, you need $20,000 or $30,000," she said.

Cobb's teeth seemed more modestly priced. On the trip home, Shemonsky decided she would go as high as $1,500 for them. "Then, today, I decided I'go to $2,000 and if push came to shove, $2,500."

Push came to shove quickly.

With the bidding jumping in increments first of $250, and then $500, Shemonsky's adrenaline kicked in. And before she knew it, she was at $6,500 and the voice on the other end of the phone was shouting "Sold!"

Add in the commission and tax, and Shemonsky will pay $7,475 for the dentures. "I never thought it would go that high," she said. "It just happened. In a minute."

She spent much of Monday explaining to friends why she felt obliged to buy them. "My sister goes on cruises," she said. "I'd rather have this in my hand."

And besides, she had to figure it was a bargain. Over the weekend, Cobb's 1928 jersey sold for $332,500.

Of course, the jersey was signed. The dentures were not.

Former New York Yankees owner Del Webb's World Series rings fetched more than $310,000.