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Monday, Oct 23, 2017
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Prices Down A Little At Sports Memorabilia Auction

Jimmy Wasserman's dad brought him from New York to Tampa for Super Bowl weekend and all he got was a lousy $2,000 2008 game-day Super Bowl football from the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots game. The 11-year-old and his dad, Steven Wasserman, were among the constantly changing crowd that gathered Saturday for a sports memorabilia show at the NFL Experience. Despite the slumping economy, sometimes, kids get their way, Jimmy said. "I can usually talk him into getting me what I want," the youngster said, noting that his dad typically collects antique radios, not sports memorabilia. Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fans Joseph Macchiaroli of Indiana, Pa., scored a signed Terry Bradshaw helmet and football for $925. It was a coup, he agreed, sitting in his Steelers black and gold.
"I was eyeing the Jake Plummer helmet," said Erik Holmgren, of Chicago, who will be rooting for the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. "I've been a Cardinal's fan since they came to Arizona." Some high-end items didn't fetch as much as had been expected. A rare football sculpture from the 1890s that was expected to fetch between $4,000 and $5,000 sold for just $1,500, while a jersey signed by former Steelers defensive lineman Mean Joe Greene went for $1,800. The prices listed in the official auction book containing hundreds of items are only a best guess at the going price, Hunt Auctions auctioneer Mike Baker said. An item listed for $300 in the book could sell for thousands. And an item listed for $10,000 could sell for much more. Gil Gazda, who traveled to Tampa from San Ramon, Calif. for the game, perused the items up for auction, hoping to find something different that he could afford. His dad was born just outside of Pittsburgh, so he was looking forward to the game but needed other ways to occupy his time in the meantime. "I saw a Johnny Unitas oil painting I like." The auction started off with the sale of six mural-size paintings commissioned by Gatorade. The proceeds go directly to NFL charities. In all, the auction featured more than 300 lots of sports memorabilia.

Reporter Yvette C. Hammett can be reached at (813) 645-1566.

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