Old Yankee Stadium letters fail to sell at auction

Thu Apr 2, 2015 9:02am EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 13 large letters that once sat atop and illuminated the "Yankee Stadium" in New York have failed to sell at auction, a spokesman for Sotheby's said on Thursday.

Made of aluminum casing with blue Plexiglas inserts and standing 10 feet (3 meters) tall, the letters had been expected to sell as one lot for between $300,000 and $600,000 at Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday evening.

However a spokesman for Sotheby's in London confirmed the letters had failed to find a buyer.

They were installed atop the Bronx stadium in 1976 during a renovation and stood there for 32 years. When a new stadium was built in 2008, they were taken down and bought by former Yankee Reggie Jackson.

"It's very difficult to put a price on something like this. It's basically a unique piece," Maria Kelly, Senior Vice President at Sotheby's, said before the auction.

"This is not a piece of contemporary art that's just been made. This is a piece of history. It was on the building for 30 years outside," she added, referring to the letters' slight wear and tear such as visible cracks in the plexigas.

The Yankees' original stadium opened in 1923 and soon took on the nickname of 'The House that Ruth Built' after the game's star player Babe Ruth.

Other items at the "New York Sale" on Wednesday evening included an untitled abstract painting by crooner Frank Sinatra, which was bought for $21,250, and a Mets bullpen cart which went for $112,500.

(Reporting By Angela Moore in New York and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Susan Fenton)