Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Bonds' Homer Balls No Real Hit With Bidders

Matt Murphy

I know. There's still 17 days left for someone to bid on Barry Bonds' home run balls No. 755 and No. 756. But I think it's a big deal--though not surprising--that 25 hours after the auction was put online there's not a single bid registered. The minimum bid for No. 755 is $60,000. The minimum bid for No. 756 is $100,000. Makes you wonder if the seller of No. 756, Matt Murphy, should have taken Steiner Sports up on its offer to pay him $500,000.

Here is a list of other Bonds balls that have sold.

Single Season No. 73: $517,500 (2003)
No. 661: $17,000 (2004)
No. 700: $102,000 (2005)
No. 715: $220,100 (2006)

Tennis Collectibles Market
At the U.S. Open yesterday, I had a fascinating conversation with Victor Shaffer, who recently acquired Ace Authentic, the tennis world's only collectible company. Shaffer, who founded Press Pass and worked at Dreams Inc., said he purchased the brand because he believes the business of tennis memorabilia is on the rise. Ace makes tennis cards, but Shaffer is well aware that the tennis market will better thrive off the high end stuff.

This year, he struck a smart deal with the United States Tennis Association that allows him to get match-used U.S. Open stuff. His big item will be a framed photo of the U.S. Open champ, a piece of game-used towel from the match and a piece of the net. In the meantime, he's selling match used balls. He sold out of used balls from Roger Federer's first match ($30). While the women tennis players are more popular for the cards and the photos, Shaffer said the men drive the higher-end business.

In an almost related way, we might as well mention the changes the sweaty Justin Gimelstob made in his final U.S. Open match last night. For the straight set loss against Andy Roddick, Gimelstob changed his shirt nine times and used 16 wristbands. We don't expect Gimelstob to be a big seller, but maybe Shaffer might want to inquire.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. & No. 38 reported on Monday that Hendrick Motorsportswas discussing with the Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team the transfer of the No. 38 to use for Dale Earnhardt Jr. While NASCAR has to approve the transfer, it should be mentioned that this No. 38 thing seems to have been on the mind of Hendrick Motorsports for at least three weeks. Thanks to reader Christopher Chase who pointed out that Hendrick filed an intent to use "38" with the U.S. Trademark Office on August 9. The filing saus Hendrick intends to use the "38" on as much as 152 items, including "aquarium backdrops made of paper," "plastic fingernail transfers," and a "fishing rod holster."

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