NY Daily News – April 14, 2016
by Christian Red, Michael O’keeffe
Ken Goldin has never pulled an item from his auction to offer it in a private sale — but the sports memorabilia executive said he’s willing to make an exception to keep Mike Piazza’s 9/11 jersey on display in New York.
In a letter sent to bidders Wednesday morning, the Goldin Auctions founder said he’ll pull the famed jersey from the auction that ends at the end of the month for a private sale, but only if the buyer promises to display the historic jersey at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown or the Mets Museum at Citi Field.
“This can be a rotating display,” Goldin said in the letter obtained by the Daily News. “Please note we have been in contact with all three entities and all are very interested in the item.”
The new owner of the jersey Piazza wore during the Mets Sept. 21, 2001 game with the Braves — the first professional sports game in New York played after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — will also have to offer Goldin’s consigner, who wishes to remain anonymous, a satisfactory price “based upon its potential at auction,” the letter said.
The jersey would be displayed for a “mutually agreeable period of time,” the letter added.
If the jersey is not sold in a private sale and returns to the auction the winning bidder would not be required to display it in New York, Goldin’s letter said.
Goldin also says he would also agree to a private sale if the buyer was willing to donate the jersey to the 9/11 Memorial in exchange for a charitable tax donation.
If a private sale cannot be arranged by 6 p.m. Friday, the jersey will remain in the live auction, where it has already received 29 bids. The top bid is at $161,000 and since bidding on hot-ticket items tends to get fast and furious as the deadline draws near, the Piazza jersey could easily go for triple that figure when the auction concludes at the NYY Steakhouse in New York on April 30.
Goldin said more than five parties have already expressed interest in a private sale, including Skybridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci, who told Fox Business Network that he is interested in the jersey. Goldin said he spoke to an associate of Scaramucci about the jersey, who offered more than double the current bid.
“They were so close (to completing a deal),” Goldin said. “They should get this done for the city of New York.”
Vincent Piazza, the Mets catcher’s father, has also expressed interest in the jersey.
Goldin says his consigner purchased the Piazza jersey from the Mets about three years ago during a private sale. It’s not clear who had the jersey prior to that, although it is believed to have been in the possession of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to stealing $2.3 million worth of Mets memorabilia after he was charged with tax fraud and possession of stolen property.
Samuels was sentenced to probation for five years and ordered to return jerseys and other memorabilia to the Mets as part of his plea deal.
Piazza, who will be inducted into Cooperstown in July, whacked an eighth-inning, two-run homer off Braves reliever Steve Karsay to put the Mets ahead for good in the Sept. 21, 2001 game. The victory gave New Yorkers something to cheer about after terrorist attack on the World Trade Center left more than 2,700 people dead and remains one of the most emotional and iconic moments in Big Apple sports history.
Goldin said the 9/11 Memorial is his first choice for the Piazza jersey because it would be the only piece of sports memorabilia on display at the lower Manhattan museum and because it is a good fit for the somber, sober setting.
Piazza has said he was disappointed that the Mets sold his jersey, which had been on display at Citi Field until recently. “It never should have left Citi Field,” Piazza said recently.
The Mets have declined comment on the Piazza jersey with the exception of issuing the following statement: “We can’t verify the item being auctioned but can confirm that our memorabilia group sold a jersey that meets this description, which was not authenticated with respect to game use.”
Bidders interested in participating in a private sale should contact New Jersey based company at GoldinAuctions.com.