NEW YORK (AP) -- Maybe it was the shaky stock market. Maybe there is a glut of Joe DiMaggio memorabilia. Or maybe the items were simply priced too high.
But Joe DiMaggio mementos struck out this month at Christie's.
The prize of the 96 pieces at auction was a New York Yankees' jersey worn by DiMaggio in his final game, in the 1951 World Series. It was expected to bring between $150,000 and $300,000. But when the top bid of $100,000 was $20,000 shy of the minimum, the jersey was withdrawn.
In fact, most of the DiMaggio memorabilia failed to meet the minimum price, forcing auctioneer Nick MacLean to declare the items ''passed.''
Only two of the DiMaggio mementos were among the top 10 items to go.
A pair of boxing shoes worn by Muhammad Ali in 1972 fights headed the list at $25,850. Next, at $17,625, was a pocket watch presented to Honus Wagner by Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Then came a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, which sold for $14,688.
The only two DiMaggio items among the top 10 were his 1986 Florida driver's license, signed Joe Paul DiMaggio, which went for $11,750, and a glove, which drew $11,162.
But bidders passed on such items as a Florida license plate that read ''DiMag5'' and signed ''with best wishes'' by DiMaggio; a golf cart given to the Yankee Clipper by his lawyer and longtime friend, Morris Engelberg; DiMaggio's passport; and scores of autographed photographs and lithographs.
''I am shocked and disappointed,'' said Engelberg, who couldn't explain the collection's failure to sell better.
He suggested a possibility: Christie's decision to auction DiMaggio's items last -- after Ali's shoes, Wagner's watch and other memorabilia.
''By then, the bidders were out of money,'' Engelberg said.
John Martino, Christie's sports memorabilia specialist, disputed that.
''We usually save our star attraction for last,'' he said.
''We probably estimated DiMaggio items a little bit too aggressively,'' said Martino, who acknowledged he was guided by his feeling that the Yankees' Hall of Famer was ''probably the last American icon in baseball.''
Among the non-DiMaggio items that failed to sell was an artificial leg used by Monte Stratton, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox in the 1930s and lost his leg in a hunting accident.
Martino thought a lack of precise documentation kept bids for the prosthesis under the $3,000 minimum.
''We thought a collector would want it for a private collection,'' Martino said.
Many of the DiMaggio items were supplied by Engelberg, who was the player's confidant and neighbor for 16 years. Some were offered for sale by people who worked for DiMaggio or befriended him.
The 1951 jersey was offered a woman who worked in DiMaggio's home. She found it in a supermarket shopping bag under DiMaggio's bed after his death in March 1999 at 84.
DiMaggio had given the jersey to a New York detective and the officer's family returned it when the policeman died.
''It will go back to the woman who owned it,'' said Engelberg, who declined to identify her.
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