Babe Ruth game-used jersey sells for $4.4 million

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A circa 1920 New York Yankees road jersey worn by Babe Ruth sold for a record $4.4 million early this morning through SCP Auctions.

Including a buyer’s premium, the final price was $4,415,658 after 36 bids — the most ever paid for a single piece of baseball memorabilia by a wide margin. In 2007, SCP sold a PSA 8 Honus Wagner T206 baseball card for $2.8 million.

The auction opened with a $250,000 minimum bid and the winner of the jersey was another auction house, Lelands.com.

“We are ecstatic about the acquisition of what we consider one of the most important pieces of sports memorabilia in history,” said Lelands President Michael Heffner in a statement. “We are always on the lookout for high-quality sports memorabilia and this artifact represents the pinnacle.”

 

Ruth, of course, was one of the world’s most-recognizable athletes in his time and remains so today. His 714 home runs were an MLB record well beyond his playing days until Hank Aaron topped the mark in 1974.

The Spalding flannel has Ruth’s name stitched into the collar, and the placement of the New York patches on the front have been photo-matched to images included with the auction.

In 2005 Donruss/Playoff purchased a Ruth home gamer from around 1925 (one of three known pinstriped Ruth jerseys), which it cut up and placed into baseball cards. That jersey cost the company only $250,000.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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5 comments

  1. Richard 20 May, 2012 at 19:59

    I expect that THIS jersey will be safe from being cut up.
    Of course, now they don’t even make the claims the material in the cards
    are even from the player at times. Saw a Ruth triple threads and while it had
    a pic of Ruth on it, it did not state in the cert that it was a Ruth jersey. In fact,
    it specifically made no real claim at all to even being a game used jersey.

    Epic fail.

  2. Jonathan Gaudlitz 20 May, 2012 at 22:50

    Wow…. $4.4 million is more than 3 average Americans will make in their lifetimes put together.
    It’s insane that anyone, even a company, would pay THAT much for a Babe Ruth jersey.
    I agree it’s worth a good amount, but still….

  3. Jane Wilson 21 May, 2012 at 13:44

    funny coors71…on the other hand OMG. I thought my Joe Namath auto throwback was nice. Now I feel like a total schmuck. Anyone who thinks the One Percent don’t live differently are smokin’ something I’d like to have.

  4. doctormarket 22 May, 2012 at 21:06

    What if the real buyer decided this was too much and not right and he was not paying? Could that happen?

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