Babe Ruth jersey sells for record $4.4 million at auction
May 21st, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Babe Ruth jersey sells for record $4.4 million at auction

A jersey worn by New York Yankee Hall of Famer Babe Ruth has sold at auction for $4.4 million, the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, a California auction house announced.

The $4,415,658 paid for the 1920s away jersey eclipsed the $4,338,500 paid in 2010 for an original copy of James Naismith's founding rules of basketball, SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel said in a statement.

The 1920s jersey was on display in a Baltimore museum.

"We are honored to, once again, be a part of history,” David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, said in a statement. “This proves again that Babe Ruth is king in the sports memorabilia world."

The jersey was bought by Lelands.com, a New York auctioneer of memorabilia from sports, rock 'n' roll, American collectibles and vintage photography.

"We are ecstatic about the purchase of his earliest known Yankees jersey," Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com, said in a statement. "It's like buying a priceless painting, the pinnacle of sports memorabilia."

The company plans to offer the jersey to a private buyer.

The jersey had been on display in the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore.

Also sold during the auction was a Ruth cap from the 1930s. Owned by former Yankees pitcher David Wells, it went for $537,278, a record for a cap, according to the auction house. Wells wore the cap while pitching for the Yankees on June 28, 1997, it said.

Ruth played for the Yankees from 1920 through 1934, part of a 22-year career that began in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox and finished in 1935 with the Boston Braves.

Ruth hit 714 home runs in his career and was baseball's all-time home run leader until Hank Aaron passed him in 1974. Barry Bonds subsequently passed both Ruth and Aaron to become baseball's home run king.

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Filed under: Auctions • Baseball • Sports
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. ididitmyway

    is this the same babe ruth jersey George Costanza took from the display case at Yankee Stadium and wiped Strawberry juice on

    May 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lizabeth

    And I thought that we were in a recession – what a life to just throw away 4.4 million on a shirt. God if that is not the supidest thing that I have ever heard of . A shirt – R u sure – A shirt?

    May 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Eric

    "Wells wore the cap while pitching for the Yankees on June 28, 1997"

    Thus depleting its value by $100k.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. carl

    How can the authenticity of this jersey be validated? There is no name on the back. Back in the 20's, a memorabilia market didn't exist. This jersey is $4.5 million risk.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. HIDE BEHIND

    Seems foolish to many, and they mock those who pay such sums, yet I wonder if it is not out of envy; firstly of those who have suvh smounts of expendable cash to spend, and secondly upon those who owned such memorabilia to sell.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Anybody wanna buy a pet rock?

    May 22, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AndyM

    To each his own. I guess if you have the four million to blow, it might as well be on this. Personally, I could use that money traveling around the world for the rest of my life. However, I am sure some people would say that would be a waste of money too. You just can't win...

    May 22, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mickey1313

    Way to go America. More idolizing a man who was abusive, and oh ya, did coke while playing, meanwhile we put an astrix next to b. Bonds records for the same thing.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bird

    Wonder how far would 4.4K go towards feeding/housing the poor, cancer research? I 'm all about sports and collecting of memorabilia but 4.4K for a jersey? WOW....

    May 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rupert

      Obviously you're not much of a math whiz, as "4.4K" is $4,400. And what business is it of yours what they buy? I'm sure you buy lots of unhealthy junk at the grocery store, should I get to tell you what would be a better use of your cash? This company bought the jersey as an investment, no different than real estate or stock. Maybe they make money, maybe they don't. But regardless it's not our place to tell anyone else what to do with their money.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. leslie in varina

    just shaking my head, how can a cotton shirt be worth more the 20 bucks, Babe Ruth was great, but just a man.....how much good could 4.4 million do........................

    May 22, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. okompromo

    Hank Aaron is still the king...Barry Bonds should be disqualified.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
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