Babe Ruth can make even wool popular. In the highest auction amount ever paid for sports memorabilia, a 1920s road jersey—the earliest existing New York Yankees jersey known to have belonged to the legendary slugger—sold for $4.4 million.
Even Ruth’s former home, a 5,124-square-foot residence in Sudbury, Mass., won’t touch the price of the uniform: the house lists for a paltry $1.6 million.
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The blue-grey Spalding-made wool jersey bears the handwritten script “Ruth G.H.” in a fading pink on the inside collar. The block “NEW YORK” lettering is stitched across the front in blue.
On display for five years at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, the jersey actually went up for auction from a private owner on April 30, fetching $4,415,658 from an anonymous bidder, says SCP Auctions of California. That price beats out the previous record holder, the original rules of basketball — written by the sport’s inventor Dr. James Naismith — which sold for $4,338,500 in 2010.
Ruth originally played for the Boston Red Sox, but was sold to the New York Yankees on Jan. 5, 1920. The jersey was from his first year with the new club. He went on to smash batting records and lead the Yankees in baseball domination, earning George Herman “Babe” Ruth the title The Sultan of Swat.
Along with the Ruth jersey, the same auction fetched $230,401 for a Lawrence Taylor Super Bowl ring, $173,102 for a cap worn by Bobby Thomson during his “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” home run in 1951, $366,967 for a jersey worn and later signed by Mickey Mantle when he hit is 535th home run and $537,278 for a former Ruth hat—owned and worn by former Yankee David Wells.
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