Babe Ruth’s earliest-known jersey has sold at auction for $4.42 million, a record for an item of sports memorabilia.
A New York Yankees cap worn by Ruth in at least one game during the early 1930s fetched $537,278, while the Super Bowl ring won by former New York Giants’ linebacker Lawrence Taylor following the 1990 National Football League season went for a bid of $230,401, SCP Auctions said in a news release.
Ruth’s game-worn Yankees jersey, estimated to date from about 1920, eclipsed the $4.34 million paid for James Naismith’s founding rules of basketball in 2010. Ruth’s cap, sold by former Yankees pitcher David Wells, set a record for a baseball cap, while Taylor’s ring established a new mark for a NFL championship ring.
“This proves again that Babe Ruth is king in the sports memorabilia world,” SCP Auctions President David Kohler said in the company’s statement.
A bat used by Ruth during the 1920s sold for $591,007. Other high-yielding items in the sale included a 1955 Roberto Clemente Topps rookie card that went for $432,690 and a 1954 Hank Aaron Topps rookie card, which had a winning bid of $537,954.
Ruth hit 714 home runs and won seven World Series titles, three with the Boston Red Sox and four with the Yankees. He ranks third on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds and Aaron after 22 years with the Red Sox, Yankees and Boston Braves. An outfielder and pitcher, Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times and his 2,213 runs batted in are second only to Aaron.
High School Fundraiser
Wells said in an interview with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line” that he decided to sell the cap, which he purchased for $35,000, to raise funds to help pay for renovations to the baseball field at his San Diego high school. The navy blue flannel cap with Ruth’s name embroidered into it had an estimated sale price of $400,000.
Taylor’s ring features 19 diamonds and sold for more than double SCP’s $100,000 estimate. Taylor gave the ring to his son, Lawrence Jr., who elected to sell it, SCP said.
Taylor, 53, was selected to 10 Pro Bowls in a 13-year career spent entirely in New York. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1986, a three-time defensive player of the year and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in the Super Bowl on Jan. 27, 1991, as Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a field goal in the closing seconds.
The original rules of basketball, written by Naismith in 1891, were sold Dec. 10, 2010, at Sotheby’s in New York.
The two-page typed document with Naismith’s handwritten notes were purchased by David G. Booth, executive officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors.
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