Today baseball memorabilia is a multimillion dollar industry, but collectors still remember the man who changed the face of the modern game.
Despite playing his first professional game almost 100 years ago, Babe Ruth’s legacy as the Sultan of Swing can still be felt in the game today. His big hitting style and larger-than-life personality helped popularize the sport like no other player, and ensured his place as an American cultural icon.
His legend is such that items of his memorabilia have become the holy grail for many collectors. Sales of everything from bats and balls to jerseys and baseball cards have broken auction records across the U.S, as collectors compete for a true piece of sporting history.
Users of Wikicollecting.org, the open-source collectibles encyclopedia, have compiled their list of the top ten most expensive items of Babe Ruth memorabilia ever sold. As the list proves, the Bambino continues to dominate the market just as he dominated the diamond all those years ago…
1. Ruth’s 1923 Louisville Slugger bat
The legendary bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first ever home-run at Yankee Stadium is one of the most prized pieces of baseball memorabilia. Ruth used the solid ash wood bat during the first game at the stadium on April 18, 1923, and hit three home runs in a 4-1 defeat of the Boston Red Sox.
The bat used to hit the first of these home runs was sold by Sotheby’s in December 2004 for a record price of $1,265,000.
2. Ruth’s 1919 New York Yankees contract
It was sold by Sotheby’s in New York in June 2005 for $996,000 to Gotta Have It! Owner Peter Siegel, who described it as “an historical jewel, a diamond”.
3. Ruth’s 1932 “Called Shot” Yankees jersey
It was sold in June 2005 at a Grey Flannel Auctions sale for a price of $940,000.
4. Home run ball from the first 1933 All-Stars game
The sale was conducted by Hunt Auctions, with the ball being sold by the family of Earl Brown who originally caught the ball in 1933 and later had it signed by Ruth.
5. Ruth’s 1934 Yankees Japanese tour jersey
The game-worn jersey used by Ruth during the Yankees’ 1934 Barnstorming exhibition tour of Japan is one of the few to remain from the famous tour. It was sold by Mastro Auctions in August 2005 for a price of $771000.