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.
“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.