Collecting sports memorabilia is gaining ground both as a hobby and a form of investment and there have been some substantial prices achieved at auction. In general, the more renowned the athlete, team or tournament related to a particular piece of memorabilia the higher the price it is likely to command. In this article, we look at some of the most expensive items of sports memorabilia achieved at auction over the years.
Babe Ruth Jersey
Babe Ruth retired in 1925, having amassed no less than 713 home runs. One of his baseball jerseys, which he wore in 1920 when he was playing for the New York Yankees, was auctioned for $4,415,658, making it the most expensive sports memorabilia ever.
The Rules of Basketball
The rules of basketball, which were written as long ago as 1891 by American, James Naismith, were sold at auction for $4,338,500.
Mark McGwire’s Baseball
St. Louis Cardinal, Mark McGwire had a better average than the legendary Babe Ruth and in 1998 he created a new record for the most home runs scored in a single season. The baseball that he hit for his record breaking 70th home run was sold at auction for $3 million.
Honus Wagner Baseball Card
Baseball player Honus Wagner played for the Louisville Colonels and the Pittsburgh Pirates and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939. This 1909 card, one of only a limited number that were released, sold for $2.8 million.
Association Football Rules Book
The Football Association Rule Book is the first known set of rules governing one of the most popular of world sports. The book, which records the rules and regulations of the Sheffield Football Club, was written in 1858 in manuscript and sold at auction for $1.4 million.
Paul Henderson’s 1972 Jersey
The number 19 jersey of Canadian ice hockey player, Paul Henderson, who played Major League Hockey and also starred for his country, was auctioned for $1,275,707.
Babe Ruth’s Baseball Bat
Another of the many items of memorabilia associated with this celebrated baseball player, this bat was the one that was used by Ruth to hit his first ever home run at the home stadium of the New York Yankees. It sold at auction for $1,265,000.
Muhammad Ali’s Boxing Gloves
The gloves that Ali wore in his fight against Floyd Patterson in 1965, which he won by knocking his opponent out in the 12th round, were sold for $1.1 million. His recent death is likely to increase the value of Ali memorabilia even further.
Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees Contract
Babe Ruth’s contract, marking his departure from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, was sold for $996,000 in 2005.
1882 FA Cup Final Programme
Although not strictly ranking amongst the ten most expensive items of sports memorabilia, the 1882 FA Cup Final is deserving of mention as it is the most expensive football programme ever sold at auction. The programme, which was produced to mark the FA Cup Final between Old Etonians and Blackburn Rovers, was sold for the record sum of £35,250.