Babe Ruth earliest jersey breaks sports memorabilia record

The earliest known Babe Ruth game-used jersey has set a new sports memorabilia world record, selling for $4.4m.

In doing so, the jersey eclipsed the previous record by 1.7%, set by the founding rules of basketball, which sold for $4.3m at Sotheby's in 2010.

Babe Ruth earliest jersey
Worn during Ruth's first season with the Yankees

Ruth wore the woollen New York Yankees road jersey during the 1920 season, the first following his tumultuous trade from the Boston Red Sox.

"This is simply the finest sports artefact we've handled in our 30-year history," David Kohler, president and founder of SCP auctions, said prior to the auction.

"It has it all. You would be hard pressed to dream up a more desirable baseball artefact. The historical impact of Ruth's emergence in the Big Apple in the early 1920s, combined with the jersey's superb original condition, makes this a sports treasure of the highest order."

The previous record for a piece of Babe Ruth memorabilia was $1.3m, set in December 2004 by the bat he used to hit the first ever home run at Yankee Stadium, in 1923. That corresponds to an increase of 17.87% pa.

It was the first time the jersey had ever appeared at auction.

It was bought by a memorabilia auction house at the May 19 sale, which now plans to sell it to a private client.

"Such a spectacular piece will find a home with one of our private clients who truly appreciates its historic significance," said the company's president, Michael Heffner.

You can currently find many superb sporting items of great sporting significance at the auction of our sister company, PFC Auctions.

Ruth also set a new record for a sports cap at the sale; a Yankees cap worn by the Bambino in the 1930s sold for $537,278.

There was also a new record for a sports ring; New York Giant Lawrence Taylor's Super Bowl XXV ring made $230,401.

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