Babe Ruth's Yankees jersey sells for $286,500 at Heritage Auctions

The world record for an unworn item of sports memorabilia has been set by Babe Ruth's final Yankees jersey, which sold at Heritage Auctions' May 2-4 Signature Sports Collectibles auction in Dallas.

Babe Ruth's last Yankees jersey
Ruth probably never wore the jersey, which was made as a memento of his career with the Yankees

The 1935 jersey was never used by Ruth, due to his off-season trade to the Boston Braves. Nonetheless, it sold for $286,800, just short of the $300,000+ estimate.

The earliest known jersey worn by Ruth at the Yankees sold for $4.4m in 2012, setting the world record for any item of sports memorabilia.

Making for a fantastic display piece, the jersey shows the poor health Ruth was in during the final years of his career, measuring 27 inches across the chest.

It also features the so-called "fat strap" - a band of cloth sewn to the rear tail of Ruth's shirts to stop his protruding stomach from untucking the jersey during play.  

The shirt was accompanied in the sale by Babe Ruth's last contract with the Yankees - a token gesture made out to the value of one dollar, which the Sultan of Swat declined to grace with his signature.

Babe Ruth Final Contract
The final insult - The Bambino never accepted the payment of one dollar

Both items were given to Al Hefner, a young radio broadcaster, shortly after a charity game in 1939. A letter of provenance from Hefner's wife explains: "This baseball uniform (NY #3) was given as a gift to my husband Al Helfer by Babe Ruth because of their similar size and Babe told Al to keep it as a memento."

The world record price for a post-career baseball bat was also set during the auction, with Ruth's 1941 signed, exhibition game-used bat and ball selling for $71,700.

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