A rookie season game-used bat from legendary baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson has set a new house record at Heritage Auctions.
The bat is the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia ever sold by the auction house, having realised $956,000 at the February 22-23 Platinum Night Auction in New York. It was estimated at more than $500,000.
Graded PSA/DNA GU 9, it is certified as "the only Joe Jackson bat in existence that is factory documented as being game used by Jackson during his Major League career". With Jackson considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, it is certainly among the finest pieces of baseball memorabilia in existence.
The bat comes from Jackson's inaugural season, in which he set a batting average record for a rookie - a mark that stands to this day. This factor was a major influence on the bat's strong price.
Even greats such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb paid testament to Jackson's contribution to the sport, with Ruth saying: "I copied Jackson's style because I thought he was the greatest hitter I had ever seen, the greatest natural hitter I ever saw. He's the guy who made me a hitter."
Cobb added: "Whenever I got the idea I was a good hitter, I'd stop and take a look at [Joe Jackson]. Then I knew I could stand some improvement."
Sadly, Jackson's reputation was forever tarnished by his involvement in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, in which he and fellow teammates were accused of accepting bribes to throw the World Series. However, the scandal is now part of baseball history and only adds to the bat's appeal for collectors.
Also starring with a $500,000+ estimate was the pocket watch presented to Babe Ruth in 1923 as the Yankees clinched victory over rivals New York Giants in the World Series.
A magnificent artefact from the Yankees' first ever World Series win, and a testament to Ruth's superlative career, the watch made $717,000. It was given by Ruth on his deathbed to friend Charlie Schwefel, with the inscription, "To My Pal Charles Schwefel" inside.
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