Sports memorabilia market - 2014 auction review

Baseball memorabilia has stolen the headlines in 2014. We've witnessed several important sales this year, including Babe Ruth's Red Sox/Yankees contract tipping the $1m mark at Goldin Auctions.

Basketball memorabilia has enjoyed a fresh wave of popularity, with Michael Jordan's career the most celebrated by collectors.

2013 brought momentum to the market for golf memorabilia after Heritage Auctions announced a major dedicated sale. This has continued in 2014, with the sector becoming a regular fixture in sports memorabilia auctions.

Top sports memorabilia sale of 2014

Babe Ruth contract
The contract granted Ruth a $1,500 pay rise at the Red Sox

In July, Goldin Auctions announced the sale of Babe Ruth's 1918 contract with the Boston Red Sox, an incredibly important piece of sports memorabilia.

Ruth's contract lasted until his controversial move to the New York Yankees in 1920, which supposedly brought the "Curse of the Bambino" down on the Red Sox.

The contract sold was Ruth's own copy, and bore his signature along with those of some of the most important figures in the history of baseball. It sold for $1m to mark the top sale of 2014.

See the top 10 sports memorabilia auctions this year.

2014's important sports memorabilia sales

Described by Babe Ruth as "the greatest natural hitter I ever saw", Shoeless Joe Jackson's bats are some of the most coveted of all sports memorabilia. His 1911 rookie bat, one of just a few bats used by Jackson extant, sold for $956,000 at Heritage Auctions in February setting a new house record for sports memorabilia.

Muhammad Ali's gloves worn against Sonny Liston in his first heavyweight championship win sold for an outstanding $836,500 at Heritage Auctions, coming close to the $1.1m record for boxing memorabilia, held by another pair of Ali gloves.

The watch presented to Babe Ruth following the Yankees' first World Series win, in 1923, made $717,000 in February, while the watch he was given at his last appearance at Yankee Stadium sold through SCP Auctions for $650,000 in June.

With Olympic memorabilia still riding high, a rare Olympic torch used in the 1956 Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden sold for $412,500 in April.

The record for a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth card was raised by 11.3% at Memory Lane, with a final bid of $66,000.

Sir Stanley Matthews' FA Cup winner's medal set a new football medal world record at $347,000 at Graham Budd Auctions.

It was a breakout year for…

LeBron James emerged as a star of the basketball memorabilia market, with the jersey he wore in the 2014 playoffs selling for $50,000 just weeks after the now famous "cramp game".

It was a year to forget for…

Former England footballer David James, who was declared bankrupt and forced to sell his entire career collection at auction. Sadly, there was little interest in the sale from fans.

One you may have missed…

The 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan card, considered the most desirable and valuable trading card printed in the latter half of the 20th century, made an appearance at Heritage Auctions in October, valued at $80,000+.

However, it appears the market wasn't quite ready and the card failed to find a buyer.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock