World Series baseball program 'most significant post-1900' brings $0.24m

A rare and important 1903 World Series baseball programme, described as "arguably the most significant post-1900 baseball publication ever offered," has been sold for $241,500.

It was auctioned by Hunt Auctions, Inc on Saturday, November 12, at the Louisville Slugger Museum.

The programme for the game, held at Exposition Park, Pittsburgh, is a 'very well preserved' original - remarkably, its bound edge remains intact.

Within the programme's clean pages are photographs of various early-20th century Pirates star players throughout, and various pre-printed line-ups.

"The rarity of this program cannot be overstated with this being, to the best of our knowledge, the only time an example has been offered publicly," said Hunt's lot notes.

According to Hunt, there is one other known copy of this programme in the Baseball Hall of Fame. As one of the sole survivors from National Pastime's very first World Series, the provenance of this programme was billed as "indisputable".

1903 World series baseball programme

1903 World series baseball programme410-2

Rarity, undisputable provenace and suprisingly clean pages saw this
1903 World Series baseball programme sell for $241,500 on Saturday

The programme's condition report mentioned "consistent light toning" to the programme's covers, one of which has a slight tear, and "a pair of vertical fold lines run throughout all pages along with some wrinkling as the program was likely folded in thirds and slid into a back pocket."

Nevertheless, it was clear from the off that any cosmetic scuffs would do little to impact this rare and historic programme's value - hence the near-quarter of a million final price.

Other highlights in Hunt's sale include a Pete Rose autographed 4,000th hit baseball which sold for $66,700, and a baseball signed by Cy Young which brought $51,570.

Baseball collectibles have been hitting other sports collectibles out of the park in 2011.

Other recent successful sales included a baseball jersey worn by New York Yankees hero Lou Gehrig. It comfortably beat its estimate at an auction by Heritage in the US.

The first baseman wore the specially designed uniform during a 1934 tour of Japan with many other greats of the game. It easily surpassed its $300,000 estimate, selling for $507,875 back in April.

This Pete Rose autographed 4,000th hit baseball also sold for $66,700

Signed bats have also sold well on the markets - especially if they are linked to a player named Babe Ruth. Not surprisingly, 'the most famous baseball player of them all' is considered a blue chip among sports collectors.

An auction of Ruth's "most important" bat, the Hillerich & Bradsby bat which he acquired in 1918, brought $537,750 in 2009. It became the prototype bat on which all the future Babe Ruth bats were based.

Elsewhere, another Babe-used bat sold for twice as much. The one he used to launch the first home run at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, 1923, brought a staggering $1.2m in December, 2004.

We've invested in a few pieces of Babe Ruth memorabilia here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, including this autographed vintage glossy 8 x 10inch full-length photo of Ruth clad in his Yankees road uniform taking a practice swing during spring training.

This piece has since been sold - for £7,500 ($12,375) - testament to the continually-growing popularity and rising memorabilia values of America's favourite sport among collectors worldwide.

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