NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Just call him the sultan of the auction block.
A baseball jersey worn by Babe Ruth sold for more than $4.4 million Sunday, a record for any item of sports memorabilia, according to the buyer and seller.
SCP Auctions, based in California, said the circa 1920 New York Yankees uniform top is the earliest known jersey worn by Ruth and it fetched $4,415,658 at the company’s April auction, which ended Sunday. That price broke the previous record of $4,338,500 set in 2010 for James Naismith’s founding rules of basketball.
“We are honored to, once again, be a part of history,” SCP Auctions president David Kohler said in a statement. “This proves again that Babe Ruth is ‘king’ in the sports memorabilia world.”
There were 36 bids placed on The Bambino’s gray road jersey. The auction began at $250,000.
Lelands.com said it submitted the winning bid for the jersey, which had been displayed for years at The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore. The road top has “New York” written across the front and the Hall of Fame slugger wore it shortly after he was sold to the Yankees by the Boston Red Sox for $100,000 following the 1919 season.
Suzan French, a spokeswoman for Lelands.com, said the company plans to sell the jersey privately rather than re-auction it.
“Such a spectacular piece will find a home with one of our private clients who truly appreciates its historic significance,” Lelands.com president Michael Heffner said in a statement.
Ruth retired in 1935 with 714 home runs, the major league record for nearly 40 years. Hank Aaron broke that mark and then was passed by Barry Bonds, who finished with 762.
“The magnitude of this offering cannot be overstated,” the description on SCPAuctions.com read. “Like the man himself, this jersey is a treasure for the ages.”
A Ruth baseball cap owned — and worn before a game in 1997 — by ex-Yankees starter David Wells also sold at auction $537,278.
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