The Most Expensive Sports Memorabilia Ever Sold Has Us Digging Through Our Card Collection
Did you ever collect baseball cards as a child? Hopefully, you didn't throw them away when you grew up! Those little knickknacks you collected years ago might be worth millions of dollars today. For example, Honus Wagner's 1909 card sold for $2.8 million in 2007! Maybe you have a signed baseball you've held on throughout the years or a sentimental jersey passed down from father to son. If you've ever wondered how much the most valued sports memorabilia in the world sold for, we have the answers. Honus Wagner is only the tip of the iceberg!
The 1962 GT Racing Series Ferrari 250 Was Bought For $38 Million
Far and away the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, a 1962 Ferrari 250 fetched $38 million at auction in 2015. The GT series racer was captained by Jo Schlesser, Henri Oreiller, Fabrizio Violati, Ernesto Prinoth, and Paolo Columbo during its prime.
Amazingly, the original price tag of the car was only $18,000. Using an inflation calculator, that number equals $151,000 in 2018. The day the car was auctioned was great for the owner at the time. There's no better feeling like being handed $38 million for an $18,000 investment! Or so we imagine.
Babe Ruth's 1920 Jersey Sold For $4.45 Million
Get ready to see a lot of Babe Ruth on this list. The former home run king has stood the test of time as one of the greatest baseball players to ever hold a bat in his hands. His 1920 Yankees jersey is the most expensive piece of baseball sports memorabilia ever sold. At an auction in 2012 it went to the highest bidder for $4.45 million.
The jersey is so valuable because it is the considered the oldest Yankees' jersey ever worn by the Babe. Until being auctioned off, it was kept safe at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum.
The Original Rules Of Basketball Are Worth A Small Fortune
James Naismith wrote the original rules of basketball in 1891. Until Babe Ruth made history with his 1920 jersey, Naismith's original rules of the basketball set the memorabilia mark, selling for $4.3 million in 2010.
When Naismith wrote the outline for the sport, there were 13 rules. The paper he wrote those sacred rules on now belong to David Booth, who hopes to put them on display at the University of Kansas, his alma mater. When Booth was asked how much higher he was willing to bid to own this major piece of sports history, he said, "it was getting close."
The Rules Of Baseball Sold In 2016 For $3.26 Million
Over 30 years before the rules of basketball were written, the rules of baseball made their debut. The document, titled "The Laws of Baseball" was sold to an anonymous bidder for $3.26 million in 2016. The sale of the rule book made it the second most expensive piece of baseball memorabilia ever sold.
Written by Daniel Lucius Adams, the laws spell out the general guidelines players are teams are meant to follow, including how heavy or light the ball can be and where each defender can positioned before a play.
Mark McGwire's Iconic 70th Home Run Sold For $3 Million
The sports world was abuzz in 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased history to break the single season home run record. McGwire won the race, hitting 70 bombs. When the ball was put up for auction, it was sold for $3 million.
Throughout the '90s, there was no greater show in sports than "Big Mac." The all-star slugger knocked one out of the park every 10.61 at bats, He made 12 all-star teams in 16 years and retired with 583 total home runs.
Let's Talk About That 1909 Honus Wagner Baseball Card
Honus Wagner played 21 seasons in MLB, splitting time between the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman" and was a member of the sport's first ever Hall of Fame class. In 2007, his card sold for $2.8 million.
The reason Wagner's card likely fetched such a high price was because of how rare it was. He refused the makers of the card, the American Tobacco Company, to feature him. His reason was simple; he didn't want children buying cigarettes.
A Mint Condition Mickey Mantle Card Is Worth Up To $1.3 Million
If you've been sitting on a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card, maybe now is the time to sell it. In 2016, a near mint condition version of the card sold for $1.3 million, making it the second card in history to go for seven digits!
In 1952, Mantle played his first full season with the New York Yankees and left an indelible mark on baseball. He hit 23 home runs and knocked in 94 runs. By the time he retired in 1968 he was a 20 time all-star and seven time World Series champions.
Canadian Hero Paul Henderson's 1972 Jersey Sold For $1.275 Million
Paul Henderson is probably the least recognizable name you'll see on this list. His 1972 jersey, however, lives in sports history after his hockey heroics in Canada's "Summit Series" against the USSR. Henderson scored the winning goals for Canada in the final three games, turning him into a national legend.
One of his most dramatic goals in the series came with 34 seconds left. The historic jersey Henderson wore during the series sold for $1.275 million in 2012. You might not know the man behind the jersey, but now you know the legend he became!
The Bat That Hit Babe Ruth's First Home Run Sold For $1.265 million
Here's Babe Ruth again; this time with one of his most historic bats. This bat, which sold for $1.265 million in 2004 was used to hit his first home run as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium. While it might not be the bat he hit number 715 with, it is still considered more valuable.
Ruth started his career as with the Boston Red Sox, before ending up in pinstripes and cursing New England. Adding insult to injury, the Red Sox broke the "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004, the same year this bat was auctioned off by Sotheby's.
The Sheffield Football Club Rule, Regulations, And Laws Cost A Player's Salary To Obtain
We're not talking American football with this one. Sheffield Football Club (FC) is the oldest active soccer team in the world. In 1857, the FC published a book containing the sports' rules and regulations. It is believed to be the first official rules ever written. It was sold by the team to raise funds in 2011 for $1.24 million.
The rules were written one year after the football club formed, and many of the rules still stand today. A few of the rules that haven't changed in over 100 years including the illegal tripping and indirect free-kicks.
Muhammad Ali's 1965 Gloves Aren't His Most Valuable But Still Sold For Over $1.1 Million
Muhammad Ali fought Floyd Patterson in 1965. The gloves he wore during the iconic fight sold for $1.1 million in 2015. As it stands, the gloves are the most expensive piece of Ali memorabilia ever sold, but probably not the most valuable that ever will be.
According to analysts, if gloves from Ali's first fight with Joe Frazier, or the "Thrilla in Manilla," were ever put up for auction, they would far exceed the value of his Patterson fight ones.
Babe Ruth's First Yankees Contract Sold For Ten Times Its Value!
The Yankees bough the rights to Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox in 1919 for $100,000. When the owner of the contract privately sold it decades later, the final price was $996,000. That's an impressive return on investment for the former owner of the contract that made sports history!
At the time, however, the price to acquire Ruth was seen as ludicrous. Ruth rewarded the Yankees by hitting 54 home runs his first season and becoming, arguably, the greatest player in history. Even today, few MLB stars have come close to eclipsing what Ruth accomplished 100 years ago.
The First FA Cup Bid By Telephone Sold For $956,000
In 1997, the oldest version of the Football Association Challenge Cup was sold to a bidder by telephone for $956,000. The cup, one of four produced, was awarded to the winner of the tournament every year between 1896 and 1910.
Known more simply as the FA Cup, the tournament was founded in 1871 and is the most highly regarded competition in England. Currently, 736 teams are eligible to enter the competition. Arsenal has dominated in recent years and count a total of 12 up titles to their name.
The Jersey Babe Ruth Wore To Call His Shot In 1932 Sold For $940,000
During the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth stepped up the plate with the score tied 4-4. Before he got into his batting stance, Ruth pointed into the stands. He proceeded to hit a home run to the exact spot in the crowd he had pointed to.
The jersey he wore when he called his shot sold decades later for $940,000. The gesture cemented Ruth's place as a cultural icon, and the sale of the jersey also proves that he might also be the most marketable athlete of all time. Imagine if he played today how many sponsorship deals he would have!
The First Home Run Hit During An All-Star Game Sold For Close To $1 Million
If you thought you were done hearing about how much Babe Ruth memorabilia has sold for, then we apologize. In 1933, Ruth became the first MLB star to hit a home run in the league's all-star game. The highly sought after piece of memorabilia eventually sold for $805,000.
Ruth hit two home runs in the game, but the first ball was the valuable one. The 1933 match was the first ever held by the league. It took place at Comiskey Park and drew a crowd of 49,000.
Babe Ruth Back At It Again With His World Tour Jersey
Babe Ruth's 1934 World Tour jersey is special. The outfit was worn by the Babe during a offseason trip to Japan, then sparingly in exhibition games after. Normally a unique uniform like this wouldn't garner much attention. This one sold in 2005 for $771,000 thanks in large part to its relatively pristine condition.
In most cases, memorabilia buyers want to buy items with wear and tear. A little damage proves the item is actually games used. Just like Ruth, his World Tour jersey defied the odds to become a must have collectors item for one lucky person.
1933 Was A Big Year For Babe Ruth Memorabilia
In 1933, Babe Ruth's career was starting to wind down. He hit .310 with 34 home runs and 103 runs batted in during the season and was elected to his first all-star game. You already know how much his home run bat cost but if you have a Ruth jersey from the same season, you could sell it for around $650,000.
After the 1934 season, Babe Ruth retired, leaving an incredible legacy behind him. It would take over 40 years for another player to hit more home runs. That player was Hank Aaron.
Hank Aaron's Record Setting Home Run Ball Is Worth $650,000
Hank Aaron officially became MLB's all-time home run leader when he retired in 1976 with 755 bombs to his name. His final home run ball, which he hit on July 20, 1976, was sold in the mid '90s for $650,000. His reign as home run king ended in 2007, when Barry Bonds called it a career with 762 home runs.
Aaron also finished his career with a record 25 All-Star Game selections. In 1957, the all-time great won the World Series, three years after his Major League debut.
The "Fight of the Century" Gloves Fought Their Way To A $200,000 Payday
Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier in 1971 in what was dubbed "Fight of the Century." The bout ended in victory for Ali, and the sale of his gloves in 2016 was a win for owner Jeff Rosenberg. Rosenberg had bought the gloves in 2014 for $388,375. He sold them for $606,375 two years later.
Rosenberg made his shrewd business move a few months after Ali passed away, which ended up tripling the value of the sportswear. The gloves, however, did not fetch more than his 1965 pair as many analysts had predicted previously.
Bill Tilden's Wimbledon Trophy Was Sold Too Soon
Bill Tilden won the Wimbledon men's tournament in 1920. His trophy is the most expensive piece of tennis memorabilia ever sold, despite a low cost of $71,000. The price might not earn it a place on this list, except for the fact that it's estimated to be worth nearly $1 million in 2018.
The trophy was originally sold by Christie's Auction House in 1992. Over two decade later it has aged incredibly well, although it might never be put up for sale again. Then again, if we were the owner, knowing the true value might just change our minds.