The earliest known game worn Babe Ruth jersey is going on the auction block. SCP Auctions announced Monday that it would offer the 1920 Ruth shirt in its spring auction slated to begin Monday, April 30. Ruth joined the Yankees after being sold by the Boston Red Sox in January of that year.
SCP executives believe bidding will stretch into seven figures.
“This is simply the finest sports artifact we’ve handled in our 30-year history,” said SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “It has it all. You would be hard pressed to dream up a more desirable baseball artifact. The historical impact of Ruth’s emergence in the Big Apple in the early 1920s, combined with the jersey’s superb original condition, makes this a sports treasure of the highest order.”
The jersey had been in a private collection for many years, then displayed at the Ruth Museum in Baltimore from 2004 to 2009. A collector purchased it and has now decided to sell, according to Yahoo Sports.
Only a handful of other pieces of vintage baseball memorabilia have eclipsed the million dollar mark. Topping that list is the PSA 8-graded Honus Wagner tobacco card sold by SCP for $2.8 million in 2007. Some industry experts have speculated that the Ruth jersey could raise the bar set by the Wagner card and make sports memorabilia history as the most expensive single item ever sold.
“It has a definite aura about it,” added SCP Auctions Managing Director Dan Imler. “It is hard to put a value on an item of such singular importance. Ruth was a man of mythic proportions. More than any other man, he transcended sports, achieving a nearly unrivaled status as an American icon. In the process, he changed the game of baseball forever. To think this jersey was worn by him during the most pivotal years of his career, and arguably the most consequential years in baseball history, makes this one of the finest sports artifacts we’ll see in our lifetime.”
Bidding will be conducted online at SCPAuctions.com and is slated to close May 19. The spring auction will also feature hundreds of other historically-significant sports memorabilia items and cards. For more information on how to participate, visit www.scpauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.