TRISTAR Productions, Inc. president Jeff Rosenberg set a record by paying nearly $400,000 for the finest Babe Ruth autographed baseball in existence. The clean, white William Harridge official American League baseball is the only PSA Graded 9.5 Ruth signed ball and drew the largest bid in Heritage Auctions’ event in Baltimore Thursday night.
The realized price of $388, 375 broke the previous record for a price paid for an autographed Ruth baseball at auction.
"This is the Mona Lisa of autographed baseballs, and it is an honor to now own it,” said Rosenberg, just moments after he won the auction, held at the 33rd Annual National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.
The ball was originally given to a Hollywood publicist who worked on “The Babe Ruth Story” by the slugger’s widow shortly after his death. It originally entered the hobby through the publicist's family who consigned it to Hunt Auctions where it sold for $86,000 several years ago. Since then, it's sold a few more times, each for a successively higher amount.
Rosenberg, who founded TRISTAR in 1987, is a major collector of high-end sports memorabilia. TRISTAR is the largest promoter of autograph shows, including running the Autograph Pavilion at the annual National Convention.
TRISTAR produces the Hidden Treasures Autographed Baseball product line, which packages an unknown signed ball in a box.
When asked what his plans are for the ball, Rosenberg replied, "It would be a great Grand Treasure for our Hidden Treasures product line, or even a tremendous item to display in our retail store (TRISTAR Sports Memorabilia at the Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas), but for now we are just going to enjoy the thrill."