It had been tucked into a box, stored in a garage for 20 years and never actually thought to be a valuable piece of baseball history, even by the family of the man who originally received it.
Now, it’s the most expensive baseball glove ever sold.
A Babe Ruth model glove netted $1,527,500 Saturday afternoon at the annual Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum Auction, an important relic gifted from the man himself to fellow major leaguer Jimmy Austin decades ago.
There’s no word on the identity of the winning bidder.
Jimmy and The Babe
The white leather glove was consigned Austin’s niece who inherited it many years ago but never thought it had a potential connection to Ruth using it. However, extensive authentication processes have confirmed its manufacture by Spalding for specific use by Ruth. Most notably, an audio recording from 1964 used for the legendary baseball volume “The Glory of Their Times” by Lawrence Ritter offers confirmation from Austin that Ruth presented the glove directly to him. Austin died less than a year after the recording was made.
“The glove had rested in a box for the last 30 years until we learned of its history and heard the amazing audio recording of my Uncle Jim fondly recalling his dear friend Babe Ruth,” Susan Kolokoff said. “I am completely stunned by the discovery of the glove’s story and can only imagine the smile that Uncle Jim would flash knowing that this incredible piece of baseball history has now established a world record price. Incredible.”
In recent weeks, photos emerged that appear to show Ruth holding the glove, which has some dark stains that could be tobacco juice.
In 2014, Hunt sold a Lou Gehrig model glove at the annual MLB All-Star Auction for $287,500.
Ruth Ball, Jackie 1/1 Auto
Another Ruth item that delivered on pre-sale expectations at the 19th annual Louisville sale was a single-signed Ruth baseball considered one of the best known of the many that have survived. Originally owned by the late Rich Altman, a longtime dealer and graded 8 by PSA/DNA, the ball sold for $188,000. It included its original Reach baseball bag. The ball is believed to have been one of three that three that Ruth signed for naval officers at a War Bond event in the early 1940s.
Another ball signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig, also graded 8, hammered at $60,000.
An autographed copy of the 1948 Swell Sport Thrills Jackie Robinson “Dramatic Debut” rookie card was the third highest selling item.
The card is the only example to have been authenticated by PSA/DNA who graded the autograph 9 MINT with no other signed copies known to exist in any grade. The card sold for $82,250.