One of three promissory notes involved in the selling of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees– along with a Ruth bat and vintage photo– drew a crowd of serious bidders in Lelands recent catalog sale.
The Curse is no more, but Red Sox fans still rue the day when owner Harry Frazee sold a promising young player named Babe Ruth to the rival Yankees.
It’s the most infamous transaction in baseball history and late last week, one of three promissory notes issued by the Yankees to complete the deal sold for $31,329 in a sale conducted by sports memorabilia auctioneer Lelands. With the buyer’s premium added, the final realized price for the framed document was $37,439. The three $25,000 notes combined with a final cash payment of $25,000 constituted the $100,000 price New York paid to get Ruth from the cash-strapped Frazee in the early 1920s. The note once resided in the collection of super collector Barry Halper, who died in 2005.
Two other Ruth items were popular in the catalog sale. An original 1920s Ruth photo brought $26,349 including the buyer’s premium, while a 1918-22 Ruth game-used bat sold for $25,616. The price paid for the photograph was one of the highest sales ever recorded for vintage sports photography
The highest realized price in the sale, however, came courtesy of another Yankee. A game-worn jersey once donned by Yogi Berra in 1958, sold for $66,441.
A 1939 player’s contract signed by Josh Gibson brought $32,862 while a 1957 gold glove award issued to Willie Mays sold for $36,129, even though the glove portion of the award was actually from another of the Sey Hey Kid’s gold glove-winning seasons.
The uniform that was likely the last ever worn by Roberto Clemente sold for $25,616. It was a national team uniform from Clemente’s stint as manager of the Puerto Rican team in the Amateur Baseball World Championship.
The Sharpie that Terrell Owens pulled out of his sock after catching a touchdown pass and used to sign the ball for his business manager in 2002 is now the world’s most valuable felt marker. It went for $3,654.
The auction resulted in bids of $2.75 million.
Other highlights of the sale included:
- Bobby Orr 1975-76 game worn jersey $34, 931
- 1958-59 Pierre Pilote Blackhawks game worn jersey $23,714
- 1910 Jack Johnson vs James Jeffries litho poster $20,627
- 1961-62 Red Kelly Maple Leafs game-worn jersey $17,047
- Jim Corbett champion of the world trophy $20,852