A jersey photo matched to use by Kobe Bryant during some of the first playoff games in his career sold for $2,735,546 early Sunday, making it the second most expensive basketball jersey ever sold at auction.
Not known until it was consigned to SCP Auctions by the original owner earlier this year, characteristics of the jersey were matched to use during two Lakers playoff games against the Utah Jazz during Bryant’s rookie season of 1996-97.
As we reported last month, the jersey was also matched to additional regular season games late that season and to a 1997-98 Bryant basketball card.
Another Bryant rookie jersey established the record price of $3.69 million in May of 2021 and it was that sale that spurred the owner of the playoff jersey to come forward and offer it for sale.
The only known autographed copy of Bryant’s 1997 Skybox Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems card also drew a crowd of well funded collectors. Carrying a single name “Kobe” signature from the late superstar rating a 9 from PSA, the card sold for $403,664.
It wasn’t just modern material that pushed auction proceeds well into seven figures, though. In fact, vintage pieces were responsible for a large chunk of that amount. One of eight PSA authenticated copies of Babe Ruth’s 1933 Goudey #181 card sold for $275,696 while an early 1920s Ruth game model bat went for $227,856.
“The overall auction brought extremely strong numbers and many record sales,” remarked SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “The auction total went over $8 million, which is the second biggest auction in company history. This incredible sale happened amidst stock market volatility and war overseas, too.”
A pair of unsigned PSA 8 1934 Goudey Gehrig cards each netted over $137,000 including the buyer’s premium while a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card in the same grade sold for $342,379 and an SGC 6 copy of Mantle’s iconic 1952 Topps card reached $103,577, the second highest price ever attained for the grade. A 1914 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson graded PSA 1.5 sold for $97,710, a record price for the grade.
A 1947 ticket stub from Jackie Robinson’s major league debut–one of only eight authenticated by PSA–sold for $230,291 while an original wire photo from that April afternoon soared to $103,163.
Other photo sales included a shot taken in 1920 by legendary photographer Paul Thompson of Babe Ruth during his first season with the Yankees that went for $40,819, a 1923 New York Yankees team photograph that sold for $30,629, and a Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio passport photo that brought $24,244.
Several PSA registered vintage card sets sold, topped by the 15th rated 1955 Topps set. With all but two cards rating 8 or higher, it sold for $110,293.
A collection of baseball advertising, much of it dating to a century ago, was among the featured attractions in the sale. The top selling piece was a circa 1910 Tuxedo Tobacco ad that went for just over $50,000.
Championship jewelry was a hot commodity in the sale, particularly DeShawn Stevenson’s 2011 Dallas Mavericks NBA championship ring, which sold for $73,253.
Complete results can be found here.