There were reportedly higher offers in the days before and immediately after it landed in the glove of a baseball fan, but Aaron Judge’s 62nd home run ball went to auction and sold Saturday night for $1.5 million.
The ball was the headliner in Goldin’s December Elite sale. It was caught on the fly by Cory Youmans, a vice president at a branch of Fisher Investments in Texas, who was at Globe Life Field when Judge broke the 61-year-old American League single season home run record set by Roger Maris.
Six bids were placed on the ball, which opened at $1 million on November 29. The final bid that won the auction was the only bid placed after Dec. 7.
Last month, Goldin sold Albert Pujols’ 700th home run ball for $360,000.
Youmans’ attorney had told ESPN in October that he had received offers as high as $3 million. Before Judge reached 62, another auction company promised to pay $2 million.
“While a private sale is certainly appealing, and there’s nothing wrong with $3 million, people may not appreciate that this is not Hal Steinbrenner calling and say, ‘Hey, I’ll write you a check for $3 million or Aaron Judge saying, ‘I’ll write you a check,” Youmans told the Action Network. “This comes through art dealers and law firms and there’s not a lot of transparency. And I have concerns about selling the ball that way.”
The winning bidder is an avid sports fan from Wisconsin who is a private collector of high-end sports memorabilia.
“Joe” also purchased Tiger Woods’ autographed “Sunday red” shirt from the 2010 Masters Tournament and Woods’ first professional hole-in-one ball in another auction last weekend. He cited the Judge ball’s “huge historical value and arguably the greatest home run season in baseball history” as reasons he decided to go after it.
“I feel Aaron Judge being a Yankee and playing for the most storied franchise in baseball make this ball an incredible value,” he told SC Daily late Saturday night. “I hope he has a fabulous Yankee career and hits 61 home runs every year. But, yes I personally thought the ball was worth $3M or more as it was alleged there had been offers in that range but in an auction you sometimes get lucky like I feel I did today.”
Joe said he wasn’t expecting to win the auction, so he’s not sure what he plans to do with it. “I love the option to share with the public so millions can enjoy the ball,” he stated. “I am just enjoying the moment for now but as a collector and investor I will leave every option open for those who want to enjoy the ball.”
Joe has already shared part of his large collection through loans to various museums including the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
While it’s possible Youmans may have cost himself some money by waiting to consign the ball, it still wasn’t a bad return considering his investment: the price of a ticket.
“Multiple players have hit more home runs in a season but in many peoples’ eyes, Aaron Judge is the true record-holder,” said Goldin Executive Chairman and Founder Ken Goldin. “The fact that this is the second highest total ever paid for a baseball speaks to the respect that fans and collectors have for Aaron. That’s the magic of sports – this ball didn’t only change Aaron’s life, it changed the life of the fan who was in the stadium that night too. We’re so proud to have been trusted by Cory to present this piece of history for public auction.”
Trading cards were a big part of the auction. Among those sold:
- 2000 Playoff Championship Ticket Tom Brady Rookie Autograph PSA 8 $690,000
- 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James Rookie Patch Autograph BGS 9/10 auto $420,000
- 2003-04 Topps Chrome Gold LeBron James Rookie #42/50 BGS 9.5 $420,000
- 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter Rookie PSA 10 $201,000
- 1990 Frank Thomas “no name” printing error PSA 10 (only Gem Mint copy) $170,400
- 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite 1/1 Jalen Hurts Rookie BGS 9.5 $144,000 (record for any Hurts card)
A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded 5 by SGC sold for $180,000 while the 1937 Heisman Trophy awarded to Yale halfback Clint Frank netted $228,000. It had sold at auction in 2018 for $312,000.