Five months after it sold at auction, the only known Jackie Robinson rookie year game jersey has sold again, this time for $2.6 million. The company says its “Make Offer to Owner” program recently closed a deal between the winning auction bidder and the new buyer, who paid $550,000 more than what the jersey sold for in November, when it hammered for $2.05 million.
“The winning bidder in November is one of the savviest collectors we know,” explained Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage. “He’s a believer that if you buy the best of the best, there will always be somebody out there willing to pay more. That philosophy really paid off for him here.”
The jersey is the most expensive post-War baseball jersey ever sold. It originated with Robinson’s widow Rachel and has been photo-matched to use during Robinson’s historic season of 1947.
Heritage says its Make Offer to Owner program (MOTO) has put over $25 million in the pockets of winning bidders since its 2009 rollout. The $550,000 increase in value of Robinson’s rookie jersey is the service’s single largest transaction.
The program set a record in 2017 as single-year sales surged to more than $10 million. Clients who enroll in MOTO have the opportunity to bid on items in select auctions within 72 hours after the conclusion of the sale for all items that have been in inventory for more than 30 days. Those who make an anonymous offer have their information transmitted by Heritage to the lot’s owner, who then has the option of accepting or rejecting the offer, or presenting a counteroffer for the MOTO client’s consideration. Heritage retains 10 percent of the total price as a commission but waives all other fees. Recent transactions include:
* $202,000: Brooks Robinson’s 1964 American League Most Valuable Player Award (MOTO sale marked a bump of nearly 24 percent over the original auction price).
* $135,000: The Finest-Graded Sporting Life Cabinet Card Featuring Honus Wagner circa 1902-1911 (35% profit for auction buyer).
* $125,000: T206 Piedmont Walter Johnson Portrait, PSA Mint 9, circa 1909-11 (61% return).
* $120,000: 1986 World Series “Last Out” Baseball from The Gary Carter Collection (61% return).
* $110,000: Honus Wagner’s Game Used Decal Bat, PSA/DNA GU 8, circa 1905-10 (119% return).
* $110,000: 1932 U.S. Caramel Babe Ruth #32 PSA NM-MT 8 (up from $83,650).