One of only two known surviving copies of the first World Series program sold at auction Saturday for a record-setting price of $241,500, the highest price ever paid for a World Series program. The only other program seen in public resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The winner, whose name hasn’t been revealed, placed the winning bid of $210,00 over the phone during Hunt Auctions’ live event at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. The realized price for the 1903 Series program included a 15% buyer’s premium. The first World Series, a best of nine games affair, pitted Honus Wagner and the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Boston Americans. Boston won the series five games to three.
The 8th annual auction attracted hundreds of rare and vintage pieces of baseball memorabilia.
The program was part of a large collection of vintage World Series programs sold Saturday. A 1908 example, from the Cubs’ last championship, brought $32,200 including the buyer’s premium.
A game-worn Rose jersey dating from 1971, sold for $21,850.
Several scarce single-signed baseballs attracted a crowd of autograph collectors including a 1931 Cy Young that went for $51,750 and a 1938 signed ball from Cuban baseball legend Martin Dihigo ($29, 900).
Several championship rings were in the auction including a 2004 Red Sox World Series ring, believed to be only the second ever sold at auction. It drew a realized price of $50,600 while a 2008 Phillies World Series ring went for $25,300.
Rare memorabilia included a 1910 Christy Mathewson hand-written letter ($29,900), a 1950s Yogi Berra signed pro model catcher’s mitt ($28,750) and a 1970-72 era Roberto Clemente game used hat ($16,100).
Dozens of vintage baseball cards also sold including a near set of T206 cards, pieced together in the 1980s and offered at auction for the first time. Mixed in grade, it was missing only the Wagner, Plank, Magie error, O’Hara, Lundgren, Elberfeld and Demmitt. The winning bidder will pay $28,750.