Private collectors quietly bought some of the "I’m sorry I bet" autographed Pete Rose baseballs this year for as much as $10,000 according to Victor Moreno of American Memorabilia.
Steiner Sports also sold a number of the balls for several hundred dollars each according to company President Brandon Steiner.
Rose told CNN’s Glenn Beck he "didn’t sign many", and that because he didn’t know how the balls given "to a friend who was going to put them away" had gotten into the marketplace, he would sign more of them for fans who wanted to have the inscription.
Rose spends 15 days a month signing, for a pre-set price, at Field of Dreams in Caesar’s Las Vegas and told Beck he would be back there Thursday to begin autographing balls with that inscription if fans desired.
>Robert Edward auctions is scheduled to sell a group of 30 of the "confession balls" as part of their April auction. Early reports on Monday indicated the origin of the balls may stem not from a guilty conscience, but rather from Rose’s desire to increase his income. The balls REA is auctioning were part of the Barry Halper estate. Halper’s massive collection was sold some time ago, but he apparently acquired several items afterward, including this group of baseballs.
REA President Rob Lifson told SportsCollectorsDaily that he believes 303 exist since Rose numbered each ball with an "of 303" notation. Not nearly that many have surfaced as of yet, however. Rose’s business manager, Warren Greene, indicated he believed the balls were signed informally and number far less than the "303" designation written on them.Typical Rose single-signed baseballs typically sell for $25-50 each. Lifson indicated the "confession" balls would be sent in for authentication but if there is no exclusive arrangement regarding the inscription, it’s likely their value could be affected negatively should Rose and Greene opt to do another signing using the same phrase.
Later Monday, Greene told the Associated Press that a collector who got some of the "I’m sorry" baseballs gave 30 of them to Halper, a limited partner in the New York Yankees who died last December. Greene indicated the balls were given to Rose’s friends as a special gift.
Rose spends a lot of time these days at Field of Dreams in Caesar’s Las Vegas, waiting for fans to plunk down cash in exchange for an autograph.