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Babe Ruth jersey sells for $4.4 million

05/21/2012 2:26 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

This Babe Ruth jersey sold for a record $4.4 million in an auction that ended last weekend.(AP/SCPAuctions.com)

Babe Ruth’s old Boston-area home has been on the market for a couple weeks now, going for an asking price of $1.65 million.

Over the weekend, the world found out that the shirt off Babe’s back is apparently worth nearly three times as much as the closet he once kept it in.

According to seller SCP Auctions, a circa-1920 New York Yankees uniform top – the earliest known jersey worn by The Bambino – sold for a record $4,415,658 in an auction that ended on Sunday. That total bests the previous high-water mark memorabilia item, the original copy of Dr. James Naismith’s founding rules of basketball, which sold for $4.3385 million in 2010.

The reported winner of the auction was Lelands.com, another internet sports memorabilia auctioneer, which plans to sell the jersey privately, according to a spokesperson who spoke to the Associated Press.

"Such a spectacular piece will find a home with one of our private clients who truly appreciates its historic significance," Lelands.com president Michael Heffner said in a statement.

The jersey, which has most recently been displayed at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, isn’t the only piece of the Sultan of Swat’s wardrobe that fetched big bucks in SCP’s recent auction lot. A 1934 Yankees cap that was owned by David Wells – and worn by Boomer during a 1997 start – recently sold for more than half a million dollars, which was a record for a baseball cap, and a game-used bat from the 1930s sold for nearly $600,000.

"This proves again that Babe Ruth is 'king' in the sports memorabilia world," SCP Auctions president David Kohler said in a statement.

On Monday's Mike's On broadcast, however, Mike Francesa questioned the validity of the auction, leading to the below exchange with Kohler on the WFAN and YES Network airwaves:

 

Other Yankees items from the same lot included an autographed 1968 Mickey Mantle road jersey that went for just under $367,000, and a circa-1931 game-worn Lou Gehrig home jersey that found a new home for just over $275,000.

SCP was also the auction house that was selling Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl XXV ring last week, a piece of jewelry that was won by a final bid of $230,401.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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