Over time, sports have become more than just a form of entertainment for people. To some loyal sports fans, the athletes and the exceptional moments they create for the history of the sport are more precious than anything else in the world. For them, anything related to sports and the athletes, are considered rare and precious. Sports memorabilia may include pictures, jerseys, sports cards, banners, balls, bats, etc. Let us take a look at 10 Most Valuable Sports Memorabilia.
Most Valuable Sports Memorabilia
10. Babe Ruth “Called Shot” Jersey
Perhaps the list would not have been complete without a Babe Ruth Memorabilia at the start and the end, because of his remarkable career of almost 21 years from 1914 to 1935. Ruth played as a pitcher and right fielder, and he was most known for his home run power. He earned the greatest fame for his time with the Yankees. In 1932, while playing in the world series for the Yankees, there was a tie of scores at four in the third game against the Chicago Cubs in the fifth innings.
The Cubs had been giving a hard time to Ruth about his hitting. Ruth emerged on the field and pointing to the bleachers in the center field, he hit that year’s fifteenth home run exactly where he had pointed. This legendary shot came to be known as Babe’s called shot. The jersey he wore sold for $940,000. And for that, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
9. Babe Ruth Yankees Contract with Boston Red Sox
One of the items that have Babe Ruth’s name on it is once again on this list, and rightly so, not only because of its association with Babe Ruth but also because of Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, two of the greatest names in the industry of baseball. American team Boston Red Sox is based in while The New York Yankees in the Bronx borough of New York City, both competing as Major League Baseball members of the East Division of the American League.
In 1919, Red Sox sold one of their best players, Babe Ruth, to the Yankees. The contract shows that it was for an amount of $100,000, causing the Sox to enter a slump of 86 years. The contract, which also mentioned that the first payment would be returned if Ruth didn’t show up for training, sold for $996,000 in 2005. It definitely deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
8. Muhammad Ali’s Boxing Gloves from the Fight against Floyd Patterson
Muhammad Ali, born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., is a former American professional boxer. Fans still consider him as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Even after being a controversial figure, fans voted him as one of the world’s leading sportsmen in the century. One of the most remarkable and memorable matches of Ali was a fight against Floyd Patterson back in the year 1965, during a heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas in Nevada, which was the second championship of Ali.
It was not until the 12th round that Ali landed the knockout punch, and it is believed by many that the taunts that Patterson threw his way upset him, enough to make him prolong the fight that long. The boxing gloves that Ali wore during this memorable match were sold for a gigantic $1.1 million. And for that, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
7. Babe Ruth Bat from First Home Run at Yankee Stadium
Babe Ruth is back on the list with another of his accessories featuring among the most valuable sports memorabilia. It is not that surprising since he was known for his charismatic personality and legendary power, which earned him a larger-than-life stature in the Roaring Twenties, with a batting average of .342, alongside 2,873 hits, 2,213 batted in runs, and 2.28 earned run average. For each home run he scored in a year, he carved a notch in his bat.
In the year 1923, during a match at the Yankee Stadium, he scored 54 home runs against the Boston Red Sox, the first player to do so against the team that had sold him. The bat that he used for playing during the game was 36 inches in length and weighed 42 ounces. This bat managed to raise a gigantic amount of $1,265,000. It surely deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
6. Paul Henderson’s Summit Series Jersey
Paul Garnet Henderson is a former Canadian professional ice hockey player who played as a left-winger for 13 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Flames, as well as 5 seasons in the World Hockey Association for the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls. He played in more than 1000 games in the Major League Hockey, and during that time, he scored a total of 758 points.
Canada inducted him into their Sports Hall of Fame twice, in 1994 and 2005. The Summit Series of the year 1972 is the highlight of his career and scored the winning goal in 3 out of 8 games against the Soviet Union. During the games, he played wearing a jersey bearing the number 19. The Summit Series jersey raised a substantial amount of $1,275,707. Without any doubt, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
5. Soccer Rule Book
Millions of fans around the globe follow one of the most popular sports in the world, soccer or association football. It is a sport that is played between two teams of eleven players each, who aim to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, set across the opposite ends of a rectangular field. There are about 250 million athletes across 200 countries who participate in this sport.
In 1863, The Football Association originally codified the Laws of the Game. But the first known set of soccer rules, the Soccer Rule Book, was hand-written around the year 1958/59. This rare and precious book is believed to be the final surviving copy of the Rules, Regulation, & Laws of the Sheffield Football Club, and it sold for $1.4 million or £881,250. And for that, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
4. Honus Wagner’s Baseball Card
Johannes Peter Wagner, known commonly as Honus Wagner, and nicknamed The Flying Dutchman, was an American baseball shortstop playing for 21 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1917, during which he played almost entirely with the Pittsburgh Pirates, though he also played for Louisville Colonels. During his career of 21 years, he has made immense contributions to the sport.
He has earned his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in the year 1939. Fans still consider him as one of the greatest players in this sport. In 1909, a baseball card with him on it was produced to be included by American Tobacco Company’s cigarette pack. But, only 200 of these were released, since Wagner didn’t want children to buy cigarettes for the card. This card later sold for $2.8 million. And for that, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
3. Mark McGwire’s 70th Home Run Ball
Mark David McGwire, commonly known by his nicknamed Big Mac, is a former American professional baseball player. He created several milestones in his active playing career from 1984 to 2001. Besides, he also coached the hitting side of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For 16 years, he contributed some of the greatest moments in the history of the sport.
He played for the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a total of 583 runs in his career, and in 1998, he created a new record with 70 home runs to finish the season for his team. As the last player to bat for the 1998 season, McGwire hit the 70th run off Carl Pavano of the Montreal Expos, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-3 win. The ball with which he hit the 70th home run was sold for an amazing amount of $3 million.
2. James Naismith’s Founding Rules of Basketball
James Naismith was a Canadian American sports coach, innovator, and the director at Kansas University for a long period of 40 years. He is credited for inventing the vastly popular sport of basketball, back in the year 1891. He is also given credit for the first football helmet, which he did to protect his players. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, of which he was the first member, was named after him.
Apart from that, Kansas State inducted him into their Sports Hall of Fame. Besides, he has also earned his place in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame and FIBA Hall of Fame. In the year 1981, he also jotted down the Rules of Basketball. Authorities still refer to this document as the birth certificate of basketball. When it appeared on the auction block, it raised a massive amount of $4,338,500. And for that, it deserves its place in the most valuable sports memorabilia in the world.
1. Babe Ruth Jersey
Former American Baseball player George Herman “Babe” Ruth played as an outfielder and pitcher for 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1914. Babe Ruth, without a doubt, deserves his place as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Nicknamed The Sultan of Swat or The Bambino, he scored a total of 714 runs. He opted for his retirement in 1935.
Around 1920, he wore a jersey, the earliest known jersey that he wore with the Yankees. It was previously on display at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. For some unknown reason, this jersey became an item for auction. And, it sold for a whopping amount of $4,415,658, making it the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia of all time.
Sports memorabilia symbolize some of the greatest moments in the history of sports. Fans, who collect these items, want to hold on to the truly memorable bits and pieces of sports and are ready to dole out millions to collect these mementos. Often, the amount collected by auctioning such souvenirs is contributed to charities, academics, development of teams, clubs or museums of sports, etc.