The gray Yankees jersey a 25-year-old Babe Ruth donned in 1920 fetched $4.42 million at auction on Sunday — an all-time record for a sports memorabilia artifact.
"At $4.4 million, the jersey exceeds the $2.8 million paid for a T206 Honus Wagner card, the $3 million for Mark McGwire’s record 70th home run ball in 1998, and the $4.3 million paid in 2010 for the 13 rules of basketball set down on two yellowed typewritten pages by James Naismith," the New York Times reported.
"The blue-gray Spalding-made wool jersey bears the handwritten script 'Ruth G.H.' in a fading pink on the inside collar," USA Today's Tim Newcomb described. "The block 'NEW YORK' lettering is stitched across the front in blue."
The Washington Post noted, "Lelands.com says it submitted the winning bid of $4,415,658 for the jersey, which had been on display at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore. Lelands, according to spokeswoman Suzan French, intends to sell the jersey privately."
Other Ruth mementos brought in big bucks at the same auction. Ruth's 1934 Yankees cap that pitcher David Wells wore during a 1997 Major League Baseball game sold for $537,278 — far more than the $35,000 Wells originally paid for the hat. Also Sunday, a bat that once belonged to the Sultan of Swat garnered $591,007.