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Live Auction for Babe Ruth Jersey Opens Tuesday—7 Bids in Less Than 24 Hours

Laguna Niguel-based SCP auctions is hosting a live Internet auction that kicked off May 1 for the oldest known jersey worn by Ruth. It could sell for $2 million according to a local expert.

Always bigger than life, it appears that baseball legend, Babe Ruth is equally as big in death.

opened its bidding Tuesday for what is considered to be one of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia ever brought to auction, the earliest known jersey worn by the New York Yankees legend dubbed, "The Bambino."

"We've only opened the bidding less than 24 hours ago and already we have seven bids, the highest is $535,900 as of a few minutes ago," said Dave Kohler, president of SCP on Tuesday afternoon. "Right out the gate, it's been great. I'd expect that the jersey could for $2 million by the time the auction ends on May 19. [The entire] auction could total $8-10 million."

The c.1920 Yankees road jersey was worn by the "Sultan of Swat" shortly after he made the transition to the Yankees from the arch-rival Boston Red Sox. Exhibited for years at The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, Md., the jersey is "everything a collector would want and more."

Kohler said the jersey, is in good condition for being 90 years old and is "presentable for display." He said it has a few stains, and holes; however, it still has all of its original stitching. 

"We're super excited that this auction is getting noticed on a national level," Kohler said. "Babe Ruth was bigger than life and he really saved the game of baseball after the Black Sox scandal 1919 World Series."

Ruth was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees in December 1920. The sale price was $100,000.

"He hit 54 homeruns in 1920 and nobody had ever hit more than 12 prior to that in all of baseball," Kohler said. "The name of the game seemed to change overnight."

Kohler, who lives in Laguna Niguel, said as a kid he read all kinds of books on Ruth and remembers owning a Ruth baseball card, too.

"This will be the biggest auction ever for a piece of sports memorabilia," he said. "Everyone knows who Babe Ruth was, even young kids today." 

The auction ends on May 19.

Only a handful of other pieces of vintage baseball memorabilia have eclipsed the $1-million mark. Topping that list is the fabled T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco card sold by SCP Auction for $2.8 million in 2007.  

angela barneby May 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Wish I had the money, I would bid on it for my boyfriend, a huge fan.

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