A rare game-worn Yankees road jersey used by New York legend Babe Ruth is expected to sell at an auction this summer for more than $4.5 million –a price tag that would set the world record for highest grossing sports memorabilia item of all time.
The jersey dates back to the late 1920s. Only a few authentic professional model Babe Ruth jerseys are known to exist, with about six total specimens "of quality" are known to exist inclusive of the example within the Baseball Hall of Fame and the offered jersey, according to Hunt Auctions. The most recent Ruth jersey to sell in the marketplace went for more than $4 million.
The grey flannel jersey set to be auctioned features the original "Yankees" team name across the front. The jersey is very rare because it is the only time in which the franchise's history that the nickname was printed on the uniforms. Ruth's last name is stitched into the collar.
Ruth's jersey will be sold as part of a live auction event featuring the Personal Collection of Babe Ruth. It will take place at Yankee Stadium on June 15, 2019, Hunt Auctions announced Tuesday in honor of National Babe Ruth Day, which is celebrated on April 27.
“The scarcity and desirability of this particular Babe Ruth jersey simply cannot be overstated," Hunt Auctions president David Hunt said in a statement. "Ruth game-worn jerseys are the pinnacle of collecting and investment pursuits within the marketplace with the current offering marking a generational opportunity. We fully expect demand and bidding interest befitting the greatest figure in the history of the sport."
A pair of Ruth's professional model cleats, a 60th home run autographed display piece, Lou Gehrig signed photograph to Ruth, single signed baseballs and autographed photographs and several other items will also be auctioned off at the event.
“This special auction will provide the opportunity to share some of the Ruth family memorabilia that has remained in our possession since the Babe’s passing in 1948,” Ruth's grandson, Tom Stevens said in a statement. “None of these items have been previously offered to the collecting public. The Babe lived a life that was meaningful to millions of fans for many diverse reasons. Perhaps one of the most important was that he offered hope and inspiration during the depths of the depression, because despite his humble beginnings, Babe Ruth grew up to become the very embodiment of the American Dream. And make no mistake, he is still as relevant today as ever. This offering of items provides glimpses of that life, in and out of baseball. I sincerely hope that they bring great pleasure to the winning bidders as they did my family, while generating some income for some very worthwhile charities.”
Ruth's 22-year career ended a few years after his jersey is dated in 1935 with 714 home runs, .342 batting average, 2,213 RBI's. The seven-time World Champion also finished as a 12-time AL home run leader and was elected into the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.