Sports memorabilia is a great way to commemorate your favourite team or player. But how much are you willing to pay? Whether it’s a jersey from the game that won them their first championship, an autographed ball from a huge moment in sport – these items can be worth thousands of dollars.
This is why we have compiled a list of the most valuable and rare pieces ever sold, where superfans with deep pockets have been willing to shell out millions.
Let’s look at some of the most valuable sports memorabilia ever sold
For some people, it’s not enough just to buy a jersey with their favourite player’s name on it. They want something special – something that will always remind them of what they love about sports, and why they keep coming back for more.
Here are some of the most expensive sports memorabilia pieces bought at auction:
Original Olympic Games Manifesto – $8.8 million
The document is a rare and valuable piece of sporting memorabilia that has been in private hands for over 100 years. It was written by Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern-day Olympics. He created the manifesto as an outline for his vision of how he would revive the ancient competition.
Babe Ruth 1928-30 jersey – $5.65 million
The jersey was worn by Babe Ruth during his record-setting season in 1929 when he hit 60 home runs and batted .356, both records that still stand today. Any Babe Ruth memorabilia is going to sell for a bomb – but the most valuable was this jersey, which dates from between 1928 and 1930, and sold for $5.64 million at a New York auction in 2019.
Babe Ruth 1920 jersey – $4.42 million
This jersey was sold for $4,415,658 at auction and is the earliest known surviving jersey of Babe Ruth’s in existence. It was made by the American Needle Company and features a “B” on the left breast and an “N” on the right breast. This particular style of lettering was only used during this season.
James Naismith’s 1891 Rules of Basketball – $4.3 million
James Naismith was a Canadian-American physical educator, physician, chaplain and innovator in the sport of basketball. He invented the game in 1891 while working as an instructor at the YMCA International Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. They have been sold for more than $4 million to help raise money for charity.
Daniel Lucius Adams’ Rules of Baseball – $3.26 million
This document, titled “Laws of Base Ball”, was written by Daniel Lucius Adams and is the first known set of rules to be published in 1845. It includes a list of nine original rules that have changed some details about the game’s backstory. For example, this document states that there were two outs per inning instead of three at the time it was written. It also says that players could only use one hand when catching fly balls or running bases – not both hands as they can today.
The vast majority of sports memorabilia items to go under the hammer for high prices are in the United States. But here in Australia, we have seen some record sales as well – especially when it comes to cricket.
Shane Warne’s Test cap – $1 million
The famous baggy green cap was sold for $1,007,500 to ‘M.C. from Sydney’ at the end of a bidding frenzy that saw it fetch more than double its pre-auction estimate. This is the first time in history that an item of cricket memorabilia has been sold for such a high price, and it will be used to help those affected by bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales.
Don Bradman’s 1928 Australia cap – $450,000
Bradman wore it in his first Test against England in 1928 when he made 187 not out and scored another century in his next match. The cap was sold at auction by Kerry Packer and fetched $450,000. It’s the second-highest price ever paid for a piece of cricket memorabilia.
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