Baseball Signed By First Hall of Fame Class Sets Record at Auction
Price of '39 ball almost doubled the previous record of $388,000 for a Babe Ruth-signed ball.
The auction price of a baseball signed by Hall of Famers including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson knocked it out of the park on Saturday.
The ball, which was signed at the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame induction in 1939 by all 11 of the inductees who attended the ceremony in Cooperstown, was sold by SCP Auctions for $623,369. Lou Gehrig was inducted in the ‘39 class, but was too sick to attend the induction.
That price obliterates the previous record for a signed baseball, $388,000, which was held by a Ruth-signed ball. A ball signed by Ruth and Gehrig had been second with a $343K price.
White Sox third baseman Marv Owen collected the signatures on the ball at the ceremony and then put it in a fur-lined glove in a safe deposit box for safekeeping so it is in pristine condition.
“The sheer greatness of this ball is simply unrivaled,” said SCP Auctions president David Kohler. “Its historical importance compounded by the impeccable provenance and state of preservation elevate it to singular status as the most important and valuable autographed baseball in the world. The final price certainly proved this.”
Despite its high price, the ball is not the most expensive baseball ever sold. That honor belongs to Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from 1999 for which toy titan Todd McFarlane paid $3 million.
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