Sports can have a huge impact on many people’s lives. Apart from being a source of entertainment, it has also become a major cultural staple. There are sports fans who are rabid about their passion that they gather and collect sports memorabilia. People collect those mementos to remind them of their favorite player, a particular event such as a memorable championship game, or just their favorite sport.
Some items, such as those belonging to legends like Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, or Joe DiMaggio, become instant valuables and can get quite expensive. But some fans don’t mind coughing up the money just to have that particular item in their own collection. Having that rare item in your collection can certainly be a source of pride, and of course your enduring love for sports.
Now we list the top 10 sports collectibles, from the least expensive to the most expensive.
The baseball legend hit his first-ever home run during the first All-Star Game, held at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in 1933. The All-Star Game was initially a sports marketing gimmick to draw in more crowds. But it became wildly popular and eventually transformed into an annual tradition among baseball players and fans. As the years progressed, the ball’s value shot up.
Notwithstanding Babe Ruth’s marvelous stats record during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox, the team still agreed to sell him to the New York Yankees for $100,000. The 1920 sale contract for Ruth is the reminder of one of the most crucial trades in sports history. It is regarded as the most ever paid for a contract (or any other document, for that matter), according to several memorabilia experts.
Every baseball bat used by Babe Ruth always commands high demand (and high price). However, the bat that he swung when he scored his first home run in Yankee Stadium in 1923 is the most valuable and most expensive. It is highly likely that it will remain on the top ten lists of the most expensive sports memorabilia for many years to come. The bat now fetches a commanding $1.265 million — over 12 times what Ruth cost the Yankees when the team purchased him from the Red Sox. What’s funnier is that Ruth used the bat to win the match against his former team.
Henderson led Team Canada to the Summit Series victory versus the Soviet Union. Held in Cold War-era Moscow in 1972, the game was seen by many as an epic battle not just for hockey, but also a battle that pitted two contrasting cultures and political ideologies — Communism against capitalism.
In the eighth game of the series, Henderson “had a feeling” that he could score the winning goal — and he did with the most famous winning goal in the history of hockey.
In 2010, the jersey Henderson wore when he scored that winning goal was sold at an auction for over $1 million. It is thought to be the highest price paid for a hockey jersey.
This handwritten 1857 football rulebook laid the foundations of football rules. First owned by Sheffield Football Club (naturally) it was finally put up for sale at an auction and sold for $1.4 million in 2011. It is the oldest football rule book in the world.
Surprise — Joe DiMaggio kept a journal! So what’s in there? Did he write something exciting pertaining to his baseball game or racy details about his marriage to Marilyn Monroe? Alas, none of them — it turns out that his entries are apparently quite humdrum. Nevertheless, anything with DiMaggio’s own handwriting will surely command a hefty price, and this journal is no exception.
The idea of sports collectibles may have started from collecting baseball trading cards. This Honus Wagner baseball card is one of the earliest of its kind. Wagner is considered one of the greatest American baseball players, so the American Tobacco Company decided to produce a baseball card — that featured his likeness — to go along with their own cigarettes. The cards went on production and sale from 1909 to 1911.
Wagner’s famous baseball card was once bought and owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Since the 1990s, the card has been sold three times already, with its value steadily increasing with each sale.
Mark McGwire made his 70th home run in 1998, which became not only a highlight for his own career but the whole of baseball, as well. In 1999, comic book artist and avid baseball fan Todd McFarlane won the bid and bought McGwire’s home run ball for $3 million.
Being the inventor of basketball, James Naismith authored the game’s founding rules in 1891. This mostly typewritten rulebook (with some handwritten corrections) has rules that don’t include dribbling but has other rules which are very much still in use today. The price? Over an astounding $4 million.
Babe Ruth wore this jersey in his first season as a Yankee in 1920. In 2012, memorabilia auction house Lelands bid an astronomical $4,415,658 for Ruth’s earliest existing Yankee jersey. These sales figures were so high that they even found their way to the Guinness Book of World Records, making Babe Ruth’s 1920 Yankee jersey as the most expensive sports collectible to date.