An exceptional Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore Orioles original team photo sold for a world record $190,373 in the Lelands 2019 Spring Classic Auction, which closed on June 7. The incredible sale is the most ever for a sports photo.
The exquisite Ruth photo is especially significant in that it’s one of only a few original images of Ruth in an Orioles uniform known to exist. Then an unknown 19-year-old rookie pitcher with the minor-league Orioles, Ruth would win 14 games by midseason before being sold to the Boston Red Sox.
The sale of the Ruth photo shattered the previous record price for a sports photo sold at auction: $77,098 for an original image of Charles Conlon’s iconic Ty Cobb sliding photo, which was taken at Hilltop Park in New York in 1910.
Additional highlights of the Lelands 2019 Spring Classic Auction was a baseball signed by 11 of Major League Baseball’s original Hall of Fame inductees in 1939 ($236,389), Knicks legend Walt Frazier’s game-worn jersey from Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals ($100,081) and a Bobby Orr circa 1972 Boston Bruins game-worn jersey ($113,924).
The 1939 HOF baseball was one of 42 pieces consigned to the auction by the family of Eddie Rommel, a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1920s and early 1930s and later an American League umpire. The collection also featured a 1924 Yankees team signed baseball with a “rookie” Lou Gehrig ($71,508), a 1924 Washington Senators World Champion team signed baseball ($54,301) and a 1924 Cleveland Indians team signed baseball ($48,178).
Another centerpiece of the auction was a collection of Pittsburgh Steelers game-worn jerseys directly from the team’s archive, including a 1982 Jack Lambert jersey ($50,131). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will be donated to the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.
Among the other auction highlights were a 1952 Topps complete set with PSA 5 Mantle rookie ($75,320), a newly discovered and highest-ever graded Ty Cobb 1917-20 M101-6 Felix Mendelssohn card ($35,453), Denny McLain’s 1968 American League MVP Award for his 31-win season ($33,359), a 1948 Leaf #8 Satchel Paige rookie card ($22,206), an exceptional Ty Cobb signed photo ($20,934) and a 1970s Walter O’Malley single signed baseball ($12,134).
The auction also boasted a knockout collection of boxing memorabilia and the highest graded boxing card sets ever to come to auction, headlined by a 1910 E78 SGC graded complete set ($7,075) and an 1889 N386 Spaulding & Merrick Canada Chop John L. Sullivan SGC 20 ($5,513). Other highlights included Sonny Liston’s robe from his 1968 fight with Henry Clark ($11,692) and boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s prison ID ($8,350).
About Lelands – The Originals
The First Sports Memorabilia and Card Auction House in the World
Established in 1985, Lelands is the first sports auction house and the premier appraisers and authenticators in the entire sports collectible hobby. Founder Joshua Leland Evans is a pioneer in the field and acknowledged by his peers as the most knowledgeable figure in sports memorabilia. Lelands has handled many of the largest landmark auctions, achieving world-record prices for countless iconic items including Babe Ruth’s 1927 Yankees World Series ring ($2,093, 927), his 1919 “Curse of the Bambino” signed contract ($2,303,320) and a 1920 Ruth Yankees jersey ($4.5 million). For more information, visit https://lelands.com/.