Top 12 Most Valuable Sports Memorabilia

Sports memorabilia are more than just a pride and history collection of a certain sport. They hold enormous value inside them and have grown up to be a million-dollar business industry itself. 

Sports memorabilia comes in different sizes and shapes, such as a jersey, cards, autographs, equipment, trophies, and much more.

Indeed, holding one of any sports memorabilia is great both ways, either in terms of the memorial of a certain player or as a valuable item on one’s list. 

sports memorabilia
Sports memorabilia.

That is because you never know when its value might shoot up in an instant. They not only sell for few dollars but may go for hundreds or thousands and even millions. As the prices have soared up for the memorabilia, it’s a business among the elite traders. 

Herewith, we will present you the top twelve most expensive sports memorabilia to date. 

Top 12 Most Expensive Sports Memorabilia

As we talk about the most expensive amount paid by people, you will gain a basic foundation to spend even millions if you wish to bag a signed memento from your favorite player. 

As we discuss it, we will start with the bottom of the list that falls in the top 12. 

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12. Paul Henderson’s 1972 Summit Series Jersey

Paul Henderson has always been best known for his hockey games that make up history. Among many of his great deeds and achievements, Paul scored the winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets.

Therefore, the 19 number jersey that he wore that day came into a winning bid of $1.28 million in a Montreal-based auction in 2012.

According to Marc Juteau, president of Classic Auctions, this jersey became the most expensive ever auctioned off in any sport back in the day. 

Talking about his game background, his game-winning goal was in the last minute of the eighth and final game. Toronto real-estate magnate Mitchell Goldhar bought the jersey. 

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11. Joe DiMaggio’s Journal

The 11th on the list of most valuable sports memorabilia is the journal by Joe DiMaggio.

Joe DiMaggio was a former baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. Even to date, he holds the record for a 56-game hitting streak. 

In the meantime, he was a three-time MVP winner, an All-Star, and was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. Additionally, he also became the sport’s greatest living player. 

Anyways, they sold his hand-written journal in black ink pen at $1.5 million. 

10. Norman Rockwell Baseball Print

Making to the top ten list is Norman Rockwell’s baseball print “Tough Call.”

Well, they sold this print for $1.7 million in 2017. Back then, one of the umpire’s granddaughters kept it in her Texas house.

Norman Rockwell Baseball Print
Norman Rockwell Baseball Print.

It was only later that they discovered the print had been signed and inscribed. 

9. Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series Ring

Mr. Charlie Sheen owns both the Ruth’s World Series ring which is two of the most prized items of Babe Ruth memorabilia.

According to the sources, Sheen bought the ring back in 1994 when he was shooting Major League II, Josh Evans, the chairman and founder of Lelands. 

Back then, he bought it from one of the oldest auction houses that cost him $225,000. As the time flowed, the bid rose its price until it was again sold for $2.1 million

8. Mark McGwire’s 70th Homerun Ball

Back in the 1998 Major League Baseball season, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire made a total of seventy home runs in a single season. Hence, that baseball became one of the most valuable sports memorabilia items in the world. 

Initially, Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions stated its price to be around $250,000 to $300,000, while David Bohler of SCP Auctions stated it to be around $400,000. Anyways, comic book artist Todd McFarlane purchased the baseball for just over $3 million.

“You hit that home run, and you set any kind of record with that home run, could be a guy in the bleachers, one of the bleacher’s bums going, ‘I’ve got the ball.’ This ball right here is history.”
-Comic book artist Todd McFarlane

7. Daniel Lucius Adams’ Rule of Baseball

In 1857, Daniel Lucius Adams wrote baseball rules when he was President of the New York Knickerbockers. This set of rules has been a backbone of the field and has changed some of the game’s backstory. 

However, this document only surfaced later in 1999 when the owner brought the manuscript to the attention of SCP Auctions. Altogether, it was sold for $3,263,246.

 

Daniel Lucius Adams' Rule of Baseball
Daniel Lucius Adams’ Rule of Baseball.

For this Manuscript, John Thorn, the Official Historian for Major League Baseball, said Daniel Lucius might be counted as first among the founding fathers of baseball.

He added that never had been any baseball manuscript of this significance come onto the open market.

6. James Naismith’s 1891 Rules of Basketball

On December 21, 1891, James Naismith wrote the 13 rules of basketball. Later, David and Suzanne Booth purchased the rules. During the course time, he was a physical education instructor at the Christian association.

As a matter of fact, they bought the rules for the University of Kansas. In James’ days, he wrote the rules and pinned them to the college’s bulletin board. 

Later, in 2010, it was auctioned for more than $4 million to raise money for charity. Well, it assisted the Naismith foundation for sportsmanship and underprivileged children around the world.

5. Babe Ruth 1920 Jersey

Well, it’s like a given fact that Babe Ruth equals good money and value. So his 1920 jersey came to SCP Auctions, based in California. They sold these basketball rules for $4.4 million. It indeed broke the price record of James Naismith’s 13 rules of basketball. 

Also, this jersey was on display at The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore. After that, the Boston Red Sox sold this jersey to the Yankees for $100,000 in the 1919 season.

For sure, Babe Ruth is ‘king’ in the sports memorabilia world. 

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4. Mickey Mantle 1952 Baseball Card

When it comes to baseball cards, it’s always the battle between Mickey Mantle or Mike Trout.

Recently, they sold Mickey Mantle’s 1952 mint condition Topps baseball card for $5.2 million. 

Mickey Mantle 1952 Baseball Card
Mickey Mantle 1952 Baseball Card.

Initially, in 2018, the card was sold for $2.88 million, which was the second-highest price ever paid for a card.

Also, in January 2021, they have sold it again and now stand as one of the most expensive. 

3. Babe Ruth 1928-1930 Jersey

Another one of the Babe Ruth’s classic sports memorabilia is his New York Yankees jersey from 1928-1930. Well, here he even surpassed his own record as his 1928-1930 jersey went for $5.64 million. 

This particular jersey is made up of gray flannel and has “Ruth” stitched inside the collar. For many, this suction price really came off as a surprise. 

“Babe’s collection has remained largely unknown to the general public, and we felt it was time to bring these amazing pieces of his life to light.”
-Linda Ruth Tosetti, Ruth’s granddaughter

2. Honus Wagner 1909 Baseball Card

Recently, in August 2021, a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $6.606 million, which became the highest-selling sports card of all time. At the same time, the purchase also included a 20% buyer’s premium. 

As for detail, an East Coast collector sold this baseball card. Before this, the card was on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, Illinois. 

1. Original Olympic Games Manifesto

Making it to the top of the most valuable sports memorabilia in the list is the original Olympics games manifesto that went out for a whopping $8.8 million.

As a fun fact, many expected that this would only go up for around $700,000 to $1 million at the most. 

Original Olympic Games Manifesto
Original Olympic Games Manifesto.

Additionally, this document was written by Pierre de Coubertin back in 1892.

Well, Pierre was the International Olympic Committee founder. As for the document, it consists of fourteen pages where he included peaceful games between the countries. 

Summary

Well, these twelve things are the most valuable sports memorabilia. We know the huge price must have left you jaw-dropping. So here’s the list from top 1 to top 12.

  1. Original Olympic Games Manifesto
  2. Honus Wagner 1909 Baseball Card
  3. Babe Ruth 1928-1930 Jersey
  4. Mickey Mantle 1952 Baseball Card
  5. Babe Ruth 1920 Jersey
  6. James Naismith’s 1891 Rules of Basketball
  7. Daniel Lucius Adams’ Rule of Baseball
  8. Mark McGwire’s 70th Homerun Ball
  9. Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series Ring
  10. Norman Rockwell Baseball Print
  11. Joe DiMaggio’s Journal
  12. Paul Henderson’s 1972 Summit Series Jersey

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