A bat used by Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth more than 100 years ago was sold for a record $1.85 million, the highest amount ever for a baseball bat, Hunt Auctions announced on Wednesday (April 5) via ESPN.
The recent sale broke a record previously set by another bat used by Ruth, which was sold for $1.68 million by Heritage Auctions in August 2022. Hunt Auctions collector Justin Cornett, who sold the bat, provided the "only known example to offer photographic corroboration."
The record-setting bat was used by Ruth at the Polo Grounds, the former home of the New York Yankees from 1913 to 1922, and matched a photo of the former home run king swinging it in 1921. Cornett had previously purchased the bat through Heritage Auctions for $400,800 without a photo match in February 2018.
The bat was, at the time, estimated to have been used by Ruth at some point between September 1920 to March 1922 and was later confirmed by PSA/DNA photo expert Henry Yee to match a photo taken of Ruth in 1921, which led to its value increasing significantly. Ruth set a then-Major League Baseball record for single-season home runs (59) and career home runs (139) during the 1921 season.
"I am very familiar with the 'Polo Grounds' Babe Ruth bat, bringing it into the hobby 30 years ago," John Taube of PSA Pro Bat Services said in a statement provided by Hunt Auctions and obtained by ESPN. "The rich brown patina and the Ruth characteristics that were present, then and now, establish the bat as one of the premier Babe Ruth game-used bats in any collection, public or private."
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