(Newport Beach, California) - A computerized database of 40,000 historic autographs helped experts at Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) certify the authenticity of the 1919 Babe Ruth contact that was sold at auction today by SportsCards Plus/Sotheby's for $996,000. The high price did not surprise veteran sports market observer, Joe Orlando, PSA President.
PSA, of Newport Beach, California is the world's largest sports memorabilia authentication and grading company, is a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
"The winning bid emphasizes the astounding strength of the market for almost anything related to Babe Ruth. This is only the fourth sports memorabilia item to approach or break the $1 million mark," Orlando explained. All four of those items were certified genuine by PSA.
"Our authentication team certainly knew about the provenance of the Babe Ruth contract, and we're familiar with the signatures of Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee, and Yankees co-owners, Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L. Huston, from seeing them on cancelled checks of the era. Our authenticators were able to quickly match up the signatures on the contract with computerized images from PSA's database of more than 40,000 autographs."
The three other sports items to approach or break the $1 million mark at pubic auctions, and all certified authentic by PSA, are Mark McGwire's 70th home run baseball that sold for $3 million in 1998; the 1909 era Honus Wagner T-206 trading card for $1.265 million in 2000; and most recently the bat Babe Ruth used in 1923 to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium which also sold for $1.265 million in 2004.