New York, New York - Today at Sotheby's in a sale of Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards, a Walter Johnson Washington Senators jersey, which was only one of two known and the only example in private hands, sold for $352,000 to an East Coast collector on the telephone (est. $200/300,000*). One of the most important baseball artifacts ever discovered, it was sought after by at least four active bidders. The jersey emerged after some 80 years of seclusion in the estate of Johnson's former Senators teammate Eric "Swat" Erickson. Today's sale totaled $3,231,220 (est. $2.6/3.9 million).
Lee Dunbar, Director of Sotheby's Collectibles department, said: "The sale of the Walter Johnson jersey for $352,000 proves Johnson's stature as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. After being tucked away in an attic for the past 80 years, it's nice to know that the jersey will go to another home where it will be appreciated."
David Kohler, President of SCP Auctions, said: "With the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking major league baseball's color line next year, it was exciting to see his bat sell for $132,000, a record that demonstrates the continued appreciation for Robinson's historic achievements."
Also highlighting the sale was a Babe Ruth autographed game used bat, among the most widely coveted objects in the field of sports memorabilia collecting, which brought $216,000 (est. $150/200,000). This exceptional example dates from Ruth's epic 1932 "Called Shot" season and is among the finest of only a scant few know Ruth's gamers autographed by the Bambino himself. A pair of Ruth New York Yankees Home flannel pants, late 1920s, commanded $114,000, almost four times the high estimate (est. $20/30,000).
Other bats which brought top prices included Jackie Robinson's Game Used 1949 All Star Bat from the Robinson Estate, which sold for $132,000 (est. $100/150,000), a record for a Robinson bat at auction, a 1927 Lou Gehrig Louisville Slugger Bat, which achieved $96,000 (est. $40/60,000) and a 1966 Mickey Mantle H&B Game Used Bat PSA/DNA GU 10, which brought $60,000 (est. $30/40,000).
* Estimates do not include buyer's premium