Nine autographed baseballs — which can be a great gift — have sold at auction for a combined $79,490 through Denver’s Mile High Card Company, including two very rare and valuable pieces: one signed by Babe Ruth, the other by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The collection came from a local Denver man who wanted to find out if his grandfather’s baseballs, which had been sitting in storage for the past 20-plus years, were actually genuine or worth anything.
Needless to say, the jaws of Mile High president Brian Drent and consignment director Mitch Rosenberg fell to the floor when they first saw the collection. Not only were all 200 signatures across the nine balls deemed authentic by the nation’s two top certification companies, PSA/DNA and JSA, their condition and quality surpassed anything the Denver businessmen had ever seen before.
According to Forbes, baseballs signed by Babe Ruth are not uncommon and can be found at trade shows and auctions across the country for under $10,000. Yet many times, the ink is faded and the ball itself discolored. That’s not the case with this one, which the company described as “one of the finest examples, if not the absolute finest, in existence.”
Perhaps even more stunning is the signature from FDR, on a baseball that experts suggest was likely used by the president himself to throw the ceremonial first pitch on April 19, 1937, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The autograph is addressed to Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, longtime owner of the Washington Senators.
“Presidential autographs are a great cross-over collectible, appealing to two different collectors,” explained Drent. Roosevelt was a known champion of baseball, allowing professional players to keep out of the World War II draft in order to keep up country morale through the sport. His signature, combined with its address to Griffith, makes the baseball an incredibly rare piece.
Both balls, and the seven others in the collection, sold through an online auction last week. As is the case in the art world, online bidding has become increasingly common; 71% of art collectors have purchased pieces online, and many sports collectors likely have, too.
The final price for the Babe Ruth ball: $33,792.80. The FDR ball sold for $36,798.00.