A baseball signed by the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame class of 1939 sold on Saturday night for $623,369.
The ball, signed by the first class inducted in a Cooperstown ceremony, was signed by 11 of the 12 men who were deemed the sport’s first group of greats, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Walter Johnson.
Yes, @SCPAuctions is proud to set the new world record price for any autographed baseball. $623,369. Previous records were Babe Ruth single-signed for $388K followed by Ruth/Gehrig dual-signed for $343K. @MLB @BaseballHall #Cooperstown #WorldRecord https://t.co/I19Iqqwzrs
— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) August 12, 2018
The ball was previously owned by former MLB third baseman Marv Owen, who collected the signatures on the day of the induction ceremony. He stored it in a fur-lined glove in a safe deposit box until his death in 1991, preserving the signatures for those 52 years.
The signature missing on the ball is that of Lou Gehrig, who was too sick to attend the 1939 induction, he was diagnosed with (ALS) just days later.
While Saturday’s sale topped the previous record for the most expensive signed baseball – one autographed by Ruth sold for $388,375 in 2012 – it wasn’t the highest-priced baseball of all time. Mark McGwire’s record-setting 70th home run ball from the 1998 season was purchased by comic book writer Todd McFarlane for $3 million in January 1999.