Jackie Robinson’s bat sells for over $1 million

(News4usonline) – Jackie Robinson’s bat from the 1949 MLB All-Star game recently sold for just over a million dollars ($1.080 million). The bat was purchased by Hunt Auctions on behalf of a private client and up until now, the bat had been a keepsake in the Robinson household.

The fact that Rachel Robinson had previously been in possession of the bat, as well as the significance of the 1949 season, make it one of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia in the world. The year 1949 marked the first time African American players were selected to the All-Star team, and Robinson also won the NL MVP that season.

“Jackie Robinson certainly for obvious reasons is one of the more significant players and figures in sports and American popular cultural history, so artifacts that are related directly to him carry significant value and desirability,” said Dave Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.

The All-Star game bat is near the top but is not the most expensive Jackie Robinson game-used item sold at an auction. In 2020, Hunt Auctions sold a Brooklyn Dodgers Robinson jersey for $4.2 million.

A man with a plan: Jackie Robinson is revered today as the first man to integrate Major League Baseball. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Dodgers

Baseball memorabilia and sports memorabilia in general have seen their market increase substantially in recent years, with records for sales routinely doubling and tripling previous sales of similar items.

“Most notably what he went through and what he meant to the civil rights movement is driving prices up and certainly you think that it will continue,” said Hunt. He went on to say, “Given the exponential growth recently, will it continue at that level of growth? That’s to be seen. I doubt it. It is certainly not sustainable, it’s like a stock that goes up 300%. Is it going to go up 300% every year? Of course not. But (the memorabilia market) absolutely will continue to grow and appreciate.”

Robinson is a unique example, and while the memorabilia market has certainly seen a substantial increase, the player, the rarity, as well as the significance of the item all play a large role in driving up the value.

A game-used jersey from Robinson or Babe Ruth or Roberto Clemente is far more valuable than a jersey worn by a player during a regular season game in 2022. The differences in rarity and significance make jerseys worn by older historic players exponentially more valuable.

“It’s an asset class that appreciates and will continue to, and it’s a really interesting and enjoyable way to do so, so that’s also probably likely what’s contributing to the strength of it, is because it is enjoyable and popular and something that people take pleasure in, not do just purely for financial gain,” said Hunt.

Just after the Robinson auction took place, Diego Maradona’s soccer jersey from the game he scored the “Hand of God” goal sold for a world-record $9.28 million. Baseball cards have also seen their market increase. An extremely rare Honus Wagner card from 1909 sold for $6.6 million in 2021.

Robinson will always be one of the most important figures in American sports history. With his name being mentioned in the history books as well as in baseball record books, fans of the game should see the value of memorabilia with Robinson’s name on it. That value will only continue to rise.

Featured Image: Jackie Robinson swinging a bat in Dodgers uniform, 1954. Courtesy photo