Game-used sports jerseys command big money in the sports memorabilia marketplace. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jesse Owens, Joe Namath, Pete Maravich, Bobby Orr, Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, Wayne Gretzky and Wilt Chamblerlain jerseys have all sold for big dollars.
Game-used jerseys are huge with sports memorabilia collectors. Some of the rarest jerseys can top the $500,000 mark. Here are ten valuable jerseys encompassing the world of baseball, football, basketball, hockey and track and field. Check the closet, perhaps old grandpa left something there in the way of a flannel souvenir – with provenance of course...
Lou Gehrig 1927 New York Yankees Jersey
The fabled "Iron Horse – Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) – wore this jersey during the Yankees' fabulous 1927 baseball season. Manufactured by Spalding and carrying the scripted notation "Gehrig H.L." (meaning Gehrig, Henry Louis) at the collar, this treasure was on display at the new Yankee Stadium throughout the 2009 season. It later sold at auction for $717,000.
Lou Gehrig 1927 Yankees jersey $717,000
Babe Ruth 1933 All-Star Jersey
George Herman "Babe" Ruth (1895-1948) wore this jersey at the very first All-Star Game, staged at Chicago's Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. At the time Ruth was in the twilight of his career, though he still managed to send one into the stands that day for the first ever home run in All-Star history. The Babe's pinstripe Yankee jersey brought a top bid of $657,250 at auction.
Babe Ruth 1933 Yankees jersey $657,250
Jesse Owens 1935 Ohio State Track Jersey
The legendary Jesse Owens (1913-1980), winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Games, wore this jersey while competing for the Ohio State track and field team. Manufactured by Spalding, this jersey sold at auction for $53,775.
Jesse Owens 1935 Ohio State jersey $53,775
Joe Namath 1971-73 New York Jets Jersey
The vaunted Broadway Joe Namath, hero and MVP of Super Bowl III in 1969, wore this jersey circa 1971-73 while playing quarterback for the New York Jets. Manufactured by Sand-Knit, this #12 jersey brought a top bid of $12,547.50.
Joe Namath circa 1971-73 jersey $12,547.50
Pete Maravich 1972 Atlanta Hawks Jersey
The celebrated Pistol Pete Maravich (1947-1988) played his collegiate ball for his father Press at Louisiana State. In 1970, Maravich was the third overall choice in the NBA draft, selected by the Atlanta Hawks and signed to a $1.9 million contract. This 1972 jersey – with "Pistol" emblazoned on the back – sold at auction for $19,120.
Pete Maravich 1972 jersey $19,120
Bobby Orr 1966-67 Boston Bruins Jersey
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr wore this jersey his rookie season with the NHL's Boston Bruins. Made by Wilson and showing significant wear and tear (hockey's a rough sport!), this gem sold at auction for $191,200.
Bobby Orr rookie season jersey $191,200
Nolan Ryan 1993 Texas Rangers Jersey
Hard-throwing Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan wore this #34 jersey for the Texas Rangers in 1993. Manufactured by W.A. Goodman & Sons, this jersey was originally purchased from the Texas franchise by a collector following Ryan's 323rd career victory on August 10, 1993, versus the California Angels. This flannel treasure sold at auction for $15,535.
Nolan Ryan 1993 jersey $15,535
Wilt Chamberlain's 1962-63 San Francisco Warriors Jersey
The 7'1" Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain (1936-1999) was one of the most dominant players in NBA history. "The Big Dipper" put up big numbers both on and off the court, scoring 31,419 points during his NBA career and claiming to have slept with over 20,000 women in his lifetime. Chamblerlain's 1962-63 #13 San Francisco Warriors home jersey, originally a gift by Wilt to the team's ball boy, brought $20,315 at auction.
Wilt Chamberlain 1962-63 jersey $20,315
Hank Aaron 1965 Milwaukee Braves Jersey
Hammerin' Hank Aaron wore this #44 jersey for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965, the team's final year in Beer City before the move south to Atlanta. Manufactured by Wilson, this iconic jersey was originally given by Aaron to up-and-coming star Bill Madlock in the mid-1970s. It sold at auction for $59,750.
Hank Aaron 1965 jersey $59,750
Wayne Gretzky 1990 All-Star Game Jersey
"The Great One" – Wayne Gretzky – wore this #99 jersey while playing in the 41st annual NHL All-Star Game, held at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena on Sunday, January 21, 1990. Gretzky served as the captain of the Campbell Conference, who came up short in a high-scoring 12-7 loss to the Wales Conference. This beautiful jersey, made by Maska and autographed by Gretzky, brought $13,145 at auction.
Wayne Gretzky 1990 jersey $13,145
- All auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas
- Top image: The 1933 All-Star Game: The American League's starting outfielders, l-r: Babe Ruth, Al Simmons, Earl Averill