A baseball autographed by 11 of the 12 living inductees from the first Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1939 set a new record for sale price of an autographed ball at auction Saturday night after being purchased for $623,369.
The ball, which features the signatures of Pirates great Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Walter Johnson and others, first belonged to former White Sox third baseman Marv Owen, who collected the signatures at the ceremony. He stored the ball in a fur-lined safe deposit box, which preserved its condition.
California-based SCP Auctions conducted the auction, which shattered the previous record of $388,375 paid for a baseball autographed by Ruth, and they confirmed the sale Sunday via Twitter.
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 first induction ceremony honored all the players selected from the first class in 1936 — of which Wagner was a member — to the hall’s opening in 1939. The only player whose signature is missing from the ball is that of Lou Gehrig, who was selected in a special election in 1939 but was too ill in his terminal battle with ALS to attend the ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.