Babe Ruth baseball glove auctioned for record $1.53 million

A baseball glove donated personally by Babe Ruth to St. Louis Browns third baseman Jimmy Austin sold Saturday at the 19th annual Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory auction for $1.53 million, smashing the record paid for a baseball glove.

The previous record is said to be $387,500 for a Lou Gehrig glove sold at Sotheby’s in 1999. In 2013, a Jackie Robinson glove that would have been used in both the 1955 and 1956 World Series sold for just over $373. $000 by Steiner Sports.

The Ruth glove was made by Spalding for Ruth’s use circa 1927-1933. A 1964 audio recording, used in “The Glory of Their Times”, captures Austin discussing the glove and pounding its leather with his hand.

“My childhood memories with my ‘Uncle Jim’ are extremely dear to me,” Susan Kolokoff, niece of Jimmy Austin, said in a statement from Hunt Auctions. “The glove had been sitting in a box for the past 30 years until we discovered its story and heard the incredible audio recording.”

According to Hunt Auctions, which handled Saturday’s sale, the glove was originally believed to be a vintage model from the Babe Ruth store when it was submitted for consignment. But the provenance and authentication process — including a possible photo match to an image of Ruth wearing the same glove model with identical tobacco coloring — yielded something much more.

“This monumental glove is truly [one] most historic pieces of its medium to ever be offered at public auction,” said David Hunt, President of Hunt Auctions.

Luz W. German