Typical fans show their devotion by wearing their favorite team's hat or a replica of their favorite player's jersey, but hard-core collectors aren't content until they've purchased original, decades-old uniforms and caps worn by the likes of Babe Ruth. Some take it even further, buying pieces of basketball courts and gloves worn by famous boxers during their most notable bouts. These trophies are not just status symbols (though they definitely are status symbols); they're proof of how much sports mean to men.
No one knows that better than David Kohler and Dan Imler, president and vice president of SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel, California. Since Kohler founded it in 1979, SCP has become the foremost auction house for expensive sports memorabilia. We spoke to these accomplished auctioneers about the most valuable pieces they've ever sold and the blockbusters they never got their hands on.
Babe Ruth and David Wells's Game-Worn Cap
This game-worn cap holds the distinction of having been worn by two Yankee greats. Babe Ruth wore the cap in the 1930s and David Wells, an avid collector of baseball memorabilia, wore it while pitching against the Cleveland Indians in 1997. "It had a backstory," Kohler says. "That added a lot to this piece." Former Yankees manager Joe Torre made Wells revert to his uniform cap after getting three outs with the hat on, and SCP later approached Wells about giving up Ruth's cap for good. It sold for $537,278 in 2012.