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's Bat
During the first game played at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth became the first hitter to knock a ball out of it. He later autographed the bat used in that 1923 Opening Day plate appearance. In 2007, that bat sold for $1.265 million. The astronomical figure would be shocking if Ruth memorabilia didn't consistently sell for more than almost every other type of athletic artifact. But there was always something magical about "The Babe."
"We had a feeling it could be a million-dollar-plus bat," Kohler says. "That's a very special piece."