Jackie Robinson was a trailblazer, making baseball history 75 years ago when he broke the MLB color barrier in 1947.
It is only fitting that Robinson and his legacy are still breaking records in the sports collectible market.
A ticket stub from Robinson’s 1947 MLB debut — one of only seven known to exist — sold for $480,000 Sunday in Heritage Auctions’ Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction. It was the highest price ever paid at auction for a ticket to a sporting event. A ticket to Michael Jordan's 1984 NBA debut sold for $468,000.
The new owner of the Robinson debut ticket is Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.
Robinson was one of two baseball immortals to make history during the Heritage Auction, which included nearly 2,600 bidders and netted more than $25.5 million.
The jersey that Mickey Mantle wore when he played his final game for the New York Yankees on Sept. 28, 1968 sold for $2,190,000, the highest price ever for a Mantle jersey. It was one of nearly 75 records set during the auction.
Several other historic Robinson items also set records, including his March 1946 American Baseball Bureau questionnaire, which realized $1,680,000. Robinson filled out the questionnaire prior to his professional debut with the Triple-A Montreal Royals.
When asked about his “ambition in baseball,” Robinson wrote: “To open door for Negroes in Organized Ball.”
The winning bidder was Seth Kaller Inc., which has arranged for the questionnaire to be displayed at the Jackie Robinson Museum set to open this summer in New York City.
Several other Robinson items attracted higher prices than their initial estimates. His 1948 Leaf rookie card, graded PSA 8, sold for $468,000.
Also See: Top 10 sports card sales of all time
A 1946 Heibroner Baseball Bureau Information card filled out and signed by Robinson sold for $120,000, while a copy of Robinson’s book, “Wait Til Next Year,” which Robinson inscribed to teammate Pee Wee Reese, sold for $144,000.
“Interest in the Jackie Robinson material featured in this auction was immediate and came from all over the globe the very moment the auction was opened,” said Chris Ivy, founder and president of Heritage Sports. “Because, of course, he wasn’t just a Hall of Fame ballplayer, but a trailblazer. We are not surprised his ticket is now the record-holder, and were incredibly honored to present these significant items from these landmark moments in a career that defined a sport and a nation.”
The $2.19 million Mantle jersey, which he also wore when he hit his 535th career home run, shattered the previous record of $1.3 million for a Mantle jersey, set during a Heritage auction in August 2018.
“We’ve always known this was an incredibly special jersey, as The Mick wore it when he hit his 535th home run and then signed it for a dear friend,” Ivy said. “But when it was confirmed to be the very jersey he wore when he took his final swing as a New York Yankee, that’s when it became something historic, as evidenced by the night’s results.”
Mantle’s famous 1952 Topps baseball card also brought big dollars. The card, graded NM-MT 8, sold for $1,560,000.
The auction also produced records for items from two female legends.
A Serena Williams card sold for $163,000, a record for the tennis star. The 2003 Netpro International Serena Williams No. 2A, graded PSA 7 and numbered #24/100, broke the record of $117,000 set last month for a 1999 SI For Kids Series 4 rookie card.
A non-sports legend set the other record, with a cap aviator Amelia Earhart wore when she made the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 sold for $825,000. According to Heritage, a young man found the cap on the ground after Earhart participated in the National Air Races in Cleveland in August 1929 and gifted it to a young woman named Ellie Brookhart. The leather helmet had been in her family’s possession ever since.