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10 Top Selling Sports Collectibles from 2023

Stunning collectibles from legends of the game dominated the top sales of 2023.
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When collectors look back at the thousands of sports auctions that took place in 2023, they’ll remember not only the incredible prices realized, but that the list of top-selling items was focused largely on legends lost from yesteryear. But a few items did celebrate former superstars who are still amongst us, so getting an autograph from one of them might still be within reach.

In price-descending order, here’s the impressive lineup.

To no one’s surprise, the top-selling sports collectible from 2023 commemorated the great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth. Baseball’s most recognized Yankee still managed to grab headlines 75 years after his death. On Dec. 3, a 1914 Baltimore News rookie card of Ruth, graded SGC 3, sold through Robert Edward Auctions (REA) for an incredible $7.2 million.

Sotheby’s sold the next two most expensive items – both game-worn basketball jerseys – that saluted the Hall of Fame careers of Los Angeles Lakers legends Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain. Bryant’s autographed Lakers home jersey from the 2007-08 NBA season (his lone league MVP season) fetched $5,849,700 on Feb. 9. The remarkable garment was worn by Bryant in 25 games from that campaign including six playoff games. That season, Bryant averaged 28 points per game and led L.A. to the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, the Chamberlain jersey was worn by “The Big Dipper” in two games during the 1972 NBA Finals (Game 2 and the clinching Game 5) and sold for a whopping $4.9 million on Sept. 28. The 13-time All-Star was named MVP of the ‘72 Finals after averaging 19 points and 23 rebounds per game.

Mickey Mantle secured spots No. 4 and No. 5 with a game-worn Yankees home jersey from 1958 and a high-grade example of his coveted 1952 Topps Baseball card. Both items sold via Heritage Auctions on Aug. 19 for $4,680,000 and $4.5 million, respectively. The photomatched gamer from ‘58 came from a season in which “The Mick” batted .304, knocked in 97 runs and launched 42 home runs to lead the Yankees to their 18th World Series title. The ‘52 Topps #311 card, graded SGC 9, had provenance to the late hobby mainstay Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen who purchased thousands of pristine cards from the iconic set in the 1980s.


Basketball bounced back to capture spots No. 6 and No. 7. Michael Jordan’s 1992 “Dream Team” U.S. Men’s Olympic signed and game-worn white No. 9 jersey sold for $3,030,000 at Goldin Auctions on May 27. The jersey, which Jordan inscribed to teammate Karl Malone, was photo-matched to Team USA’s semifinal win over Lithuania on August 6, 1992, a game in which Jordan scored 21 points to go with four assists and three rebounds. Another MJ-related item, a pair of signed black-and-red Air Jordan XIII Nike sneakers worn in Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals, pulled down $2.2 million on April 11 at Sotheby’s. In that game, Jordan scored 37 points as he helped the Bulls even the series at one game apiece.

Coming in at No. 8, the next item that commanded a phenomenal price at auction was a 1922-24 game-used bat that belonged to Babe Ruth and sold for $1,323,000 at REA on August 13. The extraordinary Babe Ruth H&B signature-model bat, graded GU 10 by PSA/DNA, measures 36 inches long and weighs a Ruthian 41.9 ounces. During that three-year stretch, Ruth was especially productive as he recorded batting averages of .315, .393, and a league-leading .378, respectively, while also averaging 41 home runs and 117 RBI.

Football finally cracked the list of top-selling sports items at No. 9 in 2023 as former 49ers great Joe Montana’s game-worn Niners jersey that he wore in two different Super Bowls went for $1.2 million through Goldin Auctions on May 27. The four-time SB champion QB wore this same red 49ers jersey in Super Bowl XIX and again four years later in Super Bowl XXIII. Montana was named MVP in SB XIX after throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns.


The final item brings yet another sport and deserving superstar into the mix. Wayne Gretzky’s 1999 New York Rangers game-worn jersey from the final game (April 18, 1999) of his illustrious NHL career, sold on June 11 for $715,120 via Grey Flannel Auctions. Besides being his final gamer, it was also the jersey in which the then-38-year-old Gretzky recorded an assist to Brian Leetch for his 2,857th and final career point at the 19:30 mark of the second period at Madison Square Garden.

As the 2024 auction circuit starts to unfold, it’s clear that appreciation for the finer things in sports is alive and well.

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