A Lou Gehrig jersey claimed the highest price for a piece of sports memorabilia in Heritage Auctions’ latest blockbuster sale.
The New York Yankees jersey sold for $870,000, setting a new world record for a piece of Lou Gehrig memorabilia at auction.
Gehrig’s game-worn jersey dated back to the 1937 season, in which he won the World Series with the Yankees for the fifth time in his career.
The jersey is also the very one worn by Gehrig in this famous photograph, which was later used as the basis for his memorial plaque in Monument Park.
The photograph was taken by the official Yankees photographic service ‘Cosmo-Sileo Co.’, and remains one of the most famous portraits in baseball history
Following the 1937 season, the jersey made its way down the baseball chain to one of the Yankees’ farm clubs, where it was stripped of its original NY logo.
However, it retained its original number "4" – the first number to be retired from Major League Baseball, when Gehrig made his emotional farewell at Yankee Stadium in June 1939.
Gehrig’s remarkable career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and in June 1941 the debilitating disease also claimed his life.
Just a few weeks after his passing, the Yankees paid tribute to their hero with a memorial game in his honour. Attending fans were each presented with a special ticket, printed with the same photograph of Gehrig smiling back from the afterlife.
The Heritage sale also offered a copy of the official rookie contract which took Gehrig to the Yankees.
He had first signed with the team in 1923, but had then been loaned out to the Hartford Senators in Connecticut, where he won an army of fans before making his way back to the big show in 1924.
The signed document, which launched one of the greatest careers in U.S sporting history, fetched a final price of $480,000.