Graced by the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the historic dish sold for over $300,000 at SCP Auctions.
In what has been a wild year for sports trading cards and collectibles, perhaps this past weekend will be remembered as one of the most uniquely exciting. And on Saturday, one lucky collector joined the action by claiming an exclusive piece of Yankees history.
At SCP Auctions’ Winter Premier Auction 2021, the original home plate from Yankee Stadium, which dates all the way back to 1923, went to the highest bidder with a hammer price of $303,227.
The home plate served as the literal foundation for countless unforgettable moments in Yankees and MLB history, including Babe Ruth’s Opening Day home run in ’23 and Jackie Robinson’s trailblazing trip to the 1947 World Series. The item was unearthed in 1973 during the famed park’s major remodel.
The piece of Yankees lore netted the highest bid in a collection that included over 50 items from Al Tapper’s Passionate American Collection. An avid collector (as well as a playwright, composer, lyricist, and documentarian), Tapper consigned the majority of his baseball collection to SCP Auctions earlier this year.
As Tapper wrote in a letter accompanying the items, “My interest in history dates to my grammar school days… The collection did not have to be filled with politics, or entertainment, or sports. It just needed to be comprised of items that fit the bill of, ‘One of a Kind.’”
The collection did not disappoint. In addition to the Yankees’ home plate, it also featured Bobby Thomson’s hat worn during his 1951 “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” ($137,866), Curt Schilling’s bloody sock from the 2004 ALCS ($75,330), personal letters from Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, and much, much more.
All told, two pieces outside of Tapper’s lot combined to net over $1 million at the auction, including a bat used by Lou Gehrig in his final full season with the team in 1938 that sold for $715,120. An autographed photo of the 1927 Yankees squad that included Gehrig and Ruth finished up with a winning bid of $444,031.
SCP did not release the names of any of the take-home winners at this time.
One thing is clear from this event: Yankees memorabilia collectors are willing to pay as much for unique pieces as their front office is for MVP-caliber talent.