Hunt Auctions announced the sale of a 1950 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers professional model home jersey for a staggering price in excess of $4,200,000, a record for any Robinson game used item. The jersey was placed via private treaty sale to a client represented by Tony Arnold of Tonyetrade Enterprises and has been matched to several images taken during the 1950 season by Resolution Photomatching and Photo-Match.com. The jersey was also authenticated by Dave Grob at SGC who assigned the shirt a grade of Excellent/Superior.
"The record price attained for the 1950 Jackie Robinson jersey is not only a testament to the vibrant strength of the sports memorabilia marketplace but also serves as yet another reminder of Jackie's significance to American sports and popular culture." Remarked David Hunt, President, Hunt Auctions. "For years we have witnessed pricing increase for items related to Robinson's iconic career and see more room for growth as his legacy is becoming, appropriately so, more significant to each generation of fans. We are thrilled to have been involved in such an important transaction for this historic artifact."
On the morning of April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson, then 27 years old, stepped from his midtown Manhattan hotel and boarded a train to Ebbetts Field in the nearby borough of Brooklyn. He was to play his first game in Major League Baseball with their beloved team, the Dodgers. Robinson had signed on with the organization in 1946 joining the Minor League affiliated Montreal Royals of the International League where he excelled. By seasons end he was named Most Valuable Player batting .349 and displayed prowess of similar levels defensively with an .985 fielding percentage. He also proved an immense drawing card with more than 1,000,000 fans attending games in which he participated, an incredible figure by League standards. More than 26,500 fans showed up on the 15th to watch the Dodgers home opener against the Boston Braves and setting foot onto the field for a 2:25pm start, Jackie Robinson made history. The first African American to play in organized baseball during the 20th Century. Baseballs' unofficial "color barrier" had stood since 1884 when Moses Fleetwood Walker played in (42) games for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. Though no formal ruling existed a succession of baseball leaders had, for nearly (60) years, openly opposed African American participation in the game. These views had long mirrored those which were culturally accepted however as the 19th Century turned to the 20th these beliefs, and their underpinnings, were quickly losing support. Just six days prior to start of Major League play in 1947 Jackie Robinson got the call. He was to debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers at home in Ebbetts Field, on April 15th. A sharecropper's son born into the deep South was set to become a face of the Civil Rights movement and a pivotal figure in modern American history.
The record price for any baseball memorabilia item remains held by the Babe Ruth New York Yankees professional model road jersey c.1928-30 sold in 2019 for $5,640,000 by Hunt Auctions. The Robinson jersey has established a record price for any post-war era professional model baseball jersey.