8 Highest Selling Sports Jerseys

Sports fans make a practice of collecting memorabilia from their favorite teams. From historical pieces to the jersey you wear on Sunday afternoon for the big game, fans want to represent the colors, athletes and their commitment to the game.

Over the years, the jerseys worn by superstar athletes have been sold for record shattering numbers, not to mention the overall earnings from memorabilia as a whole. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that names like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Cristiano Ronaldo and Derek Jeter have brought in some serious bank when their name or number is attached to the item, but who takes the record for highest selling sports jersey of all time?

8 Colin Kaepernick – $128,000

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In the NFL world, the title for most sports memorabilia sold belongs to Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s Tom Brady, but Kaepernick’s jersey worn in his NFL debut in Oct. 2011 is reportedly the most expensive jersey sold at auction in history according to Julien’s Auctions. Kaepernick’s debut was fairly uneventful, with just a single hand-off to Frank Gore in a 24-23 Niners win. He gifted the rookie jersey to friend and reporter Aaron Prince who auctioned it in 2019.

7 David Gallaher – $180,000

According to Worthly, the jersey worn by 1905’s New Zealand rugby star, David Gallaher in a match against Wales as part of the Originals Tour was auctioned for $110,000. Six bidders, including five from New Zealand were caught up in bidding war, with millionaire Nigel Wray believed to be the winner. He only played six tests for New Zealand but is regarded as a legend in the sport. Gallaher died in World War I, but his memory lives on in the Gallaher Shield; the symbol of club supremacy in Auckland since 1922. The Dave Gallaher trophy has been the top award for rugby in the New Zealand and France series since 2000.

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6 Edson (Pele) Arantes do Nascimento – $225,109

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According to Vercalendario, the most valuable soccer jersey every sold was the one worn by Pele in the 1970 World Cup final. Auctioned by Christie’s in 2002, it was sold by Italian international Roberto Rosato who exchanged shirts with the star after Brazil’s victory. Pele scored the first goal of the game. The soccer legend’s father was a local professional soccer player who held the distinction of scoring five goals with his head in one game. Pele became Brazil’s Minister of Sport in 1994.

5 Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger – $241,500

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He only played for 27 seconds and in one single play but may be the most famous Notre Dame football player in history. Ruettiger’s underdog story was made into a movie in 1993, starring Lord of the Ring’s Sean Astin and in 2017, the gear worn by the real-life Rudy was auctioned at nearly a quarter-million dollars. Today, Ruettiger is a motivational speaker.

4 Wilt Chamberlain – $1.2 Million

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Chamberlain set the highest NBA record for a single game during the 1961-62 season, with 100 points scored. His Philadelphia Warriors game-worn jersey sold for over $1 million, however, the auction was sold in shares of $10 a piece to the public. David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions explained, with 95,620 shares, just like you’d buy into a traditional stock, he will keep 25 percent of the jersey while collectors all over the world can ‘own’ a part of the historical piece for as little as $10.

3 Paul Henderson – $1.27 Million

According to Dynasty Sports, in 1972, Henderson wore what would become the most expensive hockey jersey ever sold during the Toronto Maple Leaf’s win over the Soviet Union team in the first Summit Series. Henderson made the winning play with 34 seconds left on the clock and Canada won seven of eight games in the series, making Henderson skyrocket to fame. Once the jersey was auctioned, it went on a Canadian tour with a collection of other hockey memorabilia.

2 Michael Jordan – $1.38 Million

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Fanatics lists Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan in the top three of NBA jersey sales of 2020, however, it’s Jordan’s game-worn jersey from his 1982-83 championship at University of North Carolina that recently sold for $1.38 million with Heritage Auctions in 2021. The previous record was also Jordan’s with a Chicago Bulls jersey selling for $480,000 but clearly the rarer piece was a hot commodity.

1 Babe Ruth – $5.64 Million

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In 2019, the Sultan of Swat broke his own record during a Hunt Auction in which his original 1928-1930 jersey sold for $5.6 million. The previous record was held by Ruth as well for another Yankees jersey that sold for $4.4 million from 1920. The Babe is one of baseball’s all-time greats, holding a then-record of 714 home runs throughout his career spanning from 1914-1935 and four World Series titles. According to USA Today, the Babe Ruth jersey is the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia every sold.

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Sources: Vercalendario, Dynasty Sports, USA Today, Worthly, Fanatics

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