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Babe Ruth Yankees contract aims to break world record at auction

  • Lelands Auctions recently put the Yankees' copy of the contract on the auction block.
  • The company also is auctioning off Ruth's World Series ring from the 1927 Yankees.

In 1919, the Boston Red Sox sent Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest baseball player ever, to the New York Yankees for the price of $100,000. Those who are superstitious blame that move as the origin of the "Curse of the Bambino" – Boston's 86-year drought without a World Series title.

Now sports memorabilia collectors have a chance to own a piece of that history as Lelands Auctions recently put the Yankees' copy of the contract on the auction block.

Josh Evans, founder of Lelands, told CNBC's "Closing Bell" in a recent interview that his company has big aspirations for what the document will bring in.

"We sold Babe Ruth's 1920 Yankees jersey for $4.5 million, which is the world record. This really should break it. But if it doesn't, it doesn't. I want the market to respond to where it should be."

For comparison, the copy of the Red Sox part of the deal went for close to $1 million at auction in 2005. But the contract isn't the only Ruth piece up for sale. Lelands also is auctioning off Ruth's World Series ring from the 1927 Yankees.

"Both of these pieces have incredible provenance. They've been authenticated by just about everyone and they're the real thing," Evans said.

He has been in the auction business for a long time. Evans founded Lelands when he was only 8 years old and in his time running the company he says, "These are the best pieces of sports memorabilia that's ever been offered, and I've sold a lot of it."

Sports imitating art?

When asked what these items should be going for, Evans compared them to a recent piece of art that went for a "mind-blowing" price.

"If you look at what's been happening in collectibles, or even art, a Basquiat painting just sold for $110.5 million. It cost $19,000 in 1985. Well this contract and this ring were worth a couple hundred grand back in the late '80's. These things should be worth as much as that."

There's no telling for sure what the real value of these two items is, that's why Evans is putting them on the market. "The only way to know is to put it up for auction," he said.

The bidding began just a few days ago and both the contract documents and the World Series ring have already doubled the opening price. They aren't near the goals of more than $4 million yet, so everyone will have to wait until the auction closes on June 30 to find out if they break any world records.