If you’re in the market for sports memorabilia, you might want to head to Costco. Yes, Costco.
The membership-only wholesale retailer, known for its bargains on bulk food and cleaning supplies, is selling a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth on its website for $64,000.
Costco describes it as “one of the nicest signed Babe Ruth Home Run Special Balls ever made available to the public, and is over all one of the nicest signed Babe Ruth balls known to be in existence.” Costco listed another ball signed by the Sultan of Swat in May for $30,000.
The concept might seem like a departure from Costco’s brand, offering customers staples on the cheap. Not so, said Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at the research firm eMarketer.
“It’s not totally out of character for Costco to sell high-ticket items,” he said, noting that the company has sold furniture and engagement rings, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars. “My sense is that this is some sort of experiment in high-ticket items and seeing what will sell.”
Mr. Lipsman added that it might be a sign that the company was aligning around a growing market. “Sports memorabilia has been skyrocketing over the past year,” he said.
Indeed, the PWCC 500, an index of the top 500 trading cards, reached a record high in June, and has continued climbing. Experts attribute this to the spending power of baby boomers, millennials entering the market and increasing interest from foreigners, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Costco declined to comment for this article.
Baseball collectors’ items often fetch the highest prices. A Ruth jersey sold for $5.67 million at an auction in 2019.
Along with 27 other items on the “sports memorabilia” section of its website, Costco is also selling a bat signed by Ty Cobb. The bat, which Costco describes as “ultra rare and highly valuable,” is inscribed with the phrase “With Best Wishes Sincerely” and dated “3/14/49.” It is priced at $160,000.
Both sales end on Jan. 31.