A protective cap worn by Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson sold for a record amount during an October auction. The cap, which was made during Robinson’s rookie season in 1947, sold for $590,994, the most ever for a hat in an auction.
The cap was sold through Lelands.com, and included a letter from Robinson’s wife Rachel, which detailed some of the specifics of the item. Since batting helmets didn’t exist during Robinson’s rookie year, three protective plates were “sewn inside the lining to protect his head from beanings,” according to the letter.
Robinson was frequently thrown at during his rookie year by racist pitchers who opposed him breaking the color barrier. He was hit nine times in 1947, and led the league the following season with seven hit-by-pitches.
Though it’s 70 years old, the cap has only one blemish — a small tear on its bill. That didn’t prevent it from selling for a record amount. It probably helped that it was the cap Robinson likely wore during the season in which he was named Rookie of the Year.
It also may have helped that the auction ended as the Dodgers were playing in the World Series. Robinson’s memory was honored prior to Game 1, as Rachel Robinson threw out the first pitch surrounded by family members.
The auction, which started Sept. 27 and ran for a month, started at $50,000. After 24 bids, it was sold for over $590,000. The name of the buyer was kept private.
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