Ripken high school ball brings $10,307

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A local sports memorabilia agent continues to profit from Cal Ripken Jr.

Thursday night a ball autographed by every member of the 1978 Aberdeen High School baseball team, including Ripken, was sold for $10,307 at an Eldersburg auction.

Robert Urban, who is known as "Mr. Memorabilia" and orchestrates auctions in exchange for a commission of the items sold, was behind Thursday's sale.

Urban also helped a collector get nearly $46,000 last year for the ball Ripken hit for a home run the night he tied Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played. Urban is at work again trying to sell the ball and said this summer he is seeking a record $1 million for it.

Urban said the marketplace for such items changed when a Marylander paid a $500,000 annuity for Eddie Murray's 500th home run ball to Dan Jones, the fan who caught Murray's blast at Camden Yards. Urban said he could have gotten about $100,000 for Murray's ball before the annuity offer was made.

Urban issued a press release yesterday saying a local businessman purchased the 1978 Aberdeen High School autographed ball, and plans to keep the item in the state. The winning bidder will exhibit and rent the ball out for promotional purposes, according to Urban's release.

Urban said people from all over the country bid on Ripken's high school ball, adding, "This is another milestone price paid for a pre-major-league player item. Again, it goes to show the power of Cal Ripken Jr. in the marketplace."

A football used in a 1958 Baltimore Colts game -- and later signed by members of the championship team -- also was sold at the auction for $3,513, a price Urban said could be the highest ever for a team-signed pro football.

Pub Date: 10/26/96

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