Heritage Auctions in Dallas told ESPN and The Athletic on Wednesday the auction house initially had the bat up for sale in February with a $950,000 reserve. According to Chris Ivy, the director of sports auctions at Heritage, the bat didn't meet the reserve, but a private buyer came in after the auction to purchase the memorabilia.
"There are only a handful of bats that have ever surpassed a million dollars, either at auction or a private sale," Ivy said, according to The Athletic. "So yeah, that doesn't happen too often."
The bat, which dates back to at least 1922, had been privately exchanged before this purchase but had never been sold publicly or at auction.
Ivy said the 40-ounce piece of lumber is more significant because it is one that Gehrig sent to Hillerich & Bradsby, the makers of Louisville Slugger bats, when he joined the Yankees in 1924. Gehrig wanted the company to use the bat as a model for any other bats the company created for him.
"He sent this one back and said, 'Like the specs, I like the length, I like this weight, and I like how this bat was created in the factory,'" Ivy said, according to ESPN. "So he sent it back, which is when they dated it on April 22, 1925, and said this is the bat I want you to use to create my future bats."
However, the bat isn't the most expensive Gehrig item to hit the market. According to Ivy, a 1937 jersey -- one of only four worn by Gehrig that season -- sold last August for $2.58 million.
Gehrig played 17 seasons for the Yankees and won six World Series championships. He was a seven-time All-Star and two-time AL MVP before retiring in 1939 because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is now commonly referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease."