Jackie Robinson's first Major League Baseball contract goes up for auction

Jackie Robinson's MLB contract up for auction

Before his number was retired throughout all of baseball, before he became an American legend and before he stepped between the lines of a baseball diamond for the first time, breaking the sport's color barrier, Jackie Robinson had to do something all ballplayers do before they can play the game: sign his big league contract.

The historic deal made him the first black player in the major. Now, the contract Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers could go on permanent display.

"The document is more than just an important baseball item that ever existed. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'I didn't start the Civil Rights Movement, Jackie Robinson did.' And these documents are the founding documents of the Civil Rights Movement," said Ken Goldin.  

Goldin Auctions began accepting bids for the contract this week with a starting price of $5 million. But on Friday, the auction was postponed after an anonymous party approached Goldin about buying the contract outright with the stipulation it would be displayed publicly.

The contract was signed on April 11, 1947 – four days before Robinson's historic debut. It guaranteed the Dodgers would pay him $5,000 for the season.

Appraisers said the contract – along with the deal Robinson signed with the minor league Montreal Royals – are valued now at $36 million.