Williams became frustrated in the final, against eventual champion Naomi Osaka, and smashed her Wilson racket. She was issued a point violation as a result.
That then led to a confrontation between Williams and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos, where she called him a “thief” for deducting points.
That incident aside, the racket was placed on the ground behind Williams’ chair and noticed by Justin Arrington-Holmes, who had been a U.S. Open ball boy since 2013.
Following the match, Holmes took a picture with Williams and she said he could keep the racket.
Holmes sold the racket to Brigandi Coins and Collectibles in Manhattan for $500.
Brigandi Coins then sold the racket to a third party, who has placed the item up for auction through Goldin Auctions.
The auction began on November 18 and opened at $2,000. The racket is expected to sell for about five figures.
“I think the low end would be $10,000, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to $25,000 or $50,000,” said Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions.