Babe Ruth memorabilia sale brings almost $400,000 at Goldin Auctions



2017-02-20 12:17:24

A Goldin Auctions sale dedicated to baseball legend Babe Ruth has realized almost $400,000, to help raise funds for the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.

Topping the auction was a signed contract for Ruth's first international tour to Cuba, which sold for $118,750.

The contract dated from October 1920, and followed Ruth's record-breaking season in which he set the league alight with 54 home runs. His exploits with the bat had made him an international star, and he was offered a remarkable $10,000 for a two-week, 10-game barnstorming tour of Cuba.

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

During the tour Ruth hit a legendary 500-yard home run at Almendares Park which, according to Yuyo Ruiz, author of The Bambino Visits Cuba, 1920, "Ruth fans were still talking about when the stadium was torn down in 1932.”

However, it became quickly apparent that the Havana lifestyle of rum, cigars and casinos suited Ruth a little too well, and before he knew it he had lost $20,000 – forcing him to wire the Yankees for his plane fare home.

The special auction also included a copy of the only-known photograph of Ruth and his father George Sr., taken at Christmas in 1915 behind the bar at Ruth's Cafe in Baltimore.

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

The Babe had bought his father the bar using his World Series winner's bonus, earned during his first season with the Boston Red Sox, and during the off-season he even returned to Baltimore to strap on an apron himself and help out.

The photograph displayed the remarkable similarity between the two men, and sold for $17,500.

Two further vintage photographs were amongst the standout lots. First was a photograph featuring Ruth and his equally renowned team-mate Lou Gehrig, signed to Yankees batboy Joe Glassenberg who served the team from 1926 until 1928. 

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

(Images: Goldin Auctions)

Originating from Glassbenberg's family, and described as "arguably the greatest signed photograph of all time", the picture sold for $37,500.

And a highly rare, original rookie-era news service photograph of Ruth, taken during his first season with the Red Sox, sold for $21,250.

Further top-selling lots included Ruth's game-used Hanna bat, circa 1930-32, which sold for $37,500; a baseball signed by the 1927 New York Yankees World Champions Team which fetched $25,000; and a game-used Hillerich & Bradsby bat, circa 1923-25, which sold for $20,000.


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