Newly Discovered 1916-18 Bat Headlines Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary Auction

Goldin Auctions: Consign to the Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary AuctionThe dream of every homeowner is to uncover a hidden treasure in the attic, basement or behind the sofa cushions left by the previous owner. That dream came true for a Massachusetts family when they uncovered a cache of game used baseball bats from the best Red Sox players of the pre-World War I period including Babe Ruth. After its discovery, the bat which previously lay undisturbed for 97 years, was displayed for fans to enjoy at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum for several months.

Now, one of the two oldest Ruth bats in existence will be offered for sale timed with the 100th Anniversary of The Babe’s MLB debut in the Goldin Auctions Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary Auction on July 12, 2014 at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum and online beginning on June 16. A preview of the auction opens “today” (June 13) at www.GoldinAuctions.com.

While any game used bat once swung by The Bambino is something special, bats dating from his days with the Red Sox are unbelievably rare – in fact less than a handful exist. This is one of only two known Ruth branded bats from 1918 or earlier. The bat has several distinctions that reveal it to be from 1916-18. The first is that it was stamped at the factory with a simple “RUTH” in block letters which dates the bat as being made before July 9, 1918 when Ruth signed his first contract with Hillerich & Bradsby. Every bat subsequently manufactured featured a facsimile signature on the barrel. The H&B “dash-dot-dash” style center brand, which is featured on this bat, was first used in 1916. And finally, its specifications: of 40.5 ounces and 35.75″ length correspond with those of very early Ruth bats.

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Two of the many identifying marks that confirmed to experts that the bat was game used by The Babe include: cleat imprints on the barrel as Ruth always banged out his spikes on his bats’ barrel and; a grouping of ball and stitch impressions found on the left barrel above Ruth’s stamped name since Ruth oddly gripped his bat with the center brand turned down making contact just above his name on the barrel. Exerts anticipate the bat (Lot #3) fetching upwards of $350,000-$500,000.

“For centuries people have been searching for buried treasure. It used to be gold coins and precious jewels but today it is artwork, sports memorabilia and historical artifacts,’ explained Ken Goldin Founder of Goldin Auctions. “The fact that a 1916 Babe Ruth game used Red Sox bat can be unearthed after 97 years in the cellar of a Massachusetts home makes us realize that there is plenty more buried treasure still hidden in attics, basements and storage sheds all across America. We are honored to share this great find and allow someone to add it to their collection.”

Although there are many items from Ruth’s Yankees career being offered for sale in the Goldin Auctions Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary Auction what makes this auction historic are the truly rare artifacts that were part of The Bambino’s rise to greatness and tell his entire life story, from a troubled youth in the St., Mary’s Home for Boys to the most famous person in America. A few of the other rare early Ruth items include:

Lot #57 – 1918 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Contract (Opening Bid $250,000) – The Babe’s copy of the earliest known Ruth player contract. After winning 24 games and posting a 2.01 ERA in 1917, Ruth was given a raise from $3,500 to $5,000 for 1918. This was also the year of the Red Sox last World Series title until they broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004. The 4-page 8 1/2″ x 14″ American League Player’s Contract has been signed on the 3rd page by “Geo. H. Ruth” (10/10) , AL President Ban Johnson (10/10) and Red Sox owner H.H. Frazee (10/10). The document is displayed in its own custom museum-quality 10″ x 15 ¼” x 1 ¼” red leather bound book. The terms of this contract were in place with compensation modified as part of his sale to the Yankees the following season, meaning this contract was not only in effect for his last two years with the Red Sox, but also his first two years with the Yankees. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

Lot #58 – 1919 Promissory Note from the Yankees to the Red Sox in Payment for the Sale of Babe Ruth (Opening Bid $50,000) – One of the original three promissory notes given to Red Sox owner Harry Frazee in payment for Babe Ruth’s contract. The 7.5″ x 9.5″ note is dated “December 30, 1919”, and the type reads “Note of $25,000, due November 1st, 1921, made by the American League Base Ball Club of New York in favor of the Boston American League Base Ball Club.” The document was originally owned by Barry Halper who purchased a large collection of documents from the estate of Ed Barrow. This promissory note was one of Halper’s most prized possessions as he sold most of the Barrow material during his Sotheby’s sale in 1999, but held on to this note due to its historical significance.

Lot #25 – 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie Card (PSA 1) (Opening Bid $100,000) – the first baseball card ever issued of Ruth while he was an International League rookie – straight out of the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. One of the rarest cards in the hobby with just 10 known examples. This card last sold in 2013 for $450,000 – three-times the $150,000 sale price in 2009.

Lot #72 – 1918-20 Babe Ruth Game Used & Signed Louisville Slugger “The Curse of the Bambino” Bat with a Connection to Buck Weaver of the Black Sox Scandal (PSA/DNA GU 10 and MEARS 10) (Opening Bid $100,000) – Considered one of the most historically significant bats that exist by experts. Buck Weaver, best known as a member of the 1919 Black Sox asked Ruth to sign a bat to his friend Eddie Maier in 1920. Thorough research shows that The Babe used this bat during the years 1918-1920, spanning the years Ruth spent with the Red Sox and Yankees. The slugger proudly signed and personalized the bat in black fountain pen: “To My Friend Eddie Maier from Babe Ruth 1920.” The particular Hillerich & Bradsby center brand is of the “dash-dot-dash” variety, once thought to have only been used during the 1916-1917 period. The bat itself shows excellent game use with several ball marks on the left barrel above Ruth’s stamped signature.

Although the Ruth items are the centerpieces of the historic auction, collectors can also bid upon items from other legends like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and many more. To register for the auction and a free catalog, visit www.GoldinAuctions.com.

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