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Auction House seeking Great Bambio Memorabilia for Babe Ruth Centennial Auction

by Rob Bertrand (04/14/14).

Goldin Auctions is seeking items related to Babe Ruth for the Babe Ruth Centennial Auction, taking place on July 12, exactly 100 years to the day Ruth played in his first Major League Baseball game.

Babe Ruth. No other name in all of sports, or Americana, for that matter, can transcend generational divides the way he does. It seems that no matter when one was born, chances are, you are at least familiar with the name if not intimately aware of his great dominance and impact on the sport of baseball and American history.

Do you or a family member own a piece of sports history tied to the Great Bambino? Perhaps an original photograph, advertising piece, a Ruth-signed baseball or other autographed items? If you have ever thought about selling your Ruthian memorabilia, now is the time to have them evaluated and potentially sold as Goldin Auctions, in partnership with Steiner Sports Memorabilia and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum prepares to celebrate the Sultan of Swat’s first big league game with the Babe Ruth Centennial Auction, taking place on July 12, exactly 100 years to the day Ruth played in his first Major League Baseball game.

“As a player, Babe Ruth was in a class by himself and, appropriately, his influence on the sports collectibles industry is unmatched,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. “The Babe did everything big, so it’s appropriate to celebrate him with the biggest sports memorabilia auction ever.”

One of the items collected for the upcoming Babe Ruth Centennial Auction, which will take place on July 12, exactly 100 years to the day Ruth played in his first Major League Baseball game.

The company has recently concluded an Antiques Roadshow-style tour of the country, meeting with countless people and appraising and taking consignments for hundreds of pieces of Babe Ruth memorabilia. Goldin Auction representatives hosted events in Kansas City, Mo., Philadelphia and Mount Laurel, N.J., in search of Ruthian treasures.

“While 90 percent of what we saw either wasn’t for us or was not authentic, we did locate some truly one of a kind pieces,” said Goldin in a recent phone conversation.

A 1914 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, when Ruth was playing for Baltimore in the International League.

One of the truly unique discoveries was the “first” home run ball Ruth ever hit out of the park at Yankee Stadium. With Opening Day of the 1923 season a little more than two months away, Babe Ruth put on a hitting performance for members of the press to showcase the new stadium and its short, hitter-friendly, right-field depth. The ball was retrieved by a construction worker, who promptly asked Ruth to sign the ball, which is also inscribed it with the words, “New Yankee Field Feb 14-23.”

Other items being featured in the auction include: a 1914 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, one of the earliest known bats used by Ruth in a game, circa 1916, and many more.

Goldin said that he had personally met with the grandson of Babe Ruth’s doctor and acquired from him a typewritten letter from Ruth, thanking the doctor for recent treatment he had performed on Ruth, allowing him to get back on the field quickly after an injury. It is these types of personalized items with great, detailed provenance that will set the auction apart and make it a truly one-of-of-a-kind event.

While the auction will mainly focus on Ruth, coveted items related to other New York Yankee greats—such as Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra—will also cross the block, including: a 1941 DiMaggio game-used bat from the season of his 56-game hitting streak, MVP and World Series championship; a 1966 Mantle game-used and signed fielder’s glove (the last glove he wore as a centerfielder), his 1960 player’s contract and a Mantle game-used and signed bat from his 1951 rookie season; plus a matched pair of Yogi Berra game used catcher’s mitt and mask.

In terms of the most valuable sports memorabilia and collectibles, Babe Ruth-related items currently hold four of the top-10 slots, including the high-selling sports-related auction article of all time: the earliest-known example of a Babe Ruth jersey, which realized $4,415,658 in 2012. Rounding out the Ruthian top 10 include (No. 7) the bat Ruth used to hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium ($1.265 million), (No. 9) Babe Ruth’s Boston Red Sox-to-N.Y. Yankees contract ($996,000) and (No. 10) the jersey Ruth wore when he hit his “called shot” home run in the 1932 World Series in Chicago ($940,000). 

This is the earliest-known example of a Babe Ruth jersey (1920), which realized $4,415,658—the highest price for a piece of sports memorabilia—in 2012.

The bat Ruth used to hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium sold for $1.265 million, placing it at No. 7 on the top 10 highest-priced sports memorabilia items.

The auction will be highlighted by live bidding at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, on July 12, which will feature approximately 200 high-end pieces of Ruth memorabilia. More than 1,000 additional lots will be auctioned online and ending the following day, July 13.

Anyone wishing to inquire about the authenticity or appraisal value of their own Babe Ruth items is encouraged to contact Goldin Auctions directly at 856.767.8550.


Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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