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Sultan of Swat Collectibles: As Great as the Babe

by Sandra Lee Stuart (09/23/08).

Every once in a while, an athlete comes along who transcends his or her sport. These precious few are bigger than the game, and they become the embodiment of their country. People search incessantly for their collectibles.

Babe Ruth was one of these athletes. Even today, more than 70 years after he last set foot on the baseball diamond, everyone knows his name. And it’s not just sports fans who appreciate Babe Ruth—Americans from all walks of life recognize him as the legend he is.

Ruth is arguably the most dominant player in the history of baseball. He holds too many records for me to list here in this little blog. In short, Babe Ruth is a once-in-a-lifetime baseball player the likes of which may never be seen again.

As the result of his groundbreaking career, the market for Babe Ruth collectibles is at an all-time high. So with the last game having been played in Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth Built, let’s look at a few of the most interesting (and valuable) Babe Ruth collectibles.

Babe Ruth Game-Used Jersey—Authentic Babe Ruth memorabilia is valuable. Period. An authentic game-used jersey is even more valuable. Antique game-used jerseys like this are fairly rare because players were only issued a few jerseys per season. Recently, a 1933 Babe Ruth Yankees pinstripe jersey sold at auction for more than $650,000. The fabric of this jersey showed slight wear and tear, which I think actually enhanced the appeal of this collectible. What I wouldn’t do to have a Babe Ruth game-used jersey

Babe Ruth Autographed Baseball—Autographed baseballs from Babe Ruth aren’t exactly the rarest collectibles. Babe was known as a generous guy who always signed autographs for his fans. That being said, it’s still an antique autographed-ball from the greatest baseball player of all time. So, it’s highly desirable and valuable. These pieces of memorabilia routinely fetch more than $20,000 at auctions throughout the country.

Babe Ruth Signed Game-Used Bat—Just the other day, WorthPoint’s very own Howard Lau scored a rare piece of Babe Ruth memorabilia at an auction. The collectible was a Babe Ruth game-used bat that was signed for a Broadway star. To say this collectible is rare is an understatement, but Howard was very low key about his find. I guess that’s how it is when you own one of the premier sports memorabilia shops in Houston, but I know I’d be bouncing off the walls if I had landed that collectibles!

WorthPoint—the premier Web site for art, antiques and collectibles

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