Great Finds: Rare Babe Ruth Poster Found in Wall of Demolished House

This 14- by 22-inch poster is believed to be the only surviving poster from a scheduled exhibition game featuring Ruth at Lexington Park in St. Paul, Minn., on June 16, 1926. (Photo: Heritage Auctions)

Babe Ruth, who played his first Major League baseball game 100 years ago this summer, continues to be a heavy hitter in the sports collectibles market.

If you have an old house in Minnesota, start tearing down those walls… they seem to have very valuable items used as insulation up there.

The word has come down from St. Paul that a rare poster of Babe Ruth was found during the demolition of an old house there. The 88-year-old poster is up for sale and could fetch more than $20,000 at Heritage Auctions’ May 15-17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction.

“As the walls were being knocked down, (a demolition worker) noticed it within the paper insulation,” Chris Ivy, of Heritage Aucitons, told FoxNews.com. “We let him know that he found a diamond in the rough, so to speak.”

This copy of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, was found by a Minnesota man in the wall of an abandoned house he bought and was remodeling. (Photo: Comic Connect)

While this poster may deliver a nice chunk of change to the wall-knocker-downer, it has a long way to go to match the most valuable collectible found in a Minnesota wall over the last couple of years. That honor goes to an edition of Action Comics #1 that was found in the wall of a small house that was being renovated in Elbow Lake in West-Central Minnesota. It sold for $175,000 in June of 2013. It was graded by CGC at 1.5 and originally estimated to be worth only about $75,000 because—funny story here—when the man showed the comic to his family, the cover was torn off by his in-laws during an argument when they tried to grab it. Gotta love the in-laws, right? 

Well, back to the St. Paul poster. It measures 14 by 22 inches and was printed on medium weight cardstock to promote a visit by the Great Bambino and his Yankee brethren for an exhibition game. In a move that was sure to have gotten a print shop apprentice fired, the printer had reversed the Babe’s name, which was shown as “Ruth Babe.”

The Yankees had used an off day between games against the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox to schedule a June 16 exhibition game against the St. Paul Saints—a AAA minor league team—at Lexington Park in 1926. The game itself was rained out, but St. Paulians did not leave the park totally disappointed, as the Sultan of Swat treated the fans to a batting practice demonstration of his patented bombs over the outfield fence.

Baseball cards with errors or imperfections can often be more valuable than the regular run-of-the-mill cards, but the poster’s imperfections—the Ruth Babe businesses and a handwritten “1926” on the bottom of the poster—probably will not boost its final value.

“Our estimate is $20,000-plus, we’re expecting it to be in that range,” Ivy said. “It’s the only known poster to survive this barnstorming excursion. This is one-of-a-kind.”

Now, whose got an old house in Minnesota? I’ve got some crowbars.


Gregory Watkins is the editor of WorthPoint.com You can e-mail him at greg.watkins@worthpoint.com

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