A collection of rare memorabilia from the personal collection of Babe Ruth, including the last contract he ever signed as a member of the Boston Braves and his farewell letter to the Yankees are up for bids in the Goldin Auctions 2016 Premium Live Auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City on August 4.
The auction, which begins accepting bids online on July 11, features 100 lots of memorabilia, each valued at $10,000 or above. Ten different lots in the live auction feature Ruth-related items. Additionally, a corresponding catalog auction running through August 13 online at www.GoldinAuctions.com includes additional Ruth memorabilia.
After a legendary career with the Yankees, Ruth finished out his career with the Boston Braves. Lot #38 offers the very last contract Ruth ever signed and is housed in a custom 10-by-12-inch hand-tooled leather case embossed with “BABE RUTH HIS LAST CONTRACT 1935 BOSTON BRAVES” in gold leaf. The cover opens to reveal the contract stored within a gold-trimmed fabric-covered folio under a protective acetate page. The standard National League Uniform Player’s Contract made out to “George Herman Ruth” includes his team as the “Boston National League Baseball Company” and the terms “$25,000 per year for a term of three years”. The second page is dated February 28, 1935 (a mere two days after the Yankees released him) and has been signed by Ruth with a very bold and dark stroke, Braves president Emil Fuchs and witnesses Samuel Silverman, F. Burton Whitman and James O’Leary. The signature has been rated a perfect Gem Mint 10 by PSA/DNA. As a working document, the contract has two horizontal folds and slight edge wear from storage, as well as some slight staining on the first page. None of this distracts what so ever from the historical significance and condition of the signatures inside.
“It has been our honor to sell a pair of Ruth Yankee contracts recently for record prices, and despite Ruth playing just 28 games for the Boston Braves, we expect this document to follow suit,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. “Combined with his farewell letter to the Yankees and one of the last autographed photos he ever signed, this is a trio of historic artifacts that truly put a punctuation mark on a remarkable life and career.”
Lot #37 presents a “Farewell Letter” written by Ruth to Yankees owner Dan Topping the day after Babe Ruth Day. This 7.25-by-10-inch letter on “Babe Ruth” personal stationery is dated June 14, 1948. The historic last letter ever written by Ruth to the Yankees reads, “My dear Dan: May I take this opportunity of thanking you and the New York Yankees organization for the watch which I received from you on Sunday. It was deeply appreciated. It was unfortunate that the weatherman played tricks on us but the lack of clear weather was made up for by the warmth of the ovation the Old Timers received. And I especially wish to add my words of thank you for the privilege of participating in this celebration. With kind personal regards, believe me, I am, Sincerely, Babe Ruth.” The signature is in blue fountain pen, and grades (“9/10”). The letter has the usual folds, has some light staining near the top edge, and is matted with glue to a black construction paper background. This item comes with a full LOA from PSA/DNA (AA06094).
A third remarkable Ruth item is Lot #39, a PSA 10 Gem Mint graded 11-by-14-inch Ruth signed and inscribed photo from “BABE RUTH LIFETIME OF PICTURES AND LETTER”, scrapbook that was filled with pictures, newspaper columns and letters of well wishes and press materials. It was presented to Babe’s wife Claire by the Yankees after his death. The photo presents, quite possibly, Ruth’s boldest black fountain signature ever, and reads “With best wishes From Babe Ruth.” The photo is in tremendous condition with very little wear to the front surface. The reverse exhibits some slight paper loss as the photo was house via corner album tabs and glued in one location. This signed photo is possibly the largest single-signed Ruth signed photo extant, making it one of the greatest Babe Ruth signed photographs to ever go to auction. This comes with a full LOA from PSA/DNA which graded the signature as GEM MINT 10.
To register for the auction or to receive a free catalog, visit www.GoldinAuctions.com.