Babe Ruth bat, single-signed ball in American Memo

There’s little doubt about what is the headlining item in American Memorabilia’s Dec. 8 Holiday Gift Auction. The auction features a 1927 New York Yankees original photo signed by the entire team, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and 28 other Yankees. The signatures have been graded NM-MT 8 by PSA/DNA and their principal authority in determining veracity, Steve Grad, has recently remarked that this one is the finest of its kind that he’s ever reviewed.

“The photo even includes the batboy/mascot, Eddie Bennett, and several other very rare Yankees signatures like Charlie O’Leary, Art Fletcher, Johnny Grabowski and Urban Shocker,” said Frank Chmielewski, art director at American Memorabilia. The photo arrives with LOA’s from PSA/DNA, James Spence Authentication and a letter from George Pipgras’ Estate. The photo carries a minimum bid of $5,000.

“It was in a storage chest for all these years and then Pipgras wife found it and sold it,” said Bob Case, veteran collector and former business manager for Casey Stengel. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years and this is the best one I’ve ever seen. There are only two or three that exist.”

In addition to the photo, the auction has two other high-end Ruth signatures. One is on the sweet spot of an official American League ball holding the period stampings of Will Harridge. The other Ruth signature arrives on a 1931 D&M bat. Ruth added an inscription to New York Herald reporter Joe Bihler, one of his many friends and admirers in the media. In black fountain pen, Ruth wrote, “To Joseph James Bihler, Best Wishes, From Babe Ruth, Jan. 22, 1931.” Both items carry a minimum bid of $5,000.

Two super-rare music-related items will also be hotly pursued on Dec. 8. First, Elvis Presley’s personal “Hollywood Walk of Fame” award (1960), sourced directly from Presley’s Palm Springs estate starts with a minimum bid of $2,500. Second, John Lennon’s hand-made, signed and inscribed Christmas card with the inscription, “Happy Xmas (with a bullet) to Bruce Aquarian from Libra John” and signed his name “John Lennon” with his typical face sketch and dated “74.” The piece received a PSA Gem Mint 10 grade.

Other highlights include: a Johnny Bench game-worn catcher’s mitt believed to be one of only three or four in existence (minimum bid $2,000); 1977 Terry Bradshaw game-worn Steelers road jersey ($5,000); Joe Greene game-worn Steelers helmet ($3,000); rookie-era Roger Clemens game-worn away jersey ($900); 2001 Albert Pujols game-worn Cardinals jersey with No. 68 on back ($900); 2000 Carson Palmer game-worn USC home jersey, signed and inscribed “#3 2000” ($500); 1977-78 Bobby Hull game-worn Winnipeg Jets jersey with a letter from Spirit of the Game ($900); 1988-89 Wayne Gretzky game-worn and signed all-star jersey with letters from the NHL, PSA/DNA and Spirit of the Game ($3,000); a single-signed Bobby Jones golfball ($150); Dave Parker Pittsburgh Pirates game-worn and signed batting helmet with a Dunguard Steelers facemask ($400); and a Chris Mullin St. John’s game-worn and signed warmup jacket ($400).

Finally, there’s a wide array of Mickey Mantle signed baseballs with inscribed holiday verses.

For more information about the auction, call (800) 430-0067, or go to the website at A 120-page, full-color insert featuring the American Memorabilia Auction catalog is inserted with this issue (Dec. 9) of SCD.

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