Hunt Auctions recently paid $771,096 for a Babe Ruth 1934 Tour of Japan game-worn uniform in a unique sale described as a “private phone auction.”
David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, said he purchased the historical item on behalf of a client, who has chosen to remain anonymous. Hunt officials said the uniform was recently discovered after more than 70 years of seclusion. It had been worn by Ruth on the famed Oriental Tour of Japan and the Pacific just before the beginning of World War II.
No information was made available about the seller of the uniform.
“I am elated to have acquired such a monumental piece relating to one of the most adored men in American sports and cultural history,” said Hunt. “The fact that the item had not previously been located only added to my interest on behalf of our client. The 1934 Tour of Japan remains one of the most fabled of its type in sports history,” he added.
“Besides the Tour’s importance in sports history, the world events that unfolded within the very country in which Ruth wore this uniform which initiated the involvement of the United States into World War II with the bombing of Pearl Harbor only added to the desirability of this piece.”
Memorabilia related to the 1934 Tour of Japan are highly coveted by major sports memorabilia collectors, and Hunt officials noted that the Babe Ruth uniform is the finest 1934 Tour of Japan item to enter the marketplace.
“We were aggressively prepared to take advantage of this unique offering and in comparison with other similar Ruth-related artifacts that have sold either in the range or in excess, of $1 million, we feel strongly that this Ruth uniform is among the very finest of those objects.”
Hunt also noted that the uniform will be unveiled at the Louisville Slugger Auction this fall (Nov. 12) in Louisville, Ky. It marks the second year in a row that Hunt Auctions has collaborated with the famed Kentucky bat maker for a live auction at the Hillerich & Bradsby headquarters and museum in downtown Louisville.