Ruth’s ’23 WS bat racks up $322,000 at Hunt sale

Babe Ruth was the star of Hunt’s 2007 DHL All-Star FanFest July 10 auction at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The autographed Ruth game-used bat, attributed to Game 6 of the 1923 World Series, sold to an East Cost collector for $322,000. The auction featured 675 lots of baseball memorabilia.

The bat, which had an estimate of $150,000-$250,000, was signed to opposing Giants pitcher Art Nehf, who famously buckled in the eighth inning, giving the Yankees their first World Championship title.

“With regard to condition, dating period, attribution to World Series use, and signature quality, this exemplar will stand as one of the most substantive bats of its type to have been offered at public auction and the final sale price certainly reflects that,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.

Other big sellers in the auction included the official lineup cards from the inaugural All-Star Game in 1933. The pair, which were discovered within the papers of National League coach Bill McKechnie, realized $138,000.
A stunningly clean Lou Gehrig single-signed baseball sold for $50,600, which had an estimate of $25,000-$35,000, to a longtime collector, who outlasted 11 other active phone bidders.

According to Cheryl Goyda, the Hunt Auctions official who prepares the phone bid books, the Gehrig ball was easily the most sought-after piece of memorabilia in the auction.

Meanwhile, Carl Hubbell’s Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ring fetched an impressive $36,800 (estimate of $10,000-$15,000), a Ty Cobb professional model bat sold a bit higher than the pre-sale estimate for $69,000 and Ted Williams’ 1955 Red Sox road jersey brought $51,750.
Vintage signed baseballs proved attractive to several bidders, who pushed prices well beyond the pre-sale estimates for single-signed G.C. Alexander ($13,800), Roger Maris ($4,715), Billy Martin ($1,495) and Satchel Paige ($3,565) exemplars.

Some of the team-signed baseballs commanded notable prices, including baseballs signed by the 1935 Detroit Tigers ($10,350), the New York Giants with Christy Mathewson ($14,375) and the 1948 Cleveland Indians ($8,050).

Game-used items from San Francisco’s own baseball heroes didn’t disappoint with a 1958 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants home jersey appropriately garnering the highest price of $29,900.

A bat used by Mays in the 1961 San Francisco All-Star Game fetched $14,375, and Willie McCovey’s 1972 road jersey brought $22,425, which according to Hunt Auctions officials, is a world record price.

Although more commonly known for its memorabilia offerings, Hunt Auctions has been aggressively tapping the sports card market lately with fresh estate finds and scarce candy card issues.

Among the highlights were three difficult 1913 Boston Garter cards, which rarely enter the marketplace. The jewel of the trio, a Ty Cobb example, nearly hit six figures with a final sale price of $97,750. The other two cards of Rabbit Maranville and Ed Konetchy realized $28,750 and $21,850 respectively.

An estate collection of 1914 Cracker Jacks, broken into 45 lots and featuring 11 Ty Cobbs, garnered just under $160,000. A small group of obscure George C. Miller cards sold for $3,300-$3,900 apiece, while a 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie graded SGC 84 NM wrapped up at $31,050.
Final sale prices and photos of each item may be viewed online at

Hunt Auctions Inc. is currently accepting consignments for several future auctions, including the fourth annual Louisville Slugger Museum Auction on Nov. 10 and its annual 2008 February Live Auction in Exton, Pa.

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