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1928 Sporting News Counter Display with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig!
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $29,000.00
Previously unknown Sporting News diecut advertising counter display featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig promoting the sale of baseball's most popular periodical. It is almost inconceivable that such an extraordinary advertising display could surface for the first time ever at such a late date, but occasionally collecting miracles do happen, and this is a prime example. This is not only one of the best baseball advertising displays ever produced, featuring the two greatest stars of the era, this is the ONLY advertising sign we have ever seen featuring Ruth and Gehrig in their prime. There are, of course, many advertising pieces that have been produced over the years featuring Ruth alone, and a few featuring Gehrig, but none featuring both stars together, let alone in color. The fact that this sign advertises for the most important baseball newspaper of the day, The Sporting News, also contributes to making this one of the best baseball advertising displays that could possibly exist. This famous pose of Ruth and Gehrig was used in printed advertisements for Louisville Slugger in the 1927 and 1928, and appears on the cover of the 1929 Sporting News record book, thus dating the sign to 1927, 1928, or 1929. The text below the classic image of Ruth and Gehrig, on this sign is presented in full color, reads "Take it from Babe and Lou - The Sporting News - Is a Home Run with the Bases Filled when it comes to Baseball Information. For Sale Here Weekly The Year Round." The copyright production credit in the lower right reads "Compton & Sons Co. St. Louis and N.Y." While the sign is a new discovery, this is not the only counter display advertising sign of this design and general style produced by The Sporting News. Two examples of another design, featuring Babe Ruth standing alone, are known to exist. (One of these examples appeared in REA's March 2001 sale as lot 451.) This sign was apparently one of a series of diecut advertising store displays produced by The Sporting News, though it is also possible that different designs were issued in different years. The sign was manufactured utilizing the highest quality materials and production values. The fact that this sign dates from the 1920s - an era noted for the poor production quality of most printed advertising materials - makes this piece all the more extraordinary. The counter display has survived in such high grade in large part because decades ago it was mounted upon a heavy white cardboard backing which helped to preserve and protect it. Robert Edward Auctions has had that backing professionally removed. A few light adhesive stains appear on the blank reverse, along with remnants of an easel backing which has long ago been removed. (The sign was originally designed with an easel back on the reverse to allow it to stand freely on the store counter.) Aside from a few minor surface wrinkles (barely detectable, only visible when viewed at certain angles, and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy) the display is in Excellent to Mint condition. This is the first time this advertising piece has ever been seen, let alone ever appeared at auction. By any measure, this is one of the most desirable of all baseball advertising display pieces, and a worthy centerpiece for even the most advanced baseball advertising or Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig collection. Dimensions: 12 x 8.5 inches. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000. SOLD FOR $29,000.00
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