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1927 Babe Ruth "Sixty Home Run" Display
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $9,988
This rare large-format display print was produced to commemorate Babe Ruth's then single-season record of sixty home runs in 1927. The attractive design of the print features an 8 x 10-inch photo of Ruth in the center, surrounded by sixty illustrated baseballs. Each ball records, respectively, the pertinent information regarding each of Ruth's home runs that season: home run number, date, team played, and the name of the pitcher against whom the home run was hit. Two additional balls, notated in the exact same manner as the other sixty, record Ruth's two World Series home runs in 1927. The number "60" is displayed in the background in large numbers, and the year "1927" is featured along the bottom border. This is a very unusual example of this piece in that when it was originally made, the photograph affixed to the center was autographed by Ruth. The signed photo that was originally on this piece has long ago been removed and replaced with a similar photo that is not signed. The photo now affixed to the center of the piece is not original to it, and is not signed, creating a very interesting and very likely unique collecting opportunity to acquire this rare display at an affordable level. These presentation displays, of which only a few are known, were originally issued with a very slightly larger photo of Ruth in the center. (A faint outline of the border areas of the original photo, measuring approximately 9 x 13 inches, is still visible under close inspection). These were very special presentation pieces created for Ruth to be given as gifts to his close friends and associates. In all of the other few known examples, the center photo has also been signed and inscribed by Babe Ruth. These signed examples (all others are signed) are among the premier Ruth signed pieces in existence. Obviously, in the case of this piece, a former owner decided to remove the original signed photo issued with it. But he did not replace it with just any photo. He purposely sought out an image of Ruth that is nearly identical to that of the original photo in order to maintain the integrity of the piece. In fact, it is only by a close comparison to another (signed) example of this print that one even notices the slight difference between the two photos, each of which pictures Ruth in uniform at the plate in a virtually identical pose. While this piece is unsigned, it maintains its superb display value. We think this is a fascinating piece. While it is a given that few can afford a signed example, if one were to even be available, this may be the only original modest-value unsigned example that will ever surface. As a point of reference, we have seen only two of these prints offered at public auction in the last eleven years, both of which featured an original signed photo of Ruth. One appeared as lot 609 in the 1999 Barry Halper Auction and realized a final sale price of $46,000, while the second, offered at auction in 2008, realized a final sale price of $66,000. This unique print offers the collector an outstanding opportunity to acquire what is universally recognized as one of the most significant Babe Ruth display pieces in existence at a very small fraction of what a signed example would sell for. It also allows for the possibility of replacing the photo once again with a signed example, thereby officially returning it to its near-original state. The print (30 x 20 inches) displays a light outline of adhesive residue from the mounting of the original photo, as well as minor surface wear, and is in Excellent condition. The new photo displays adhesive residue along the border areas as a result of having once been mounted and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. Of special note is the fact that the print appears to be housed in its original wood frame, which measures 32 x 21.5 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $9,988
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