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1934 Babe Ruth Signed Testimonial Certificate (Final Game as a Yankee)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,525
This remarkably significant and unique Babe Ruth signed item dates to his final game as a New York Yankee on September 30, 1934. It has been personalized to the Yankees longtime trainer, "Doc" Painter. The piece, which is a souvenir facsimile of a "Babe Ruth Testimonial" certificate, has been beautifully inscribed in black fountain pen "To/Dr. Painter/Sincerely/Babe Ruth." Both the inscription and signature grade "9." This certificate was a special souvenir insert that was included with each scorecard purchased on September 30, 1934, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The original certificate was presented to Ruth on that date in a special pregame ceremony. While we are aware of other examples of this souvenir certificate, we have never before seen or heard of one signed by Ruth. Given the fact that Ruth and Painter were both at Griffith Stadium on the day this certificate was issued, and this was the last game of the 1934 season, it is a virtual certainty that it was signed on that date, thus making it both one of the last items ever signed by Ruth as a member of the Yankees and the only Ruth-signed item we have ever seen dating specifically to Ruth's final game with the Yankees.
While Ruth made no official announcement at the start of the 1934 season that it would be his last year in baseball, it was generally apparent to most observers that his skills were no longer what they once were. Ruth rarely finished games anymore, often being replaced for defense in the later innings, and injuries were beginning to take their toll. After one such week-long injury in July, Ruth was quoted as saying, "I'm going to get out of this game before I'm carried out." So it came to pass that Ruth's final games on the road became farewell celebrations by the fans of those cities. The Yankees final game of the season that year took place on September 30th at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Realizing the magnitude of the event, the Washington ball club held a pregame ceremony honoring Ruth. With both his wife and daughter in attendance, the team presented Ruth with a scroll of appreciation from the fans of the nation's capital. The scroll featured a depiction of the Capitol and a testimonial to Ruth signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on behalf of the city. Included with each scorecard issued for the game was a two-page fold-over insert featuring a full-length photo of Ruth on the cover. The interior section of the insert displayed a reproduction of the testimonial scroll presented to Ruth prior to the game.
The certificate (12.75 x 9.5 inches) has been slightly trimmed along all four borders and displays tears along the edges of the center fold. Tape residue is apparent along three of the borders, as is light staining. In Good condition overall. The certificate has been mounted (by means of an adhesive) within a large framed display featuring two modern photographs of Ruth, one picturing him as a member of the Red Sox (9.5 x 19 inches) and the other as a member of the Yankees (11 x 19 inches). Total dimensions: 46 x 27 inches. Please Note: Due to the size and/or weight of this lot, shipping costs (depending on where it is sent and its method of shipping) may be substantial. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,525
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