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Lot # 1087 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1948 Babe Ruth Last Will and Testament (File Copy Not Signed)

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,067

Presented here is one of the rarest, not to mention most unusual, Babe Ruth item we have ever offered: the "Last Will & Testament of George Herman Ruth." Dated August 9, 1948, exactly one week prior to Ruth's death, this fourteen-page document is a file copy prepared for distribution to interested parties (family members, attorneys, etc.). Obviously all parties that required a copy of the will could not be given the signed copy. As such it is NOT SIGNED by any of the parties involved (nor was it intended to be; it is a distribution copy with typed names in the place of signatures of Babe Ruth and witnesses). But it is from 1948 and is an official copy of the will for reference at the time. Though Ruth had more than one will prepared over the years, this is the final version of Ruth's will prior to his passing, reflecting Ruth's final wishes. As one would expect, Ruth basically leaves everything to his wife, Claire, EXCEPT souvenirs, mementoes, pictures, scrapbooks, manuscripts, letters, athletic equipment, and other personal property pertaining to baseball. Those items, as noted in the third article, are to go to his executors. Ruth also leaves $5,000 to his wife and each of his daughters: Dorothy Mae Ruth and Dorothy Ruth Sullivan. Additional moneys are left to his sister, nurse, and maid. The will also makes provisions for the distribution of income received from trusts and the sale of various securities. As noted by the printing on the the cover, this will was drawn up by the law firm of "Fennelly, Lowenstein, Englehard & Pitcher/25 Broad Street/New York 4." Normally, signed and fully executed wills cannot be legally sold. In fact, in 2010 newspapers reported a title issue between the state of New York and a collector specifically relating to Babe Ruth's final signed will, which is missing from the New York court house. The fact that this will is an extra copy prepared for legal use and reference presents a possibly unique opportunity to have a period copy of the will, exactly as used by family members and/or attorneys for reference, which looks exactly like the filed copy though not signed, and without any title issues. To be absolutely sure of that point, we checked with attorneys as well as with Kim Sulik, the Archivist and Records Manager of the Surrogates Court, New York County, located at 31 Chambers St. in Manhattan. We have confirmed that there is no legal issue or title constraint on this file copy. This may be the only original, authentic (albeit unsigned) Ruth final will that is legally available to collectors, making it one of the rarest and most unique Ruth pieces in the collecting world. The legend of Babe Ruth looms large to this day. All items related to him, from his birth to his passing, have great significance to collectors and historians. His will obviously provides a great deal of personal insight, far more than most other documents, and naturally has a special potential value to Babe Ruth scholars. The will (8 x 13 inches; unfolded) displays three horizontal folds, with the first page having had a small 3.5 x .5-inch rectangular section of paper cut away along the top right border. The paper cover displays moderate wear; it also has had a 3 x .5-inch rectangular section cut away at the top. A few various pencil notations also appear on the cover. In Excellent condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate $300+. SOLD FOR $1,067


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