Extraordinary Babe Ruth Single-Signed Baseball with Outstanding Original-Owner Provenance - The Finest Example We Have Ever Handled! - PSA/DNA
Starting Bid - $10,000, Sold For - $56,288
This remarkable, high-grade Babe Ruth single-signed ball, which has been a family keepsake since the 1940s and is new to the organized collecting world, is the finest overall example we have ever handled. The ball is accompanied by a one-page letter from the consignor in which she details how her father obtained it directly from Ruth in the mid 1940s. The ball has been graded NEAR MINT 7 by PSA/DNA (signature grade 9; ball grade 6; resulting in an overall grade of NEAR MINT 7).
A Babe Ruth single-signed baseball is one of the most desirable icons in the world of collecting and one of the few items with an appeal so universal that it transcends all fields. It is a classic, a standard, and a worthy centerpiece to even the most advanced collection. By any measure, the offered example is one of the finest examples in existence and one that has the added appeal of having never been previously offered for sale, either publicly or privately, and having original owner provenance. Ruth has flawlessly signed the official American League (Harridge) ball in blue fountain pen across the sweet spot, with the boldly penned signature appearing exactly as it did when Ruth scripted it over sixty-five years ago. The signature grades MINT. The ball displays only the slightest hint of age toning and, while the manufacturer's stampings are all clearly legible, there is a slight variance in boldness with regard to those printed on the ball label (which appears to be the reason that PSA/DNA only graded the ball "6.") Even with regard to that slight factory-produced anomaly, the ball itself is in strong Excellent to Mint condition and is superior in appearance to the finest baseballs featuring Ruth's signature we have ever seen. This is a great-looking ball!
One curious marking on the ball, which is directly related to it provenance, is the factory-stamped notation "U.S." on the side panel directly above the ball label. That notation indicates that this ball was specifically produced by Reach for military personnel, in this particular case the United States Navy. In our consignor's accompanying letter, which can be viewed on our website, she explains how her father came to acquire this ball. In full:
During World War II, our father was a Chief Petty Officer, stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was responsible for training sailors in physical fitness and sports recreation. During this time, he had the unique opportunity to visit Babe Ruth in his apartment on Riverside Drive, in New York City. At the time Babe Ruth signed several balls and gave them to our dad as a gesture of his support for these men who were about to fight for our country. Our dad shared several of these with other sailors, and this ball was one he kept for himself. It is with pride and understanding of the legacy of Babe Ruth, that our family offers this true piece of American nostalgia for auction.
This is the highest-graded Babe Ruth single-signed ball we have ever offered, and we cannot imagine that more than a few such superior examples exist. The SMR value for a NEAR MINT 7 single-signed Babe Ruth ball is $30,000. While PSA/DNA does not yet post a population report for graded single-signed balls, the company notes on its website that the highest-graded Ruth single-signed ball every evaluated by the company is a MINT-PLUS 9.5 (the company states that the ball sold for $150,000 in 2005 and later traded hands privately for $300,000 in 2011). The company also lists sales records for two Ruth single-signed balls graded NM-MT 8 or better: $81,075 for a NM-MT 8 in 2009 and $83,650 for a NM-MT+ 8.5 in 2010. Given the the slight degree of separation with regard to condition between a NM-MT 8 Ruth single-signed ball and that graded NM 7, the fact that the signature on this ball grades a MINT 9, and, perhaps most important, the fact that this ball has an ideal original-owner provenance that is rarely seen and is so very desirable, this ball represents a extraordinary opportunity to acquire a most remarkable Ruth single in all respects, including that it is one of only a very few to occupy a spot at the top-end of the PSA/DNA grading spectrum. Additional LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $25,000++. SOLD FOR $56,288