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1928 Lou Gehrig Signed “Bustin’ Babes and Larrupin’ Lou’s” Photo
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $2,666.25
Original photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, issued as a souvenir during their famous 1928 "Bustin' Babes and Larrupin' Lou's" barnstorming tour, inscribed by Lou Gehrig in black fountain pen. The 8 x 10-inch photo captures the two stars posing together in their respective tour uniforms and features the facsimile signatures of both Ruth and Gehrig, as issued. Gehrig's actual inscription appears above his facsimile example and reads "To my pal and brother Elk/a real buddy/Most Sincerely/Lou Gehrig." Ideally, we know exactly when this photo was signed, because below that inscription Gehrig has added "To Jeff Gooding - 12/28/28." Both inscriptions and Gehrig's signature are light, but remain clearly legible, grading "5/6." This photo dates from the second of the two famous postseason barnstorming tours made by Ruth and Gehrig during the years 1927 and 1928. The Bustin' Babes and Larrupin' Lou's barnstorming tour was the brainchild of Christy Walsh, who was Ruth and Gehrig's longtime agent. In 1927 Walsh, in order to capitalize on the excitement generated by the duo's season-long home-run duel, arranged to have the pair tour the country right after the World Series. The tour, heralded as "Ruth vs. Gehrig - The Battle For The Home Run Title Continues," began in New York and made its away across the country, ending in California. To insure its success, Walsh wisely scheduled nearly all of the games in cities without Major League clubs, thus providing those fans with a rare opportunity to see the two stars in person. Walsh also arranged it so that Ruth and Gehrig were the only two players traveling to each town. Their respective teams at each venue were made up of local players. The tour was such a huge success (most games ended prematurely due to fans rushing onto the field to get closer to their idols) that it was repeated again in 1928 with equal fanfare. In addition to the gate revenues, one of the other main sources of income during the tour came from the sale of these special tour photos, which were priced at $1 (quite a sum at the time). The photo displays small chips in both the upper left and lower right corners, as well as three horizontal tears (two extending from the left border and the other extending from the right), and one small vertical tear (bottom border). Light creasing is evident throughout. Technically in Good condition overall, but it should be noted that the tears (none of which affect the Gehrig inscription) and chips could easily be addressed by professional restoration, after which the piece would probably present at the very least as Excellent. Despite the popularity of the tour, signed examples of these special tour photos (by either Ruth or Gehrig or both) are quite rare and with good reason have always been highly prized by collectors. This is an especially desirable example given Gehrig's lengthy inscription. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $2,666.25
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