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Circa 1929 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Dual-Signed Baseball - PSA/DNA NM-MT 8 - Second-Highest Graded Example!
Reserve - $10,000. Estimate - $50,000++.
This extraordinary Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig signed baseball has been graded NM-MT 8 by PSA/DNA, with only one example graded higher. As most collectors are probably aware, the Ruth/Gehrig ball that merited the highest grade by PSA/DNA, NM-MT+ 8.5, established a record price of $343,650 in REA's May 2013 auction. While that record-setting example also came with the provenance of having been originally acquired by a priest at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys in Maryland, the offered example is otherwise nearly identical to it, both with regard to the quality of the signatures and condition of the ball. That can easily be seen by a grading comparison of the two balls. PSA/DNA has graded the Ruth signature on the offered ball "7" and the Gehrig signature "8." The ball itself has been graded "7," resulting in an overall grade of "8." The only difference between the individual grades on this ball and the record-setting example is that of the Ruth signature, which was graded "9" on the higher-graded ball. That slight difference resulted in it receiving a half-point bump over the ball offered here.
One advantage that this ball enjoys over the other, however, is dating. This red-and-black stitched Official National League (Heydler) dates from approximately the 1926-1933 manufacturing period, whereas the "8.5" example, on an official American League (Harridge) ball, dates from the mid to late 1930s. While there is obviously no way to determine exactly when this ball was signed, the fact that its manufacturing period corresponds not only to both Ruth and Gehrig's active playing careers, but possibly the fabled seasons of 1927 and 1928 as well, makes it especially appealing.
A ball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig is universally recognized as the most desirable dual-signed sphere in the hobby, with the demand far exceeding the limited supply. High-grade examples such as this are rarer still. While this is technically the second-highest Ruth/Gehrig ball ever evaluated by PSA/DNA, the differences between the two are so nominal that when viewed side by side we suspect that most collectors would have a tough time deciding which one is better. Near perfect in all respects and certainly one of the finest examples in existence, let alone ever offered at auction. The ball is housed in its original PSA/DNA holder (original seal broken to photograph) and is accompanied by a full LOA from PSA/DNA and a full LOA from James Spence/JSA.