1934 Babe Ruth Signed Photo to Detroit Lions Owner G. A. Richards

Sold For: $3,259

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 812

Item Year: 1934

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Exceptional Babe Ruth signed photo, personalized to Detroit Lions owner G. A. Richards, dating from Ruth's final season with the New York Yankees. The sepia photograph pictures a nattily attired Ruth standing in front of an NBC radio microphone and has been inscribed "To/G. A. Richards/best of luck to your/football club/From/Babe Ruth/1934." Both the inscription and signature have been boldly penned in black fountain pen and grade "9." In addition to owning the Detroit Lions football team (Richards purchased the Portsmouth [Ohio] Spartans in 1934 and moved them to Detroit), Richards also came up with the idea for the Lions to play a game on Thanksgiving in 1934. Originally meant as a promotional stunt, the game was well received by fans and it has been a holiday tradition in the NFL ever since. Richards was a local Detroit radio executive, and this photo of Ruth was probably taken during a taping of a broadcast in Detroit. While we will never know for certain, it's possible that Ruth was wishing Richard's club good luck in that inaugural Thanksgiving Day game. Adding to the historical appeal of this photo is the fact that it originates from the fabled Barry Halper Collection, where it resided for many years as one of the collection's more notable Ruth-signed photos. The photo (4.5 x 7 inches) displays a few extremely light surface creases (only visible when viewed at certain angles), a tiny surface abrasion at the end of "Richards," and the tiny initials "TR" written in black fountain pen within the image of the microphone. Each of those minor flaws is quite unobtrusive and does not detract in the least from the photo's Excellent to Mint appearance. Framed to total dimensions of 5 x 7.75 inches. This photo was purchased by our consignor at the Sotheby's sale of Barry Halper's Collection in 1999 and retains the original auction label on the reverse. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $3,259

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