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Lot # 1138 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1927 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Barnstorming-Tour Photo - Unique Large-Format Example - From the Christy Walsh Estate!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,444

Addendum: At the request of a bidder we have examined this piece out of frame. The reverse bears a Christy Walsh credit stamp in the lower right corner. Also, in addition to the two-inch tear along the left border, there is a second, smaller, horizontal tear just above it and a tiny chip on the right border. The image of the reverse has been posted below.

Exceedingly rare large-format photo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig dating from the famous 1927 Bustin' Babes and Larrupin' Lou's postseason barnstorming tour. This particular photo once personally belonged to and hung in Christy Walsh's office and originates directly from the Walsh family. It first appeared at public auction in 2011, along with a number of other photos and items from the Walsh estate, where it realized a final sale price of $7,121. It has been consigned to this auction directly by the original purchaser. What makes this photo so special, aside from the splendid, crystal-clear image, is its large 10 x 13-inch dimensions. Aside from the few panoramas that exist (picturing members from both barnstorming teams), this is the largest Ruth/Gehrig 1927 tour photo we have ever seen. Fittingly, Christy Walsh, who arranged the tour, is pictured posing together with Ruth and Gehrig, both of whom are in their respective tour uniforms. A vintatge paper caption, which is affixed directly along the top border of the photo, reads "Babe Ruth - Lou Gehrig Barnstorm Tour 1927 Christy Walsh Management/22 Games - 21 Cities - 7800 Miles - 220,000 Attendance."

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 ensure 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.

Despite its incredible success, very few items remain from the 1927 Bustin' Babes and Larrupin' Lou's barnstorming tour. This special display photo, which is housed in its original black frame (11 x 14 inches), is not only one of the rare survivors, but perhaps the finest image extant from that celebrated tour, made all the more desirable by its large size. Walsh obviously had this photo specially made for display in his office and it must have been one of his favorite pieces. As such, it is not surprising that it was one of the few items held onto by the family for so long. (The family sold much of the material from Walsh's collection many years earlier.) The photo displays a small two-inch horizontal tear along the left border, minor white spotting,and a small number of very light surface wrinkles (only visible when viewed at certain angles). None of those minor flaws, however, detracts in the least from its stunning Excellent appearance. This is a spectacular Ruth/Gehrig photo and easily one of the most desirable and impressive Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lou's display pieces in existence. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,444


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