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Lot # 1161 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1927 Babe Ruth "Sixty Home Run" Display

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,259

This rare large-format display print was produced to commemorate Babe Ruth's then single-season record of sixty home runs in 1927. The attractive design of the print features an 8 x 10-inch photo of Ruth in the center, surrounded by sixty illustrated baseballs. Each ball records, respectively, the pertinent information regarding each of Ruth's home runs that season: home run number, date, team played, and the name of the pitcher against whom the home run was hit. Two additional balls, notated in the exact same manner as the other sixty, record Ruth's two World Series home runs in 1927. The number "60" is displayed in the background in large numbers, and the year "1927" is featured along the bottom border. This is a very unusual example of this monumental display piece. Several other very similar versions of the display are known that feature a central image autographed by Ruth. This example may in fact be an early proof. Interestingly, we believe that every known example (approximately five, including this one, are known) is very slightly different in some way. What distinguishes this example most is the fact that it has a photograph of Ruth affixed (as opposed to being part of the print) and the photo of Ruth is NOT autographed. While the fact that it is not signed naturally makes this example far less valuable than a signed example (auction records exceed $60,000 for a signed print), the fact it is not signed (it appears that the presumably signed photo that was originally on this piece has long ago been removed and replaced with a Ruth photo that is not signed) creates a very interesting and very likely unique collecting opportunity to acquire this rare display at an affordable level. Other examples of these presentation displays, of which only a few are known, were issued with a very slightly larger image of Ruth in the center. (A faint outline of the border areas of the original larger photo is visible under close inspection.) The final prints were very special presentation pieces created for Ruth to be given as gifts to his close friends and associates. In all of the other few known examples, the center image has also been signed and inscribed with a personal salutation by Babe Ruth. These signed examples are among the premier Ruth signed pieces in existence. The image of Ruth on the offered piece is nearly identical to that of the image which appears on the signed examples. In fact, it is only by a close comparison that one can even notice the slight difference between the two images, each of which pictures Ruth in uniform at the plate in a virtually identical pose. While this piece is unsigned, it maintains its superb display value. We think this is a fascinating piece. While it is a given that few can afford a signed example, if one were to even be available, this may be the only original modestly valued unsigned example that will ever surface. As a point of reference, we have seen only two of these prints signed by Ruth offered at public auction in the last fourteen years. One appeared as lot 609 in the 1999 Barry Halper Auction and sold for $46,000, while the second, offered at auction in 2008, realized $66,000. This unique print offers the collector an outstanding opportunity to acquire what is universally recognized as one of the most significant Babe Ruth display pieces in existence at a very small fraction of what a signed example would sell for. It also allows for the possibility of replacing the photo with a signed photograph. The print (30 x 20 inches) has been mounted on foam board for preservation and framing purposes (allowing it to be easily handled without damage and displayed framed laying perfectly flat) and has only minor surface wear; a light outline of adhesive residue surrounds the photograph (as noted); the faults are minor and it has a spectacular Excellent appearance! The mounted photograph displays adhesive residue along the border areas and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. Of special note is the fact that the print appears to be housed in its original wood frame, which measures 32 x 21.5 inches. This piece has been sold at auction once before. It appeared as Lot 1273 in REA's May 2010 auction (at that time realizing $9,988) and has been consigned directly from the original purchaser at that sale. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,259

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