Summer, 2020 Auction - Closes August 29
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/30/2020

Little can be said to overstate the importance of Babe Ruth as he relates to the hobby, or to the game itself.  Clearly his material is the most widely collectible, highly-desirable, and in general terms, the most valuable, whether referring to memorabilia, autographs, photos, or even cards.

Of the Ruth material in the hobby, however, it is his pre-Yankees memorabilia that commands the most attention and the greatest value. In general, Ruth's pre-Yankees items are more difficult to find, with early photos commanding considerable premiums.  Such is the case with this example, a truly iconic early photo of Ruth that is familiar due to its use by the Draper & Maynard sporting goods company in its equipment catalogs.  As a result, the photo became one of the best-known and most widely-recognized of the early Ruth photos.

The photo, which measures 3 1/2" x 4 3/4", dates to Ruth's time in Boston, a beautiful sepiatone gem that pictures The Babe (at that time primarily a pitcher) in full uniform, swinging a bat in front of the dugout.  The sparse crowd in the Fenway Park grandstand suggests the photo was taken before game time, perhaps during warmups.  Ruth, captured in mid swing, half-smiles at the camera, cap pulled low over his forehead.

Little enables us to specifically date the photo, as Boston home uniforms between 1915 and 1919 changed little from year to year. The Babe began endorsing Draper & Maynard products as early as 1915, the image from this photo was used in the company's equipment catalog in 1920, after Ruth had already departed the Red Sox.  Still, early Ruth photos tended to focus on the Babe as a pitcher; it was not until 1918 that he began seeing time in the outfield, and not until the following season that he became a regular outfielder (though he still started 15 games on the mound that season).  Given its focus on Ruth with the bat, we feel it is likely that the image dates to 1918/19, as Ruth became a superstar at the plate.

The photo appears in outstanding condition, with sharp corners and clean edges, and very little wear visible on the image itself.  The reverse exhibits some editorial markings and glue consistent with use.  NOTE: for the sake of accuracy we are noting that the photo appears to have been trimmed from a larger size, likely by editorial staff, as is common with news service photos. The only example of this original photo we have found in our research, an extraordinary (and possibly unique) early Ruth piece with significant historical importance and beautiful visual appeal.  Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

NOW INCLUDED WITH THIS LOT: We have added the 1920 Draper & Maynard catalog to this lot that includes the identical photo of Ruth on the interior page.  The 6" x 10" catalog features the 1920 World Champion Cleveland Indians on the cover, a nine-page uniform catalog that includes fabric swatches and photos, including the 1920 Dodgers, the San Diego Cycle and Arms Co. team, Hank Gowdy, and Babe Ruth.  VG condition with general waviness from the fabric swatches, along with surface abrasions, paper remnants and minor stains, little of which interfere with its aesthetic appeal.  

Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!
Rare and Beautiful 1915-19 Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Original Type 1 Photograph (PSA/DNA) - NOW WITH 1920 D&M CATALOG!
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Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $20,400
Number Bids: 26
Auction closed on Sunday, August 30, 2020.
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