Babe Ruth’s autograph has always been in high demand. But many fans don’t realize that Ruth was a very prolific signer. He grew up in a Maryland orphanage and would always oblige when a child asked for an autograph.
The Sultan of Swat died 67 years ago, but the demand for his signature is still far greater than the supply. As a collector and fan, seeing authentic Ruth signatures never gets old.
I recently met Bob, the proud owner of a unique Babe Ruth signed item. The 4×6 photo is a fairly common item signed by Ruth in the months leading up to his death in August 1948. Anytime a child asked for Ruth’s autograph in 1948, the Bambino would pull out and sign this black-and-white photo from inside his jacket.
The signed photo that Bob wanted me to inspect was a bit different. The photo originated from Bob’s cousin who’s uncle was a priest in New York City. The priest visited Ruth in Memorial Hospital on August 16, 1948—the day he died. Ruth apparently signed a photo for him. The signed photo is not dated. However, the priest did write a note to Bob’s cousin detailing the circumstances of how the photo was obtained and dated the correspondence August 16, 1948. Bob has had the signed photo in his possession since 1967 when his aunt sent it to his mother. Bob’s mom gave the photo to Bob.
It is always exciting to see signed Babe Ruth memorabilia. I always ask people how they obtained an item. The story behind how each item was obtained is so interesting. The letter from the priest detailing how and when Ruth signed this photo is truly spectacular and unique. The history is extremely valuable and something that will live on in perpetuity.