An original 1920 photo of Babe Ruth taking a swing sold for $153,389 at SCP Auctions Saturday night, a record price for any individual Ruth Yankees photo, signed or unsigned.
The 6 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ image of the 25-year-old Ruth in Yankee pinstripes with a crowd in the background has been encapsulated as a Type 1 image by PSA/DNA. The photo was taken by legendary baseball photographer Paul Thompson.
“Babe Ruth” is handwritten in pencil on the back along with the caption, “#2 The ball has been met and started on its long journey.”
Ruth’s fame as a power hitter was just beginning to spread beyond the United States and it’s believed the photo was sold by Thompson to the press agency agency Agence Trampus of Paris, France, whose markings have been applied to the back.
Two other Ruth photos also sold in the auction of high end memorabilia and cards. Another Thompson photo showing him holding a bat as he discarded another brought $52,417 while an oversized image–signed by Ruth to a wealthy hunting buddy from North Carolina after the historic 1927 season– took in $34,190.
The highest selling item in the “February Finest” auction was Steve Christoff’s gold medal from the 1980 US Olympic Hockey “Miracle On Ice” which went for $375,961.
Vintage card lots included a 1909-11 T206 complete set fully PSA graded with a 4.27 Set Rating ($275,706), one of a few known autographed 1934 Goudey #37 Lou Gehrig examples ($137,865), and a 1952 Topps #312 Jackie Robinson miscut card with part of the #311 Mickey Mantle showing ($48,316).
Among other unique items in the sale, Ted Williams’ 1947 Triple Crown trophy sold for $124,289, Muhammad Ali’s 1965-66 United States passport took in $91,151, and a 1962 poem by Ali predicting his victory over Sonny Liston brought $35,801.
Bill Russell’s NBA 50 Greatest Players ring brought $82,864, Samaki Walker’s 2002 Los Angeles Lakers championship ring went for $34,190, Rubén Sierra’s 1996 New York Yankees World Series ring took in $25,686, and a 2006 Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLI player’s ring sold for $25,686.
Among the game used memorabilia sold was an Aaron Judge jersey from three of the home runs he hit during his 2022 record-breaking 62 home run season ($82,864) and a Ted Williams glove photomatched to multiple images from 1955-56 ($60,667).
Ray Nitschke’s Super Bowl I ring and the 1941 Heisman Trophy presented to Bruce Smith in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor were among items that did not reach their reserve prices.
SCP’s next catalog auction will take place this spring.