Babe Ruth’s surviving family members have consigned hundreds of items related to his life and career to Hunt Auctions, which will offer them in an auction set for Yankee Stadium on June 15.
The collection has largely remained unknown to the general public and includes game-worn cleats, two of Ruth’s most important contracts and autographed items. High-end Ruth and Yankees items consigned by collectors will also be part of the sale. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity, according to the Ruth family.
“My grandfather remains a guiding force in my life today,” said Linda Ruth Tosetti, who appeared at a Yankee Stadium news conference Tuesday. “The way he lived his life and its effect on others continues to amaze me every day. For many years, we have cherished the items within his personal collection and have been blessed to represent his legacy through our many family endeavors. The decision to share items from his personal collection was made with careful consideration and the intent to further his legacy within a new generation of baseball fans. Babe’s collection has remained largely unknown to the general public and we felt it was time to bring these amazing pieces of his life to light. There could be no other place to showcase these items than Yankee Stadium and we are also thrilled to be able to benefit related charitable entities through the sale of these items.”
Highlight Items from the Ruth Collection will include:
- Professional Model cleats
- 60th Home Run Autographed display piece
- 1934 Tour of Japan Champion Batsman presentational trophy
- Lou Gehrig signed and inscribed photograph to Babe Ruth
- 1930-31 New York Yankees “Better year than President” player contract
- 1935 Boston Braves autographed contract agreement
- Personal check ledger with related signed documents
- Single signed baseballs and autographed photographs
- 1934 Tour of Japan presentational pass
- personal photographic albums including autographed exemplars
- 12 Point Deer Trophy Mount with photographic provenance
Hunt Auctions is planning several special advance preview events ahead of the live auction.
“Materials in this collection were very carefully curated by the family,” said David Hunt, whose company conducts the MLB All-Star, Super Bowl and Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum auctions each year. “We are completely humbled for this opportunity afforded to our company by the Ruth family to present this previously unknown archive of materials to Babe’s adoring fans. The importance of this offering cannot be overstated to which we fully expect record pricing levels in numerous categories.”
Among the items that will be in the auction, but not part of the Ruth family’s consignment include:
- “Bustin’ Babes” barnstorming equipment travel case c.1920s (Waite Hoyt provenance)
- 1923 New York Yankees World Championship presentational Spalding trophy
- Ruth Professional Model Bat with Home Run Notches c.1926-29
- 1923 New York Yankees World Championship presentational Spalding Trophy
- 1923 New York Yankees World Champions team autographed ledger sheet
“This special auction will provide the opportunity to share some of the Ruth family memorabilia that has remained in our possession since the Babe’s passing in 1948,” said Tom Stevens, the Babe’s grandson. “None of these items have been previously offered to the collecting public. This offering of items provides glimpses of that life, in and out of baseball.”
Linda Ruth Tosetti is the daughter of Dorothy Ruth Pirone, Babe Ruth’s daughter. She told reporters Tuesday that it took her two years to decide to part with the valuable items, many of which she said have been in her possession since he was ten years old.
“I’m 63 and my husband is 65. We talked to the other generations and it’s just a different mindset. Nobody had the place to house the collection. No one wanted to take care of it. I’ve been taking care of it since I was ten. So we decided ‘why not share it with others?’ because the Babe certainly shared with his fans. I just think it’s time.”
She said security concerns were also part of the decision to consign.
“I didn’t always sleep well when we’re traveling and neither did my husband. We were always afraid that someone was going to come in and steal something. I didn’t mind so much stealing something but I really didn’t want anyone to hit us over the head when they took it. That’s the only reason this has been such a secret collection.”
Hunt Auctions says “an extremely limited number of elite-level New York Yankees related items will be accepted for consignment,” to the auction, subject to approval by the Ruth family and a willingness to contribute part of proceeds to charity. For consignment requests and inquiries please email Carolyn McCann [email protected] or 610.524.0822.