He was one of the most photographed individuals on the planet during his adult life. Not all of the original images survived, but some of those that graced the pages of newspapers around the world are among the top items in the new RMY Auctions catalog.
Over a dozen images of Ruth, including some that have never been offered before, are being offered in the auction, which includes over 700 lots.
The auction opens with a 1920 silver gelatin photo picturing Ruth in his first year with the Yankees, posing with Ty Cobb.
Restored by a conservator, the 5×7 image shows Cobb, the game’s best hitter, posing with baseball’s young slugger who was in his first year with the Yankees and has been authenticated as a PSA Type 1 with a full letter of authenticity.
Collectors of the W511 baseball card set will recognize another Ruth photo. Dating to 1924, the 5 ½” x 7 ½” photo of Ruth swinging a bat is the only known example of the image. Authenticated by PSA as a Type 1 and currently encapsulated, it’s never been presented in an auction until now.
Also making its debut is a unique 1920 image of Ruth’s eyes. The creative 5 ½ x 7 ¼” photo was recently located in a newspaper archive. It has an Underwood and Underwood stamp on the back along with a full caption that dates the photo to April of 1920, making it one of the earliest images of Ruth in a Yankee uniform during the season.
There’s also a 6×8 931 Associated Press photo of Ruth in spring training in St. Petersburg, FL that also includes a full paper caption, another Type 1 image of him selecting a bat during his brief 1935 stint with the Boston Braves and several other on and off-the-field images of Ruth alone or with teammates.
Ruth’s teammate, Lou Gehrig, has a presence in the auction, too, including a never before seen snapshot taken in 1935 that shows the Yankee first baseman smiling while he poses for a fan at spring training.
Also fresh to market is a 1913 cabinet photo of the National League champion New York Giants. The 4 ¼ x 6 1/2” photo includes star pitcher Christy Mathewson and manager John McGraw as well as Jim Thorpe.
There’s also a solo image of Thorpe as he signed the contract that brought him to New York prior to that season. Shown in a suit, with the contract in front of him, the photo represented Thorpe’s move to become a professional athlete. It’s stamped with a full paper caption still attached to the back.
A 1916 die-cut portrait style photograph of Ty Cobb, originating in the estate of the Cobb estate, is among the other top items in the auction, along with a 1919 photo of Eddie Cicotte and Dutch Reuther, about to square off in Game 1 of the Black Sox series and original contact photos of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from the 1959 Home Run Derby TV show.
Bidding in the auction is set to run through March 5 at RMYAuctions.com.