One of Charles Conlon’s most unique images of Babe Ruth, one from the famous baseball photographer’s own archive and perhaps the only copy known to exist, is expected to fetch a big price this month.
RMY Auctions is offering an early 1920s shot of Ruth showing Conlon how he grips the bat. On the back of the 6 ½” x 8 ½” silver gelatin image Conlon wrote in pencil “Babe Ruth, Home Run Grip, Clear to the End of the Handle.” In the lower right, under the cover of tape from the publication process is Conlon’s handwritten signature “Conlon Photo.”
Bidding had already topped $4,000 in the first 48 hours of the auction, which closes July 22.
“No other examples of this photograph in print, or original form leading us to believe it may be a unique survivor in the hobby,” states the auction description. “One of the most important pieces of baseball photography that exists.”
It’s the first time the photo has ever been offered at auction. It’s unusual because most of Conlon’s baseball images were posed portraits. His decision to photograph Ruth’s hands may have stemmed from the youngster’s unprecedented power.
Rated 4.5 on a 5 scale, the photo has slight handling wear on the corners and a few light bends to the lower left corner.
In addition to Conlon’s writing, the back also includes two stamps added many years later by Culver Pictures, a photo distribution company.
You can view the full description at RMYAuctions.com.