Babe Ruth's signed letter linked to1918 contract with Louisville Slugger could fetch $1M at auction
The starting bid for this rare Babe Ruth keepsake is $100,000
Calling all Bambino fans.
A letter signed by Babe Ruth and linked to his 1918 endorsement contract with Louisville Slugger — the famed Kentucky baseball bat manufacturer — is up for bid in The MINT25 Auction, which runs through Saturday, Jan. 29, and is being conducted by Lelands. The MINT Collective event is scheduled for Las Vegas March 25-27.
The Sultan of Swat signed the letter, dated July 9, 1918, six times in black fountain pen with the insignia "Geo. H. Ruth." In 1918, Ruth was with the Red Sox, pitching 29 ⅓ scoreless innings in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs three months after he signed the letter.
The letter is connected to Ruth’s first bat endorsement contract with Hillerich & Bradsby, which is a manufacturer for Wilson Sporting Goods, part of the Louisville Slugger brand. This particular agreement gave the company the rights to make baseball bats with a copy of Ruth’s signature on the barrel. The letter was sent by Ruth after the original contract had been signed likely for the purpose of providing additional signature examples to be used for the bat barrel stampings
Now, this letter is expected to fetch an estimated price of $800,000 to $1,000,000. The starting bid for this rare Ruth keepsake is $100,000.
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"This is simply the most important Babe Ruth endorsement deal in history, and with six pristine examples of his signature, it is the finest Ruth autographed piece ever offered publicly," Lelands President Mike Heffner told FOX Business. "Ruth’s historic first contract acceptance with Louisville Slugger is just as significant as any of his most famous game-used bats because it marks the birth of his signature model baseball bat."
We are proud to present Lot #6 of 25 in the hobby's most exclusive auction event of the year!— Lelands Auctions (@Lelandsdotcom) January 8, 2022
1918 Babe Ruth First Hillerich & Bradsby Bat Contract - Signed 6 Times!! (PSA MINT 9 Signatures)
Bid in the Mint25: https://t.co/YVTT3zVHOC pic.twitter.com/qhGFAAPekh
This special piece of baseball memorabilia is part of the larger MINT25 Auction, an exclusive collection of 25 of some of the most iconic artifacts in sports history. To make the cut for this highly curated collection, items were selected "based on their extreme rarity, historical significance, hobby interest and appraisal value," according to a press release obtained by FOX Business.
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Along with The Caliph of Clout’s fabled contract letter, the auction will include collectibles like a Tom Brady 2010 New England Patriots signed, game-worn, photo-matched jersey and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey from his 1998 game-winning buzzer beater against the Atlanta Hawks in what was his final season with the Bulls.
We are proud to present Lot #7 of 25 in the hobby's most exclusive auction event of the year!— Lelands Auctions (@Lelandsdotcom) January 9, 2022
1998 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls Game Worn "Last Dance Buzzer Beater" Jersey (MeiGray Photo-Matched & Bulls Letter)
View or Bid in the Mint25: https://t.co/YVTT3zVHOC pic.twitter.com/qQQQIZXhuw
Other baseball memorabilia on the auction block includes a Mickey Mantle 1952 game-used All-Star bat from his very first All-Star Game (estimate: $200,000 - $300,000). Also, a 1951 Bowman No. 253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card PSA NM-MT 8 (estimate: $350,000 - $400,000) and a T206 Baseball Card Complete Set, minus Honus Wagner (estimate: $300,000 - $400,000).
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that Babe Ruth's signed 1918 contract with Louisville Slugger was to be auctioned. The auction house, Lelands, has since learned that the auction item was instead a letter from 1918 signed by Babe Ruth which was linked to his bat endorsement contract with Hillerich & Bradsby, and not the actual contract.