Babe Ruth Handwritten Autographed Contract Could Get Over $1M At Auction

Irving Haberman/IH Images/Getty Images

An endorsement contract signed by MLB
legend Babe Ruth with sporting goods company Hillerich & Bradsby
in July 1918 is expected receive bids that approach $1 million
at auction.

Lelands put the Ruth lot, which
includes a page with six signatures and the envelope he addressed to
the company, up with a starting bid of $100,000. The bidding has
already reached over $179,500 as of Saturday morning.

The auction house
estimates a final sale price between $800,000 and $1 million.

Ruth agreed to allow Hillerich &
Bradsby, which continues to create the Louisville Slugger brand of
baseball bats, to use his signature on a line of baseball bats in
exchange for $100, per Lelands. Here are further details about the lot:

“In this document, sent to Frank
Bradsby, Ruth acknowledges receipt of payment from H&B and
dutifully fulfills his contractual obligation by beautifully
scripting his name, ‘Geo. H. Ruth,’ in black fountain pen six times
below the text. All the signatures have been authenticated and graded
MINT 9 by PSA. The letter is accompanied by its original mailing
envelope, addressed (entirely in Ruth’s hand) to Mr.
Bradsby/Louisville Base Ball Bats/Louisville, Ky. The stationery
envelope is from the Hotel Metropole in Chicago and is postmarked
July 26, 1918. This letter was originally obtained directly from
Hillerich & Bradsby and is accompanied by a letter of provenance
from the company. Also provided are full autograph LOAs from both PSA
and JSA.”

Ruth was a member of the Boston Red Sox
at the time of the agreement. He led MLB with 11 home runs that
season before the power surge that made him one of the most
well-known athletes in history following his high-profile move to the
New York Yankees in 1920.

His record of 714 homers stood until it
was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974 and it still ranks as the third-most
longballs in history.

Ruth retired in 1935 and was elected to
the Baseball Hall of Fame a year later as one of its inaugural
members. He died in 1948 at the age of 53 following a cancer

The contract auction runs through Jan.

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