Babe Ruth's 'most important' bat sells for $537k
From the baseball legend's 1918 season, one expert calls it Ruth's 'most historically significant bat'
Earlier this month, the most important game bat ever used by the baseball legend Babe Ruth sold for $537,750.
But it isn't the most expensive Babe Ruth bat.
That would be the one he used to launch the first home run at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, 1923.
It sold for a staggering $1.2m in December, 2004.
But the $537,750 bat is arguably the most historically significant.
It was used by Ruth in 1918, seven seasons prior to the Yankee Stadium Opening Day.
It was Ruth's very first Hillerich & Bradsby bat, after signing a contract with the manufacturer on July 9 of that year.
In other words: this was the prototype bat on which all the future Babe Ruth bats were based, from July 1918 through to 1926.
The "parent" of Ruth bats to come
As part of his H&B contract, Ruth was shipped several bats of varying weights and sizes to choose which best suited his powerful swing - and which he would use to make history on the field.
The model Ruth chose was returned to the factory and replicated, becoming the prototype Babe Ruth bat.
Factory workers stamped Ruth's name into the knob (although this is barely visible on the 1918 bat) along with the vault mark "R2" signifying it as the "parent" for all future Ruth bats.
Ruth held on to the prototype 1918 bat for some time before returning it, as shown by the considerable evidence of use on its left side. This was presumably so that he could be sure it was "the one."
The bat, undamaged and in stunning condition, was sold with a ream of paperwork from leading authenticators John Taube and Vince Malta.
Taube describes the bat as "arguably the finest and most historically significant bat existant," in his notes.
The prices paid for Babe Ruth memorabilia show the investment merits of these pieces of sporting heritage.
A piece of rare Babe Ruth memorabilia...
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Signed photographs from this sporting era are increasingly hard to find...
This vintage glossy 8 x 10inch full-length photo features Babe Ruth in his prime, clad in his Yankees road uniform taking a swing during a crucial training session.
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