A Babe Ruth pocket watch has been consigned to SCP Auctions' May Spring Premier Auction, following hot on the heels of the $717,000 example sold at Heritage Auctions in February.
While the example at Heritage Auctions marked Ruth's first Yankees World Series win, the example at SCP Auctions was presented to him for his final appearance at Yankee Stadium, engraved with the stadium's nickname, "The House that Ruth Built".
The date was June 13, 1948 - the 25th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium. The ailing Ruth, suffering with the cancer that killed him just two months later, made a speech to the 50,000 strong crowd, who gave him his final salute with rapturous applause to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.
As Ruth departed, the Yankees retired the number 3 jersey forever, to show that no other player could fill Ruth's shoes. Leaving the field, he was captured by Nat Fein from the New York Herald Tribune in the now-iconic image, "The Babe Bows Out".
The watch is a superb 14 karat gold Longines piece, engraved with "Babe Ruth - Silver Anniversary - Yankee Stadium - 1923-1948 - 'The House That Ruth Built'". It has been preserved in the Ruth family since Babe's passing on August 16, 1948.
"This is the most significant item among only a few mementos from Ruth's career that his family has retained. It is well documented that the vast majority of Babe's personal memorabilia was procured by the National Baseball Hall of Fame shortly after his passing," explained SCP Auctions' Dan Imler.
"This watch is the only significant Babe Ruth artefact ever offered to the public with direct Ruth family provenance. In a way, the watch could be perceived as Babe Ruth's 'Lifetime Achievement Award' from the Yankees."
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's signing with the Baltimore Orioles and the launch of his professional career, which would change the face of baseball. Collectors are eager to sell as attention returns to Ruth's career, and values continue to rise.
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