The watch that Babe Ruth was given as he left Yankee Stadium for the final time has seen top bids at SCP Auctions on May 18.
The watch, presented on the 25th anniversary of the opening of the famous stadium on June 13, 1948, made $650,108.
Engraved with the ballpark's nickname, "The House that Ruth Built", the watch marks Ruth's touching final moments in the stadium as he delivered a speech to the 50,000 strong crowd. At this point, Ruth had long been suffering with the cancer that would kill him just two months later.
As the star left the field, photographer Nat Fein from the New York Herald Tribune captured Ruth in the now-iconic image The Babe Bows Out - one of the most famous in sporting history.
"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."
However, the watch failed to exceed the $717,000 seen by the pocket watch awarded to Ruth in 1923, as he led the Yankees to its first ever World Series win. Read the full story here.
Both items fell short of the record price for Babe Ruth memorabilia, set at $4.4m by his earliest Yankees jersey in 2012. It's also the record for any item of sports memorabilia, testament to Ruth's enduring popularity.
Now is a great time to consign Babe Ruth items to auction, with the 100th anniversary of his signing with the Baltimore Orioles and the launch of his professional career celebrated in 2014.
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