A "Bustin' Babes" cap worn by Babe Ruth at the pinnacle of his career provides the exciting highlight in Heritage Auctions' August 1-2 Platinum Night Sports Auction in Chicago.
Gifted to a young pastry chef at the close of Ruth's famous barnstorming tour of exhibition matches in 1927 or 1928, the cap is a remarkable find.
As Heritage points out, those well versed in the baseball collectibles market are well aware that practically nothing beyond autographs from the tour has found its way into the modern hobby.
If fact, the auction house states that the only items it has come across were a matched pair of "Bustin' Babes" and "Larrupin' Lous" pennants that appeared some years ago.
The barnstorming tours had been popular in baseball since the 1860s, as a fun way for players to earn extra money off-season. However, they had fallen out of favour by 1921, with Babe upsetting the league's top brass as he embarked on the money making scheme.
Babe continued his run of barnstorming shows regardless, even recruiting teammate Lou Gehrig to star in the exhibition matches.
The cap has been consigned to the sale from the grandson of the young pastry chef to whom it was gifted, after it was passed down through her family.
She was working for a noted Santa Barbara hotel in the late 1920s, and Babe Ruth was said to be quite fond of her, though - as Heritage states - it is not clear whether his affection sprung from his belly or a bit further south.
The importance of the cap is summed up perfectly in the final section of Heritage's lot description:
"There is simply no reason to believe that the hobby will ever encounter another Babe Ruth game worn piece from this historic barnstorming tour. The price tag will surely be a steep one, but if there has ever been a Ruth game worn item that hasn't far outpaced the stock market over the past ten years, we aren't aware of it. This is an investment. Bid to win."
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of sports memorabilia for sale for those looking to join this lucrative market.