Spring Premier Auction 2020


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/2/2020

Signed copies of Babe Ruth's critically acclaimed 1948 autobiography "The Babe Ruth Story" are fairly common within the hobby. The Sultan of Swat was more than happy to oblige for an adoring fan, especially when his own book was put in front of him. We challenge anyone out there, however, to come across a copy quite like this. A well-connected advertising executive and New York socialite named Richard C. Morrill wrote Babe a $3 check to buy this very hardcover first edition and, in return, got two Ruth autographs: one on the inside title page (where he would typically sign) in strong 9/10 blue ink; and another endorsing that very check! In those days banks would return any negotiated check (cashed or deposited) to the maker. The best thing about this whole scenario was the fact that Ruth signed the check with his entire birth name, "George Herman Ruth," in immaculate 9-10/10 blue ink.

The check is dated "4/16/48" by Mr. Morrill and stamped "May 24 48" on the back to indicate when Ruth endorsed it. This means Babe's full name autograph was done less than three months before he passed away that August. The second stamp, dated "May 25 48", appears to be when check was deposited to the account of E.P. Dutton & Co., the autobiography's publisher. The check has been neatly taped to the inside title page, just below Ruth’s other signature, and folded up to keep it very well-protected within the book for over 70 years! It can be safely removed from the book if one so chooses. We felt it was important to keep the two together the first time offered to the market (Although getting the check graded and encapsulated separately certainly would make for a nice investment opportunity here.)

Richard Morrill was our consignor's great-uncle. (Her father's aunt was Eugenie Morrill, Richard's wife.) In 1959, over a decade after Babe's death, Claire Ruth sent the Morrills a signed copy of her autobiography, "The Babe and I" (see uploaded image). So, it seems that the Morrills and Ruths ran around in the same social circles and were more than mere acquaintances. There is some writing in red pencil from either Mr. or Mrs. Morrill on the opening page of Babe's autobiography within a collage of 60 baseballs notated with the dates and pitchers that gave up each of Bambino's 60 homers in 1927. At the top it reads, "1921 - We saw 58 Yankee games at Yankee Stadium" and "Babe uncorked total of 59 HR."  Just below is "(1927 made 60)." Then, at the bottom, is "Read together May-June 48 'In bed night caps'." According to their grandniece, they were passionate about the Yankees and each other.

The hardcover autobiography, as told to Bob Considine with ghostwriter Fred Lieb of the New York Telegram, is 254 pages with 49 different black-and-white tipped-in plates throughout the first edition. The 5-3/4” by 8-1/2” book is in fine overall shape. The pages are smooth, untorn and intact, and the tipped-in B&W photos are as sharp as can be. The red dust jacket shows significant wear with tears along the edges and corners, but it is still mostly attached to the hardcover binding (small 1" piece on the bottom edge of the narrow binding section--where publisher Dutton is mentioned--has become dislodged). It has done its job, keeping the rest of the book looking sharp. You will be hard-pressed to find a Babe Ruth offering as unique and interesting as this.

Includes full LOA from PSA/DNA (AH04384) covering both signatures.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $12,148
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
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