Winter Premier Auction 2021


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/3/2021

Two months prior to his passing, Babe Ruth returned to Yankee Stadium for the last time on June 13th, 1948 as part of the 25th anniversary of the opening of “The House That Ruth Built”. Culminating the event, the Yankees retired Babe Ruth's number 3. One by one, his old friends and teammates were introduced to the nostalgic cheers of the capacity crowd. Finally, announcer Mel Allen’s voice boomed from the loudspeakers, “Ladies and Gentleman, George Herman Ruth…Babe Ruth!” Amidst a raucous ovation, the weakened Ruth, frail and ailing with throat cancer, stepped for the last time onto the infield grass, bat in hand, into “the cauldron of sound he must have known better than any other man.” Draped in his old uniform, he struggled forward, helped by the support of the bat borrowed from Bob Feller, to address the crowd of 49,647 as they showered their hero with one final roar of affection and an ebullient singing of “Auld Lang Syne”.
Nat Fein was a Press Photographer for the New York Herald Tribune for thirty-three years. In that span he won more press photo awards than any of his contemporaries. Although considered to be one of the greatest human interest photographers in journalism, he carries the distinction of having taken "the most celebrated photograph in sports history." (NY Times, 1992). Fein’s dramatic Babe Ruth image, "The Babe Bows Out", captured at Yankee Stadium on June 13th, 1948 was the first sports picture to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Though Fein’s famous image has been produced and reproduced thousands of times, both legally (by news agencies and the Fein estate) and illegally, original examples such as the one offered here are extraordinarily rare. This exemplar is special because it was made by Fein himself at the newspaper in 1948. It’s defining characteristics as a true TYPE 1 image made in 1948 include the correct "New York Herald Tribune" stamping for the period on the reverse and paper composition consistent with the photo paper used by the newspaper in that period. Virtually all the vintage photos of this image that have appeared in the market are TYPE II - printed later or TYPE III - off duplicate negatives. According to photography expert and PSA/DNA photo authenticator Henry Yee, this is one of only two known "true" TYPE I originals that he has seen in nearly 25 years of experience with vintage photography.
This 8” by 10” photo shows flawless contrast and remarkable clarity. Some scattered light yellow stains appear on front and back and pinholes appear at the margins of each corner. A few small, light creases are visible and minor corner wear is evident. Fein has signed the photo “To Benny Tosti Nat Fein” (8-9/10) in black fountain pen at the bottom right. The photo has been authenticated by Henry Yee as a TYPE 1 and encapsulated by PSA/DNA.

Estimate: $25,000+

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $7,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $25,686
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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