In what promises to be an extraordinary event for sports memorabilia enthusiasts, a Spalding baseball glove from 1916, featuring not one, but two signatures of Babe Ruth, is taking center stage at Heritage Auctions. This exceptional piece of memorabilia serves as a portal to baseball’s illustrious past, intimately tied to the legendary Babe Ruth during his time with the Boston Red Sox in the 1916 World Series. With high anticipation surrounding this lot, experts predict that its final hammer price will exceed a million dollars, reflecting its historical significance and rarity.
The journey of this glove to the auction block is as captivating as its previous owner. Once in possession of Joe E. Brown, a titan in the realms of acting, comedy, and sports broadcasting in the 1930s, the glove embodies a bygone era. Brown, known for his passionate collection of sports memorabilia, had amassed an enviable collection, with this glove standing out as one of its crown jewels. Though Brown may have faded from public memory, his legacy lives on through this extraordinary artifact and other items he accumulated.
What truly distinguishes this glove are the dual signatures of Babe Ruth. The first signature dates back to 1916, when it was shared with teammates who contributed to the Red Sox’s triumph over the Brooklyn Robins in the World Series. The second signature, accompanied by Ruth’s handwritten note “Glove I used in the 1916 World Series,” was added years later, showcasing Ruth’s acknowledgement of the glove’s role in his early career. Not only does this glove bear Ruth’s signatures, but it also features the autographs of Harry Hooper, Duffy Lewis, Larry Gardner, and Tillie Walker, further solidifying its value as a piece of baseball history.
From the very first day, bidding has been intense, with the price quickly surpassing $300,000. This early momentum indicates a strong global interest from collectors, and Heritage Auctions is optimistic that the final sale price will reach or even exceed the $1 million mark. The auction of this glove follows the previous sale of another Ruth-related item—a glove gifted to Jimmy Austin—which fetched $1.5 million, setting a precedent for the high market value of authentic Ruth memorabilia.
Authentication by Beckett and PSA/DNA has verified the legitimacy of the signatures, with Steve Grad of Beckett describing the examination as “the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” This authentication plays a crucial role in the glove’s attraction, providing potential bidders with confidence in the authenticity of Ruth’s signatures and the historical significance of the glove.
Despite a devastating fire that once ravaged Joe E. Brown’s collection, it continues to make an indelible mark on the world of sports memorabilia through exceptional items like this glove. The auction not only presents a unique opportunity for collectors to own a piece of baseball history but also serves as a heartfelt tribute to the enduring legacy of Babe Ruth and the passionate collecting of Joe E. Brown. As the auction date approaches, excitement and anticipation soar, promising a historic sale that will be remembered for years to come.