Babe Ruth Signed Photograph, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:36)
GUEST: This photo was at my grandfather's house and he gave it to my father. My grandfather lived in West Hollywood. He used to rent rooms out. And I'm not quite sure how he got it-- if he rented it out to this person, Harry Weber, perhaps, or not.
APPRAISER: And as we can see, it's Babe Ruth. It's to Harry Weber and we did a little research on Harry Weber. Harry was a theatrical agent.
GUEST: Yes, a Vaudevillian agent, yes.
APPRAISER: And one of Babe Ruth's very first agents. This says, "To Harry Weber, Yours for Vaudeville, Babe Ruth." Now, we see a lot of Babe Ruth items on the show. Babe Ruth signed a lot of pieces over the years and people kept them. What makes this one stand out, however, is a few things. First, the size. It's oversized. Generally, when you see a photo like this of Ruth, it's much smaller. The next thing is that it's very early. This is Ruth on the ascent. He's a New York Yankee now, he's getting a lot of exposure for the home runs. And during the off-season, he's a big-time attraction on the Vaudeville circuit. So he would go and appear with tap dancers and jugglers and comedians, and he would do a little skit. And people would come from all over to see Babe Ruth. And this was a way he could make some extra money at the time. Also, he started appearing in some silent movies around this time, as well. And what's wonderful about it is, we can basically date the signature, because it's a certain type of signature he signed early on in his career. We know that this is from 1920, '21, '22-- somewhere in that time period. So very early for the Babe. It's in beautiful condition. The signature is very bold considering it's quite old now. And it's a lovely photo. The clarity of the photo's very strong. Do you have any idea what it might be worth?
GUEST: No, I've seen some online for $3,000 or $4,000, but no.
APPRAISER: Yeah, and Babe Ruth photographs can sell $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $10,000, depending on a really nice one. But, you see, because of the size and because of the age of the signature and the vintage of the signature and the condition, it's spectacular.
APPRAISER: It's wonderful, and I would put an auction estimate of this photo somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: I wouldn't be surprised if it sold for more. It's that good.
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