Auction houses are no strangers to hosting extraordinary events that cater to the passions of collectors and enthusiasts. In the world of sports memorabilia, one such event is currently taking place at Heritage Auctions, where a remarkable piece of baseball history is captivating the attention of fans. This extraordinary artifact is none other than a baseball glove that bears the signatures of the legendary Babe Ruth, not once, but twice. The glove, which dates back to 1916 and is inscribed for its use in the World Series, is poised to break the million-dollar mark, making it one of the auction’s most highly anticipated lots.
This Spalding baseball glove is no ordinary piece of memorabilia. It serves as a direct link to the iconic Babe Ruth during his time with the Boston Red Sox in the 1916 World Series, a treasured period in the history of the sport. The anticipation surrounding this lot is palpable, with experts predicting that it will fetch a final hammer price well into the seven figures. This projected value is a testament to both the glove’s historical significance and its rarity.
The glove’s journey to the auction block is as fascinating as its former owner. Joe E. Brown, an entertainment icon known for his work in acting, comedy, and sports broadcasting during the 1930s, was also a passionate collector of sports memorabilia. His collection was the envy of enthusiasts, and this glove was one of its crowning jewels. Although Brown’s name may have faded from public memory, his legacy lives on through this remarkable artifact and the other items he had carefully amassed.
What truly sets this glove apart are the dual signatures of Babe Ruth. The first signature, dating back to 1916, is shared with Ruth’s 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 stating “Glove I used in the 1916 World Series,” was added later, highlighting Ruth’s acknowledgement of the glove’s role in his early career. Beyond Ruth’s autographs, the glove also features the signatures of Harry Hooper, Duffy Lewis, Larry Gardner, and Tillie Walker, further solidifying its value as a tangible piece of baseball history.
The initial bidding for this glove has been fervent, surpassing $300,000 within the first day of the auction. Such early interest from collectors worldwide has given Heritage Auctions optimism that the final auction price may reach or even surpass the million-dollar mark. This exciting event follows the sale of another Babe Ruth-related item—a glove gifted to Jimmy Austin—which fetched an impressive $1.5 million in a previous auction, setting a precedent for the high market value of authentic Ruth memorabilia.
The legitimacy of the glove’s signatures has been meticulously authenticated by Beckett and PSA/DNA, organizations well-known for their expertise in sports memorabilia authentication. Steve Grad of Beckett described the examination process as “the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” adding another layer of assurance to potential bidders regarding the authenticity of Ruth’s signatures and the glove’s historical significance.
Joe E. Brown’s collection, despite being ravaged by fire at one point, continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of sports memorabilia through treasures like this glove. The upcoming auction presents a unique opportunity for collectors to own a tangible piece of baseball history while simultaneously paying tribute to the enduring legacy of Babe Ruth and Joe E. Brown’s passion for collecting. As the auction date draws closer, the excitement and anticipation continue to build, signaling a historic sale that will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come.