Babe Ruth Autographs and Memorabilia Buying Guide Overview
When he was alive, Babe Ruth was a prolific signer. And while there are still plenty of Babe Ruth autographs available today, demand will always exceed supply. Given the high amounts authentic Babe Ruth autographs sell for, it shouldn't be a surprise that he has the distinction of being one of the most forged signatures in sports.
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Babe Ruth signature autograph looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of Ruth's autographed memorabilia. It shouldn't be a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include PSA and JSA. Click on any of the images below to view full-size photos.
Cut Signature Exemplars
Babe Ruth Signature Handwriting Analysis
Babe Ruth Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Babe Ruth signature will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The entire signature is written in legible cursive.
- The signature is written on a level plane.
- The letter "B" displays a curl on the left to start the letter and contains two distinguishable, rounded letter segments with the top of the letter "B" being at a slight upward angle.
- The pen lifts before starting the letter "a" which is almost always a closed loop.
- The letter "b" 's vertical line is not a loop but an actual line.
- The letter "e" resembles more of a miniature capital letter "E."
- A similar start to the letter "R" as the "B" with a curl flows into a pronounced and slightly over-sized letter "R."
- The loop of the "R" almost makes the shape of a sideways teardrop or caption bubble.
- The letter "u" has an upstroke slightly larger on the second.
- The letter "t" is seen both as a vertical loop and a straight line, it is always crossed towards the near top with an over-sized line.
- The letter "h" is almost always represented with its vertical line as a loop, with the crossing of the letter "t" bisecting the loop of the letter "h."
Other Key Babe Ruth Signature Notes
- While they do exist, he rarely signed his full name "George Herman Ruth."
- The age of the ink and medium signed must be consistent with the time period in which Ruth lived.
- A common practice of the era was to shellac or varnish an autographed baseball. As a result, many forgers employ this method to give the ball an antiquated appearance.
- Ruth possessed a very legible signature, making it prone to forgery.
- Ruth's signature nuances vary over time, also aiding to ease of forgery.
- Always get a second or even third opinion before purchasing a Babe Ruth signature.
- Unfortunately, be aware that even authenticators make mistakes.
Examples of Babe Ruth Authenticated Signature Memorabilia
Click on images for magnification.
Top Ruth Memorabilia
Top Babe Ruth Memorabilia Sales of All-Time
When it comes to sports memorabilia, few players or athletes can reach the heights that Babe Ruth can in terms of realized prices. In fact, of the top ten selling sports memorabilia pieces of all-time, Ruth holds four of them. Here is a quick look at the Babe Ruth baseball memorabilia with the highest price tags.
1932 Babe Ruth "Called Shot" Game-Worn Jersey - $940,000
Sold in June 2005 in an auction by Grey Flannel, authenticators used detailed photo-matching analysis to determine the jersey's authenticity. SCD Authentic's lead authenticator, Dave Bushing, confirmed the piece's authenticity, in part using an original transparency of the "New York" letter stenciling that was used to help affix the letters to the jersey.
1919 New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox Contract - $996,000
The once ominous "Curse of the Bambino" has this document to thank for its very existence. In 1919, Boston Red Sox owner, Harry Freeze, essentially 'sold' Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. It wouldn't be until 2004 that the Red Sox would win a World Series title again. The esteemed Sotheby's auction house in New York handled the transaction in June 2005.
1923 Babe Ruth 1st HR at Yankee Stadium Game-Used Bat - $1,265,000
It's amazing to think that something so specific could be authenticated at all. However, the provenance of the bat is air-tight and indisputable. Ruth gave the bat to the Los Angeles Evening Herald as a prize in a home run hitting contest sponsored by the newspaper. The contest winner was Victor Orsatti. Ruth inscribed on the bat, "To the Boy Home Run King of Los Angeles 'Babe' Ruth, N.Y. May 7, 1923." It was sold through SCP Auctions in 2004.
Babe Ruth Jersey (circa 1920) - $4,415,658
This piece represents the highest price, to date, paid for a piece of sports memorabilia. This exquisite game-worn Babe Ruth jersey dates back to around 1920. It was sold through SCP Auctions in May, 2012. It is the earliest known Ruth jersey in existence.
Related Topics: Sports Collectibles: Guides