Babe Ruth game-used bat brings $537,750

Babe_Ruth_BatA Babe Ruth game-used bat, dating to the Boston Red Sox’ 1918 World Series winning season – arguably the most important piece of lumber from baseball’s most iconic player – realized $537,750 at Heritage Auctions Oct. 1-2 Signature® Sports Memorabilia Auction.

The auction totaled just more than $4.2 million. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“We saw very solid results across the board,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports at Heritage Auctions. “The Ruth bat was the icing on the cake in an auction that featured examples from many of the greatest names in sports. Time and time again in this auction we saw totals far exceed the pre-auction estimates multiple times. It shows that demand for the highest quality material, as Heritage Auctions specializes in, will never diminish.”

While the bat that Ruth used to crush the first homer on opening day of Yankee Stadium in 1923, a relic which commanded $1.2 million at a December 2004 auction, is the most famous Ruth Bat, the remarkable Hillerich & Bradsby sold at Heritage Auctions not only predates that bat by five years, it is also the “parent” model of all Ruth bats to come. The Babe used the bat extensively throughout the historic 1918 season, making sure it lived up to his demanding specs – and as evidenced by the tightly centralized impact area – before sending it back to the Hillerich & Bradsby factory in Louisville, KY.

The price is the second highest ever realized for a Babe Ruth bat, and the most ever for an unsigned one.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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