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Not only a Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig signed ball -- among the very elite of sports collectibles under any circumstances -- but one with the added punch of actually being dated and thus traceable to a particular game. In this case, not a big league affair but one far more arcane and fascinating -- the "Oct. 28 - 1928" and stamping of "Harwood's National League Ball" (not the official NL ball) pegging it as being used in a post-season barnstorming tour in the hinterlands. These tours had a lure and history all their own, as scores of underpaid big leaguers took to the back roads (some under assumed names when their teams objected to them playing for anyone else) to make a few bucks. Some of these games were against traveling Negro League All-Stars, who more than money relished the chance to show up the white big leaguers. While the game this ball came from is unknown, it's more than enough given the paucity of surviving memorabilia from the barnstorming days to make it a real historical bauble. As for the gods' signatures, Ruth's sits on one panel and Gehrig's on another, both in blue ink that has understandably faded a bit yet remain vivid and strong, with carefree loops and arcs of the 1st letters of each of their names. Both grade solid 6's. Another bonus is that signature of fellow HOFer Al Simmons on the opposite end of the Ruth panel, also a 6. The dated inscription is at the bottom of a notation "Hit by R. Schenner" (identity unknown), with this ink flow bolder. The ball itself has held up nicely, with an even tan-grey tone and just a few splotches of soiling and surface loss. A beaut. And what a price!
Other past auction items that may be of interest to you.
August 2005 - Sports Collectors'