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Description

1930 Babe Ruth & Christy Walsh Signed Check. Any check signed by the great Babe Ruth is a desirable commodity, and we'd never suggest otherwise. But if we were to be entirely honest, we'd admit that the standard "GH Ruth" signature that attends the overwhelming majority of representations is our least favorite autograph variation. Conversely, we find one of our favorites here.

The presented example stands head and shoulders above the pack, boasting a flawlessly bold and elegantly rendered "George Herman Ruth" signature beside that of his trusted agent, Christy Walsh. We believe that it is Walsh's handwriting which directs the sizeable sum of $2,500 to the "Bank of Manhattan Co." A notation on verso, written in the same apparent hand, indicates that the deposit is intended "To increase principal of trust fund of Mrs. Geo. H. 'Babe' Ruth."

The July 1, 1930, date of the check indicates the Mrs. Ruth in question is his final wife, Claire, whom he had married about a year earlier, within months of the death of Helen Ruth in an apartment fire. Bank punch coding barely intersects the Babe's all-important autograph and a paper clip impression is visible at upper left, but otherwise the check exhibits no flaws worthy of note.

We'll state it directly--this is arguably the most significant and valuable Ruth check in the hobby. His appearance with pioneering sports agent Christy Walsh, the man who all but single-handedly redefined the role of sports star as celebrity, makes it so. Ideally positioned together in the rarest of formats, together on the front of a check, provides display value to match its historical import. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

The Christy Walsh Collection, Part I.

Christy Walsh was nothing if not persistent. The syndicated cartoonist and newspaper columnist had enjoyed limited success hawking a series of ghostwritten articles for World War I ace turned star race car driver Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, but was convinced that a similar Babe Ruth partnership would prove to be a gold mine. He had watched the young recruit from the Boston Red Sox pack the Polo Grounds during the 1920 season, more than doubling the 620,000 tickets sold by the Yankees in 1919. Surely such popularity would translate to the newspaper business.

His initial attempts to meet with the Babe proved fruitless, however. "Get an appointment," Ruth would shout at Walsh as he attempted to accost him in the streets of Manhattan. Undeterred, Walsh took to camping out at the Ansonia Hotel where Ruth was living. Far more pestered than intrigued, the young Yankees star took to ducking out side doors to avoid the tenacious stalker, and hotel management forced Walsh onto the sidewalk, where he remained for days, waiting. Walsh had stopped in at a delicatessen next door to the Ansonia when his big break came. It was late February, just days before the Yankees would head south for their Hot Springs training grounds.

Overhearing a telephone call ordering a case of beer to Ruth's room, Walsh convinced the deli owner to allow him to deliver it. Five minutes later he was standing in the Babe's hotel room. Before the slugger could eject him, Walsh asked what the United News had paid him for his ghostwritten articles.

"Five dollars a piece," Ruth told him.

"I can get you five hundred," Walsh insisted.

The next day Christy Walsh returned to Ruth's hotel room with the document which leads off the special "Platinum Night" auction presented on the pages that follow. It marks not only the beginning of a lifetime association between Ruth and Walsh, but also the first public offering of The Christy Walsh Collection, an extraordinary archive from the definitive sports marketing pioneer. The remarkable, symbiotic relationship between Ruth and Walsh would continue for the rest of their lives, and Walsh's roster of talent would grow to include the greatest names in American sports. We offer a peek at its fascinating contents in lots 80001 through 80003, and advise you to stay tuned to future Heritage auctions to discover more of the treasures within.


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Auction Dates
August, 2010
5th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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