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    The only known example!

    1934 Takashimaya Department Stores Babe Ruth SGC 20 Fair 1.5. Baseball became widely popular in Japan during the Meiji Period when Japan allowed exposure to western culture, with baseball tours occurring as early as 1908 and 1913. Of the hundreds of American and Japanese players who took the sport internationally, none were more admired, loved and respected than the inimitable Babe Ruth. And none of these goodwill tours was more successful than the eighteen games played in 1934, despite the American team posting an eighteen-game victorious sweep of its Japanese competition. It is estimated over a half million people came out to welcome the American team to Japanese shores. What an inspiring sight it must have been to see a larger than life Bambino waving American and Japanese flags as he led the parade around Tokyo.

    We have Matsutara Shoriki to thank for organizing the tour and the "Great Tokyo" baseball club that would face the powerful American squad. The home team was the best of the best, featuring no fewer than eleven future Japan Hall of Famers. In December of 1934, this team became Japan's first professional team, the Yomiuri Tokyo Giants. The team still exists to this day, and is one of the finest in Japan. The American team fielded a line up included Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Earl Averill, Lefty Gomez and, of course, the catcher and spy Moe Berg. Ruth hit thirteen home runs to thrill the Japanese fans.

    Shoriki also owned the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper. Information from the book "Banzai Babe Ruth" by Robert Fitts reports that advertisements in the Yomiuri Shinbun between November 4 and 11 for the "Takashimaya" department store promote a "Baseball Sale." Customers who spent three yen received a free ticket to a game. Shoppers were also invited to meet the players at the store, with the first 3,000 receiving a free Babe Ruth bromide.

    Not a single example was known until now, and we have the honor to present this truly unique relic to the hobby. The obverse is devoted to a well-known full-figure image of Ruth. The Takashimaya logo in the bottom left corner confirms its origin. Back is blank, but bears a pencil-written Japanese surname, surely the original owner. The card is graded SGC 20 Fair 1.5.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,612

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