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Copies of Copies, Even Great Yanks, Not Too Valuable

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
May 23, 2005

Dear Babe: For 20 years, I have had a 12x16 picture of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. It is signed twice by each of them. Ruth is wearing a black uniform with "Bustin Babes" on it. Gehrig is wearing a white jersey that says "Larrupin Lou's." I think it is from a barnstorming game in the 1930s.
Burt Foster, Atlanta, Ga.

Let's dispense with the suspense right off and then tackle the history of the photo. Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York, said he has never seen an oversized photo with authentic signatures. Basically, Ruth and Gehrig signed one of the photos. At some point, it was copied. Someone got the two stars to sign one of the copies, which resulted in yet more copies - this time with a double set of signatures. An original with authentic signatures is probably worth $50,000, Heffner said. Your photo might be worth $25-$50. Doing a little research, I saw a poster for a barnstorming tour in 1927 and a program from a 1928 tour that sold in recent auctions. I'm not sure which year your copied photo was originally taken.

Dear Babe: I have the first issue of the Beckett Monthly Baseball Card Price Guide dated November 1984. I have looked in several locations to find a value. None of my collecting savvy friends or I have seen one before. Other than a small blemish (dime-size) where a price sticker was and a small water stain (again dime-size), it is in perfect condition.
Mark Pogan, Norco, Calif.

Methinks there isn't much value in the first baseball Beckett monthly guide, especially since it was reprinted and sent to all subscribers a couple of years ago. In your case, the two blemishes on the powder blue background seal the deal. Now that everyone is a dealer thanks to the Internet, only a "mint" edition is going to attract interest. In two recent eBay auctions, one magazine offered for $25 including S&H did not get a bid. Another auction for the first 12 issues topped out at $26.50 plus $10 for S&H. Those went unsold because the reserve was not met.

Dear Babe: When the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, I was in high school. I took a train from San Diego to L.A. and was at city hall when the Dodgers arrived in convertibles to present Mayor Sam Yorty with the home plate from Ebbets Field. I got the signatures of Walt Alston, Duke Snider and Gino Cimoli there and then attended that first game. I've kept the stub and three signatures in a modest frame ever since.
Jim Delaney, Springfield, Va.

Alston and Snider are both Hall of Famers; Cimoli is not. Of course, we don't know from your description whether the signatures are on the stub. Both David Kohler, president of Sportscards Plus in Laguna Niguel, and Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York, agree the ticket itself is worth $50-$100. Heffner said these tickets are fairly common. Remember the L.A. Coliseum held 90,000-plus for baseball games. For that opener on April 18, 1958, against the Giants, 78,672 fans watched as the Dodgers came away with a 6-5 win. Alston's signature by itself is worth $25-$35, Snider $10-$20 and Cimoli $5. If they happen to be on the stub, then top value might reach $150.

Dear Babe: We have a flame-tempered Louisville Slugger that says "Special" with Carl Yastrzemski's name etched in script on the barrel. It has "CYS2" on the knob. What can you tell us about this bat?
George Rogers, Perris

It's a store model bat that might be worth $25, said Dave Bushing, an authenticator and expert on bats.

Want more? Check out another Babe Waxpak column every Thursday exclusively on Redding.com.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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