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Few Autographed Items from 1948 Actually Signed by Ruth

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
July 17, 2005

Dear Babe: A family friend gave me an autographed Babe Ruth 3x5 photo with the original envelope it came with. He wrote to Ruth as a boy and was sent the photo. I was a huge N.Y. Yankee's fan, so he gave it to me when I was 8. I have had it ever since (almost 35 now). The photograph has a small tear at the end of the signature, which I taped on the back shortly after receiving it. Otherwise, it's in great shape. The envelope is not in good shape as you can see from the attached photo. The postmark is from Miami, dated March 9, 1948. I'm not sure who addressed the envelope.
Alex Leach, Culver City, Calif.

The fact that the tape is on the back might not hurt as much as if it were over the autograph itself. A 3x5 signed photo of the original Babe is worth $2,000-$4,000, said Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York. Naturally, top value would go to a signed photo with no tears and definitely no tape. The envelope doesn't really matter, but it does have meaning. The postmark is just five months before Ruth died and he was not doing well near the end. To be honest, there's a good chance he didn't sign the photo, which would negate almost all the value. Only an expert can tell.

Dear Babe: I have an old golf club with a wood shaft with no grooves on the steel head. It's a 5-iron. It has "W Parks, Scotland" stamped on the shaft just below the grip.
Lefty Blevins, Canton, Ga.

Without "W Park, Musselburgh" stamped on back of the head, the stamped shaft is probably worth more to a collector as a replacement than the club head itself, said Chuck Furjanic, owner of www.golfforallages.com in Irving, Texas. He's also the author of "Antique Golf Collectibles, A Price and Reference Guide." He said it dates from the 1890s. Without the name on the back of the club head, it's worth $50-$100. The value jumps up to $150-$400, depending on the type of head and overall condition if "W Park, Musselburgh" is on the head.

Dear Babe: I have three Boston Red Sox Christmas ornaments. The one from 1989 is the shape of an infield diamond with the names and numbers of Ted Williams, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr and Carl Yastrzemski at the bases. Another from 1990 celebrates the Sox division title, while the third bell-shaped ornament celebrates Nomar Garciaparra as rookie of the year in 1997.
Bob Mesti, Lawrence, Mass.

It looks like these were sent to season ticket holders, which means they were produced in the thousands as opposed to ornaments that went to team members and office workers. They're probably worth $15-$20 tops, said Larry Studebaker of Sportsworld in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston. The ornaments that went to team members and office staff from the 1980s are worth $50 each, Studebaker said.

Dear Babe: I have a Ted Williams' autograph among others on a 1937 San Diego Padres program. He hit a home run in the game. Also, I have several personal letters signed by Williams. They are typed. He was turning down invitations to attend a baseball clinic.
Bob Brian, South San Francisco

"This is a really nice item because of its age," said Phil Castinetti owner of Sportsworld-usa.com in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston. He valued the program at $750. He said each letter is worth $100-$150 - assuming Williams signed them rather than having a secretary sign for him.

Dear Babe: I have a ticket stub from the World Series where Tom Glavine beat the Indians 1-0. Would it be worth more if I had it autographed by Tom Glavine?
Mike LaMorte, Grayson, Ga.

Of course, while the Braves are perennially in the playoffs, they have only grabbed the brass ring once, beating the Indians in six games in the 1995 World Series with Glavine pitching that final game. I'd say the stub is worth $50 by itself and would jump to $75-$100 if Glavine signs it. Beckett's monthly guides lists Glavine's show fee for a flat item at $35-$50 right now. If your goal is to add his signature, now is better than later since prices will only go up in the future. Of course, it would be great if you ran into him in the airport or tracked him down at the team's hotel and got the signatures gratis. The problem/concern there is that it probably wouldn't be as nice as a signature from a show. Also, you'd probably get something to authenticate the autograph at a major show.

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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