In the world of baseball memorabilia, there are certain items that hold immense historical significance and tell captivating stories. One such artifact is a recently discovered photograph of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, signed by both players and authenticated as an original Type 1. This photograph, captured by renowned photographer Arthur Hull, showcases the golden age of baseball and features two of the sport’s greatest icons during a moment of camaraderie at the Yankees’ spring training camp between 1927 and 1931.
The photograph itself exudes joy and friendship, capturing the relaxed demeanor of Ruth and Gehrig. Their autographs on the photograph speak to Hull’s meticulousness as a photographer and his dedication to immortalizing these legendary figures. Keith Breitweiser, an acquisitions specialist at Lelands, the auction house handling the sale, commends the exceptional quality of both the autographs and the photograph itself, stating, “These are the two most iconic players who ever played the game on the most iconic team. The autographs are some of the nicest you’ll find.”
The journey of this photograph to the auction block is a tale of historical preservation and fortunate circumstances. After Hull’s passing in 1969, his collection, including the signed photograph, was acquired by Karl Allison and a friend from Hull’s widow. This acquisition, made for a nominal sum, included a treasure trove of Hull’s negatives and photographs spanning his five-decade career. Amongst these precious items was the signed photograph of Ruth and Gehrig, which Allison decided to safeguard, ensuring its preservation by storing it away from light and creating a duplicate for display purposes.
The significance of this photograph goes beyond its visual appeal; it represents a rare opportunity to own a piece of sporting history. Signed photographs of Ruth and Gehrig, especially those authenticated as Type 1 originals and in excellent condition, are incredibly scarce and highly sought after by collectors. Consequently, the auction of this photograph, starting on February 25th, is expected to draw significant interest from collectors and enthusiasts, providing a unique chance to acquire a tangible piece of baseball’s illustrious past.
The upcoming auction not only showcases the enduring fascination with Ruth and Gehrig but also emphasizes the importance of meticulous preservation and the role of photography in capturing and commemorating the legends of the sport. As this photograph prepares to find a new home, it continues to celebrate the legacy of two of baseball’s most revered figures, immortalized through Arthur Hull’s lens and preserved for decades as a testament to their profound impact on the game and American culture as a whole.