c.1934 Babe Ruth Signed Tour of Japan Batting PSA Type 1 Encapsulated Souvenir Postcard-Sized Photo - Measures Approx. 3-3/8” x 5-1/2” - PSA 8 NM-MT Auto Grade & Full PSA Type 1 Photo LOA
Any Babe Ruth signed baseball card or original photo merits the highest hobby accolades, substantiating why this incredible 1934 “Tour of Japan” PSA Type 1 souvenir postcard-sized batting photo autographed by the immortal Ruth stands a true museum worthy masterpiece. Originally taken by a renowned Japanese photographer during that legendary tour, the photographer’s critical embossed seal resides at the lower right quadrant, leaving zero doubt as to its PSA Type 1 designation. It is no secret that Ruth ordered a bunch of these original sepia-toned images for the purposes of signing them for his myriad of zealous followers, with this particular illustration portraying the Bambino completing his mighty swing as he watches another colossal blast head towards the Japanese grandstands. Ruth signed these postcard-sized images as heirlooms for both his Japanese and American fan base, and it is also assumed that a number of them were utilized as real-photo postcards, mailed to “The Babe’s” faithful followers in a similar manner as Government postcards. This particular offering was boldly signed “Babe Ruth” in blue steel tip fountain pen directly beneath his waist, with the autograph conservatively graded a “NM/MT 8” by the renowned PSA/DNA Authentication Company. Most significantly, it does not include any personalization, with a majority of the few known examples exhibiting a personalized salutation.
Its original lineage can be traced back to one of the most celebrated global baseball events ever, the highly esteemed 1934 “Tour of Japan” whereby legendary manager Connie Mack was asked to piece together an 18-player All-Star team to challenge Japan’s finest players/teams in 18 contests. Not the first overseas trip to Japan, professional baseball squads had previously experienced similar tours in 1908, 1913, 1920, 1922 and 1931. However, in those five prior tours, our American all-stars were matched up against Japanese amateur or college teams, resulting in lopsided contests. Japan had high hopes for the 1934 tour for they would now match up their premier professional players from a nucleus of Japanese teams dubbed the “Big Six” against the American all-stars. Of course, Connie Mack’s first player choice was George Herman “Babe” Ruth who, via his prior world tour and unparalleled reputation, was now a “global fixture”. Additional Hall of Fame icons would include Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer and Lefty Gomez, with the ultra-popular and eventual WWII spy Moe Berg also on America’s roster. Upon arrival to Japan, an amazing 500,000+ Japanese faithful came out to greet the American players with the immortal Ruth obviously receiving maximum accolades and sufficing as the most formidable crowd-pleaser. Seemingly delirious fans would relentlessly cry out “Beibu Rusu….Beibu Rusu”, with the Bambino waving both the American and Japanese flags for the captivated crowd. While Japan was now utilizing professional players, eleven of which would eventually be inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame, much to the delight of the American people the results remained the same. The American’s once again bested Japan in all 18 games, with the “Sultan of Swat” clouting an incredible 13 home runs and solidifying his place among avid Japanese followers as a bona fide baseball god!
In lieu of the unprecedented prestige associated with this tour, any related artifacts are highly sought-after by hobbyists, especially this boldly autographed original Type 1 Ruth postcard-sized image. While not a true baseball card, its standard postcard size, Type 1 photo status, and the fact it was utilized for gifting purposes to Ruth’s ardent fans (possibly in some instances as a mailed postcard) all combine to elevate its world-class stature. In fact, in 2020, a private sale of another non-personalized 1934 “Tour of Japan” image in the more abundant “horizontal” format approached $100K. This scarcer “vertical” format scripted offering reveals a brilliant sepia-toned Ruthian batting pose as the mighty Babe has just completed his hallowed swing. Miraculous to say the least, no glaring flaws/creases are evident, with the aforementioned photographers embossed seal neatly positioned near the lower right corner. The somewhat right-angled corners reflect “EX” quality, and the superb contrast and near-impeccable clarity contribute to the obverse side’s spectacular aesthetics. The only “negative” attribute is the black residue (from scrapbook removal) affixed to a majority of the blank verso, with this treasured keepsake obviously residing in a scrapbook for many years and substantiating why the obverse side’s eye appeal is absolutely breathtaking. Yet, most would agree it is the momentous autographed image that stands as the notable component, with the back of signed cards, postcards and photos rendered virtually irrelevant.
In closing, the emergence of signed sports cards certainly requires no introduction, with staggering price tags knowing no boundaries. In 2020, the hobby realized some incredible pricing points for the most coveted issues, spearheaded by the unprecedented Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig sales from the legendary “Uncle Jimmy Collection” that culminated with a record-setting sale of $761,000 for a Goudey #149 scripted Ruth in February 2021. Furthermore, the sale of three autographed Goudey Ruth’s only a month later (w/zero provenance) ranged from $223K to $359K, justifying the notion that pricing points for Babe Ruth signed cards have infinite-like potential. This offering’s undisputed rarity, magnificent visual appeal, postcard-sized dimensions, and Type 1 1934 Tour of Japan historical provenance all combine to place it as “the next best thing” to a signed Ruth Goudey. Considering there appears to be no end in sight for this spiraling value up-tick, it makes perfect sense for these previously undervalued Babe Ruth signed Tour of Japan souvenir photos to finally “hit their stride”. With that in mind, we highly advise you to capture this miraculous 87-year-old Babe Ruth signed image before its value escalates to a stratospheric level!
MIN BID $7,500