NEW YORK – Babe Ruth’s 1923 World Series Championship watch, thought lost to history, will come to public auction on Feb. 22. It is estimated at $750,000+.
The watch was awarded to the Babe, and all of his New York Yankees teammates, when they bested the crosstown rival New York Giants.
“As the Babe’s personal award for the first World Championship in New York Yankees franchise history, I believe that this is the most important piece of New York Yankees memorabilia that exists,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles at Heritage Auctions.
“More importantly for history, 1923 was the inauguration of the single greatest sports dynasty in history,” said Ivy, “the first World Series victory for a franchise that has garnered 27 to date and is one of the most popular teams in the world, period. This is the official and only award presented to George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth for his contributions in claiming that first trophy. It’s simply unbelievable.”
For the first quarter century of its existence, the pocket watch remained with Ruth as one of his most significant possessions. As his terminal cancer progressed later in his life, however, he asked his close friend Charlie Schwefel if he might want anything from his collection to remember him by.
“Schwefel, a wealthy Manhattan hotelier and an important figure in the New York boxing scene,” said Ivy, “asked for his dying friend’s pocket watch.” The watch remained in Schwefel’s possession for just two years before his wife gave it to her nephew, who kept the watch for decades until it was privately sold into one of the finest sports collections in the world in 1988, where it has remained hidden away until now.
The watch is a 14 karat gold “Gruen Verithin” beauty in unique pentagonal format. The verso is engraved with a miniature scene of a pitcher, hitter and catcher, and a ball in flight in their midst. Framing the scene are the historic words, “Yankees, World’s Champions 1923.”