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National Convention Inspires Charm City Collectors

September 14, 2010

By Ray Schulte,

Schulte Auctions' August auction included five images Babe Ruth signed and personalized to his sister Mamie. (
For the first time in its 30-year history the National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Baltimore. The five-day Aug. 4-8 event generated considerable excitement among the approximately 30,000 fans and collectors swarming to the Baltimore Convention Center and also provoked interest among new and prospective sports memorabilia collectors in the area.

Schulte Auctions was one of the many local exhibitors displaying and selling memorabilia on the Convention Center floor. It was exciting to meet hundreds of first-time and potential collectors. Since the event concluded, Schulte Auctions has been inundated with calls from new and inexperienced collectors, including many who have had vintage items handed down to them, but don't know how to get them authenticated, appraised and sold.

It's a good idea for beginner and prospective collectors to proceed with caution until they are familiar with the collectibles market. In order to make the wisest decisions about buying or selling collectibles, keep the following two suggestions in mind.

Proper Authentication

Authentication is the most important consideration in collecting. Whether you're purchasing or selling sports/entertainment memorabilia, collectors need to have a reputable company authenticate items.

Companies such as Schulte Sports provide tamper-proof holograms on items they witnessed the athlete sign first-hand. JSA Authentication and PSA/DNA are two companies recognized for authenticating third-party signatures such as those of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Abraham Lincoln and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few.

When it comes to authentication of game-used equipment, the opinions of companies such as PSA/DNA as well as individuals including Denny Esken (game-used fielder's gloves) and Lou Lampson (game-used jerseys) are respected and accepted by the collectible industry. For authenticating original photos and graded trading cards, PSA/DNA and Beckett are sought out by collectors nationwide.

Find A Mentor

Check out collectible publications' Web sites, such as,,, or to find out who advertises, who is active in the market and who may be located near you. Ask questions, ask for references, see if they participate in shows and plan on visiting them in person. Take your time. Find someone who you feel is professional, experienced, knowledgeable, respected and willing to explain the buying and selling process. 

There are plenty of reputable individuals and companies willing to help novice collectors. Spend the time to find the right person who will help you feel comfortable with your collecting decisions.

Schulte Auctions Sells Ruth-Signed Photographs

Schulte Auctions featured many great vintage sports memorabilia in its recent August online auction, but none more significant than five images Babe Ruth signed and personalized to his sister Mamie (Mary Margaret Ruth-Mobley).

One image included Babe in a workout tank top with a personalized note to his sister, dated July 21, 1928. In addition, this lot included a separate photo of Mamie actually holding that signed Babe Ruth photo. This lot generated 39 bids and sold for $25,928, including the 15 percent buyer's premium.

In addition, a one-of-a-kind Gehrig photo signed to Mamie generated $12,860. The five Ruth-signed photos and the one Gehrig-signed photo, all signed to Mamie, generated a total of $62,131.

A 1958 Baltimore Colts team-signed football went for $9,662. A book signed by Hall of Famers including Honus Wagner, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor and Clark Griffith sold for $4,959, while a Mike Curtis game-used Baltimore Colts helmet brought $4,239.

Schulte Auctions conducts monthly online auctions featuring vintage sports and entertainment signed and unsigned memorabilia. Consignments are welcome anytime.

Issue 153: September 2010