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Old 09-11-2017, 07:38 PM
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Default Best Way to Sell Single Signed Ruth?

Hey Guys and Girls
I am giving a little direction to a person who emailed me concerning a baseball that was found in his Dad's stuff as they are going through it. His dad is 85 and of very modest means so they want to try to get the most they can for it, of course. He has sent it to JSA and they have a full letter coming for it. His dad isn't sure where the ball came from except HIS dad was a car dealer back in the 20s-30s. They think it could have come from the Grandfather. The box is pretty nice. Is it worth getting another alphabet COA (I think for this auto they can be upwards of $300)? thanks for any help...
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:23 PM
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That's a clean looking Ruth. I'm no expert but for something like a single signed Babe Ruth baseball I don't see how getting a PSA letter for it could hurt.

Two LOAs probably will cause the bidding at auction to exceed the $300 to get it examined by someone like PSA.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:39 PM
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Can't hurt to get an LOA for that but certainly not needed. 100% authentic without question. But I can understand how some uneducated people would like an LOA for peace of mind. It's a $6000-$12000 baseball depending on the auction house.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:17 PM
Sophiedog Sophiedog is offline
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I think having the JSA letter is good enough. No need to spend more money. Whoever buys it will likely know its real and the one COA should give the buyer reasurance he's not buying a stamped or "made up" ball. It's a nice ball too and the box adds some value as well.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:46 PM
mordecaibrown mordecaibrown is offline
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That box is not the original box for that ball though. Ball is an American League Reach baseball and box is for National League Spalding ball.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecaibrown View Post
That box is not the original box for that ball though. Ball is an American League Reach baseball and box is for National League Spalding ball.
Thanks.
I don't know my balls that well . Never thought I would say that. Anyway, my understanding is the ball was always in the box. If it isn't original to it, it is ok and is what it is. I don't think the owner wants to make any more or less of what it really is. Which looks to be a pretty nice ball.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:00 PM
mordecaibrown mordecaibrown is offline
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I completely agree - both are nice items. Just something I noticed as an FYI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon View Post
Thanks.
I don't know my balls that well . Never thought I would say that. Anyway, my understanding is the ball was always in the box. If it isn't original to it, it is ok and is what it is. I don't think the owner wants to make any more or less of what it really is. Which looks to be a pretty nice ball.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:13 AM
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If I were in your position, Leon, I would give them the phone numbers to Heritage, REA, and LOTG and recommend they call all 3 to discuss the terms and expectations for the ball. I would suggest they request the ball be placed in a "premier" auction for Heritage, or one of the main spring auctions if they get a better vibe from REA or LOTG.

Since you know the AH negotiating possibilites well, Leon, I would also give the seller tips on what they should request of the AH regarding seller's commission, catalog placement, cash advances if needed, etc.

Finally, while it's a beautiful Ruth ball, I would also point out to the seller that it might not realize a super high ending amount due to the fact that part of the small "b" and the "e" in Babe are rubbed off or faded.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:26 AM
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Hi - seller here. I'd like to first start out by thanking Leon for his time and advice. I know as much about this stuff as my tractor, and Leon has been way more than generous.

I noticed the box thing as well, and when I asked my dad (whose memory is fading) he just said "that's what it has always been in." I'm definitely not trying to deceive anyone.

I also understand that this ball isn't in pristine condition, and the ultimate selling price will reflect that.

Leon did point me in the direction of several auction sites and provided great insight regarding the seller's premium (out!) and the buyer's premium (try to negotiate a piece), catalogue page size and location, etc.

Any other advice is certainly welcome - again, I don't know much about this stuff and I do need to maximize what I get for my dad.

Thanks again - Doug
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:47 AM
btcarfagno btcarfagno is offline
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Love your dad's ball Doug. Never thought I would say that phrase either.

Babe Ruth signed baseballs are the ultimate example of supply and demand. The supply of authentic examples seems never ending. The man signed thousands of balls per year for the last 20+ years of his life. Demand is equally as great, and average or better examples (your ball included) have been going up in price recently along with most other vintage Ruth collectibles.

I did a search at the Heritage.com website. They have auctioned off almost 100 Babe Ruth single signed balls over the past 18 months. If I had to venture a guess, your ball would go for somewhere in the $7,000 ballpark give or take. I have already taken out the buyers premium from that number...it is important to realize that most auction houses show the number that the bidder actually takes out of his/her pocket to pay for the item, which includes a buyers premium of 15-20% usually. So, if the auction site says that a similar ball sold for $8,000, the actual hammer price would have been around $6,667. Then if there is a sellers premium of, say, 10%, that $6,667 becomes more like $6,000. So the auction house receives $8,000 and the seller gets $6,000. If you are able to work the percentages down at all it is to your benefit to do so, but the auction house will still take a healthy cut of whatever the winning bidder actually pays for the item.

You may want to offer the piece on the BST here on net54. The likely buyer pay price for the ball at an auction house would be $8,000-8,500. Your take home would be (depending on your negotiating skills) $6,000-6,700. Thus, if you offer the ball here on net54 and take anywhere north of $7,000 you are likely making a better decision than the auction route.

Of course, if two bidders really want this particular ball, it could go to $10,000 or a bit more at auction. Then again, if only one person is willing to go to $6,000, then you get screwed. Understand, however, that Ruth signed baseballs are prevalent, and thus the market for them is somewhat stable and predictable. It isn't like two bidders will feel as though their next opportunity to get one at auction will be several years from now. There will likely be a similar one available within the next few weeks at one auction or another.

Tom C
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