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1937 Sinclair Oil Babe Ruth Baseball Contest Collection Including Display Dinosaurs (6)
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $1,527.50
In 1937 the Sinclair Refining Company launched a major promotional campaign with Ruth as its principal spokesperson. In addition to a twice-weekly radio show starring Ruth, the promotion also featured a weekly essay contest for kids that offered hundreds of different prizes, including Ruth-signed baseballs. Offered here are an assortment of scarce items relating to the 1937 "Sinclair-Babe Ruth Baseball Contest." All are great items, but the Sinclair display dinosaurs listed last in this writeup are really in class by themselves. These are almost certainly the only surviving examples and they were obviously produced for display at Sinclair stations. All (or at least many) Sinclair stations no doubt received a pair of these Ruth contest display dinosaurs, but these are the only ones we've ever seen. And they are really impressive! In fact, when our consignor, who is responsible for a significant percentage of the quality Ruth items in this auction, told us about these dinosaurs, we didn't know what he was talking about and couldn't imagine why he was so excited about them, when he had Ruth signed photos, Ruth's Brooklyn Dodgers cap, and so many other quality Ruth items. When the Sinclair dinosaurs arrived, we understood, and even we had to call him just to say he was right, they are incredible! We hope this auction helps them find a fine new home. This outstanding and unique collection consists of the following: 1) Babe Ruth Signed Sinclair Prize Ball. This official National League (Frick) ball bears a "Sinclair Babe Ruth Baseball Contest" label on the opposite sweet spot and is inscribed "Sincerely Babe Ruth" on a side panel in black ink. It has long been established in the hobby that these Babe Ruth Sinclair prize balls were not actually signed by Babe Ruth but instead display a "secretarial" signature. This was not done maliciously at the time, but was probably necessary due to the large number of prize balls (500) given away each week. Ex-Mt. 2) Sinclair-Babe Ruth Baseball Contest Entry Sheet. This one-page flyer (8.5 x 11 inches) was issued at participating dealers and featured an official entry form for the contest as well as a listing of the prizes, the official rules, and weekly baseball tip by Babe Ruth on the reverse. The offered example bears a 1937 copyright date along the base and also features a stamp listing the participating dealership, "Slattery Sinclair Service - Freehold, N.J." Vg-Ex, with a number of minor border tears . 3) Babe Ruth Pin-Back Button . The colorful button (3 inches in diameter) features an illustration of Ruth next to the words "Ask Me." A vintage ink notation on the reverse cardboard backing reads "July 1937." This piece has always been something of an enigma in the hobby. It's believed that the button was worn by service station attendants, but the question it was meant to elicit has so far eluded historians. Most likely it refers to an invitation to ask about the Babe Ruth Sinclair contest. Ex. 4) Large Sinclair-Babe Ruth Baseball Contest Advertising Banner. This cloth banner (82 x 17 inches) was issued for display at Sinclair service stations and prominently displays Ruth's name as well as the many prizes to be won, including the top prize of two Nash "8's" (automobiles) and 500 autographed Ruth balls. The piece also promotes the company's biweekly radio show, "Tune in Wednesday and Friday Evenings, C.B.S." The banner retains one of its original metal grommets and displays significant wear including numerous small tears and moderate-to-heavy staining throughout. We can't imagine there are too many surviving examples of this outdoor banner; this may be the only one. Good condition. 5) Two Sinclair Wooden Promotional Dinosaurs . Each of these wooden dinosaurs (measuring approximately 19 inches in length and 14 inches in height) was, presumably, displayed at a Sinclair service station in promotion of the Sinclair-Babe Ruth Baseball Contest (the dinosaurs symbolize the origins of fossil fuel). Each dinosaur displays a colorful paper label (2.5 x 3.5 inches) in promotion of the weekly contest (featuring an image of Ruth) that also encourages patrons to "Ask for a free entry blank." Both dinosaurs bear a circular "Sinclair Gasoline" label, while one also features a "Sinclair Oils" label. Each dinosaur has a broken tail that has since been repaired (of no consequence and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy), as well as a little minor general wear. Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The dinosaurs alone are figural advertising classics and make this an exciting collection, but all are quality items from one of Babe Ruth's most well known and highly collected promotional endorsements. Total: 6 items. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $1,527.50
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