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Hidden Treasure: Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner Autographed Baseball Discovered After 60 Years

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A baseball autographed by legends Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner, forgotten in a drawer for six decades in a San Pedro home, is now a highlight of Lelands' 2024 Winter Classic Auction, captivating collectors with its rich history and remarkable journey from obscurity to prominence.

Tucked away in a drawer in San Pedro, California, lay a hidden treasure unknown to a family for over 60 years. It was only during a casual visit that a grandson, intrigued by his own participation in adult baseball, was surprised by his grandmother with a baseball bearing the iconic signatures of Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. This unexpected family heirloom, originating from the 1930s, suddenly emerged as a priceless piece of baseball history, having been preserved in near-perfect condition without the knowledge of its potential worth.

The discovery of this baseball, signed by two of baseball's greatest legends, catapulted from a family's private possession to national attention when it was featured on Antiques Roadshow in 2014, astonishing viewers and experts alike. Now, as part of Lelands' 2024 Winter Classic Auction, this baseball is up for grabs, offering collectors the rare opportunity to own a piece intertwined with the legends of the sport.

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This extraordinary baseball not only showcases the autographs of Ruth and Wagner but also includes signatures from Hall of Famer Al Simmons and star pitcher George Earnshaw, further elevating its significance. The detailed provenance suggests the signatures were collected during the consignor's grandfather's tenure as a ship inspector, possibly securing Ruth's autograph during a famous 1933 trip to Hawaii.

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Appraised by renowned expert Leila Dunbar on Antiques Roadshow, the baseball was initially valued at $30,000, with a later appraisal raising its estimated value to $80,000, reflecting the growing appreciation and demand for such rare memorabilia. Lelands has since confirmed the exceptional quality of the signatures, grading them highly and underscoring the baseball's pristine condition.

With the auction underway until March 16, the baseball's journey from a hidden family keepsake to a coveted auction item highlights the enduring fascination and emotional value of sports memorabilia. This sale represents not just a financial transaction but the passing on of a tangible piece of baseball history to a new generation of enthusiasts and collectors.

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