Babe Ruth is known as one of America's all-time sports legends. He became the first baseball player to ever hit 60 home runs in one season--a record that held strong for decades. Today, his autograph on just about any item is worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars. The difficult part is finding out if a signature from the "Sultan of Swat" is authentic or not. By following a few simple steps, you can verify that your Babe Ruth signature is authentic, and make it worth far more than you could sell it for without authenticating it.
Do your homework before going any further in authenticating your Babe Ruth autographed item. Look online for a sample of Ruth's signature. One can be viewed at KeyMan Collectibles (follow the link in Resources). Check this sample against your autograph. If the autographs are completely different, there is a good chance yours isn't real. If the two signatures match, you may have an authentic Ruth autograph and can go further in your search.
Visit the James Spence Authentication website by following the link in Resources. Click on the "Events/Appearances" link at the top of the page. Scan down this entire page. You will see is a list of upcoming JSA events where experts will be authenticating sports memorabilia. If no event is coming up in your area, click the link "Authorized Dealers" at the top of the page. Scan the page to see if there is an authorized dealer in your area. If there is an event coming up in your area, or a dealer, make plans to visit. If you cannot find a local event or dealer, follow the suggestions in Step 4 or 5.
Determine the fee that will be charged for authenticating your autographed item. Click on the "Fees" link at the top of the page. Type in "Babe Ruth" into the box marked "Enter a Signer." Hit "Search" and you will be told how much it will cost to authenticate the signature.
Click on the "House Calls" link at the top of the page if you do not feel like driving to an event or mailing in your autograph. This option is a bit expensive. JSA says this option is for dealers, private collectors, auction houses and estate collections only. It is thus best to make a house call only if you have numerous signed items to authenticate. If this applies to you, click the "Contact Us" link at the top and contact JSA by phone or email. If you would rather mail in your autograph to be authenticated, continue to Step 5.
Go back to the JSA homepage by clicking the "Home" link at the top. Look in the top right-hand corner and click on the link marked "Submitting My Items." You can skip the first step on this page (verifying that the autograph is listed on their fee schedule), since they obviously authenticate Babe Ruth signatures. Follow the rest of the steps on this page. You will have to download a submission form and determine how much it will cost to have your item authenticated, insured and shipped back to you. After you've done this, enter your billing information on the submission form.
Follow the instructions under "Shipping Your Submission" on the "Submit Items" page. This will ensure the safety of your item. As is stated on the page, it is best to ship your autograph in bubble wrap or surrounded by newspaper for protection. Be sure to include your submission form and fee before shipping.
Check the "Items not Accepted" section on the "Submit Items" page. You will then be informed if for some reason JSA is not currently accepting certain items for authentication. If you have a special circumstance, you can contact them at (888) 4-JSPENCE.
Ship your item(s) once you've verified that JSA is accepting your particular item. The shipping address is at the top center of the submission form you downloaded. The turnaround time is usually 10 to 20 business days from the time JSA receives your submission. Your item will be returned within this time. If it is authentic, the submission will be returned with a letter of authenticity. For other possible outcomes of your submission, click "Services/Fee Schedule" at the top right of the page.
PSA/DNA provides much the same services; they are also listed in Resources.
You must insure your shipped item. The U.S. Postal Service does sometimes make mistakes, so it is better to be safe than sorry.