The 14-karat gold watch — the predecessor to today's World
Series championship ring — was awarded to the baseball legend
after he led the Yankees to their first of 27 world championship
victories. The watch had not been seen since.
"It is the most significant piece of Yankees memorabilia ever
offered," said Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles for
"He was the first American sports icon and was a pivotal player
in bringing the Yankees into the forefront, into an American
dynasty," Ivy said.
Ruth, who began his career as a pitcher, went on as an
outfielder to became one of the most powerful hitters in
baseball history, setting a home run record and earning the
nickname "Sultan of Swat."
Championship pocket watches, believed to be more practical than
rings, were given to World Series victors in the 1920s, Ivy
Before his death in 1948, Ruth gave his close friend, Charles
Schwefel, the timepiece engraved "to my pal, Charlie Schwefel."
Schwefel then gave the watch to Lewis Fern, Ruth's golf caddy,
who sold it in 1988 to the current, anonymous owner for
$200,000, according to Ivy.
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Bidding online has already started on the pentagonal watch, but
will culminate in a live auction in New York City on February
In the late 1990s, actor Charlie Sheen bought Ruth's
1927 championship ring for $250,000, said Ivy.
He expects the pocket watch will go for over $1 million.
"It's a seminal piece of memorabilia and signifies the dominance of
the most significant sports franchise in America," Ivy said.
(Reporting by Marina Lopes; editing by
Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)
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