Thank you for taking the time to look at my baseball that I am pretty sure was signed by Babe Ruth, and thanks for offering your opinion on that as well as regarding the other attributes that you are about to see concerning this baseball.
After examining this ball and trying to figure out the manufacturer, I am guessing that the main BABE RUTH name on the sweet spot that looks so nice is the manufacturer stamp, but I am not sure.
As you will see below this BABE RUTH name on the sweet spot, someone has written, "Japan 1934," and to the right of this I truly believe that this is a legit Babe Ruth signature. But who wrote "Japan 1934?" Where did this inscription of The Order of the Golden Kite come from and is this really the symbol of The Order of The Golden Kite?
A friend of mine has a brother working in Japan, and his brother in Japan's associate there is always looking for collectables for his rich business friends. He saw the baseball and freaked and asked how I was able to get my hands on it and asked if I knew what the symbol stood for that was on both sides of the ball? Obviously none of us had any idea what the symbols are that are inscribed on two sides of the ball, as the Japanese gentleman in Japan said it represented The Order of the Golden Kite - The Order of the Golden Kite (金鵄勲章 Kinshi Kunsho) was an order of the Empire of Japan, established on 12 February 1890 by Emperor Meiji "in commemoration of Jimmu Tennō, the Romulus of Japan." It was officially abolished by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers of Occupied Japan in 1947 after World War II.
The Japanese gentleman suggested that the symbol of The Order of the Golden Kite was involving honor and valor and he suggested that this ball was possibly personally made for Babe Ruth or maybe for him to sign? Who knows? And above and beyond what this symbol really means, was it placed on the ball before or after it was signed? How was this symbol inscribed on the ball?
I have so many questions about this ball that are driving me crazy and I have been trying to find out more about the symbol and trying to find someone or someone's who would know more about The Order of the Golden Kite. I have no doubts about the authenticity of the Babe Ruth signature to the lower right, but having someone else who is knowledgeable about Babe Ruth signatures agree sure wouldn't hurt my feelings. And once again, was the upper sweet spot BABE RUTH name stamped on the ball?
I am thinking that if I can find out everything about this ball, or even a little more, that it can prove to be very valuable. As a collector, this is not just about the value of the ball, but also about trying to learn the story behind this piece of sports history. Any help from anyone would be truly appreciated and if you would like to see better photos please let me know.
Any help or suggestions are truly appreciated.
Ciao for now - CuJo
Order of the Golden Kite was established in the late 1800s, early 1900s as the Japanese equivalent of our Medal of Honor for extreme bravery. That's about all I know about it. Why it's on a baseball, I'm not sure, I have to look into it, this is new to me.
The Japanese revered Ruth, he was even bigger than life there than he was here to American audiences, they loved him.
The inscription "Japan" is odd, the "-1934" is also odd for his typical formations, bordering on one of a kind, but I'm going to examine the images later today as soon as I get some time and research this order and it's connection to the baseball and Ruth, as I think it's a fascinating subject and worth looking into. Hopefully, I'll have a lot more to add. Thank you for posting this.
Can't wait for your analysis.
John, still working with the baseball. Trying to get a full understanding of it; it's origins, purpose, availability at the time, etc., etc.
Addressing the inscription, I'd be very surprised if that's in Ruth's hand. His J's from this period typically have two, round, open circles, top and bottom, and the disconnected letters of J a p a n are untypical of Ruth as is their formations. I would never associate Ruth's handwriting with inscription or date, the manner in which it's written, if Ruth was not the subject of the ball. Rith's "1" is typically a slightly forward angled single stroke, not this type of "1" with a prominent, long hook at the top, and the "3" is off the wall altogether for Ruth. Ruth typically writes 3's with the bottom continuing to the left and then turning back upon itself and back through, like the end of his "B"s.
Further troubling to me is that although a Ruth signature has many common elements, the proportions of the components and their start and end points usually differ from signature to signature. And here, it looks like the same mechanism wrote both "Babe's" on the ball!
I'm not altogether convinced yet that is a stamp on the sweet spot. I don't have the luxury of having the ball in hand to really examine the track closely, but I haven't ruled that out as of yet. And however that ink on the sweet spot was applied; by stamp, machine, or hand, what this looks like to me is that a concerted effort was made to slowly copy it verbatim.
In 1934, Ruth had several variations of his signature! Hard to find any two from 1934 hat are almost an exact match and yet the two "Babe"s on this ball are incredibly close; so close in fact that it appears that one was copied from the other.
More to come, hopefully.
OK - thanks so much for that analysis. This ball has been driving me crazy and I see your logic in coming to the conclusions and I also see what you mean about the 1934 date looking like it was written by someone else. I also noticed that the 2 Babe Ruth names were also close but don't you think they both look like Babe's signature? Which of course I know you also insinuated that it is funny that the signature is on their twice. This is what made me think that maybe the first signature was stamped on and the second written but like you said it is hard to tell. Your looking at this ball is very much appreciated and I will try and post some better photos of it. The inscription on it is very curious to say the least. Why would anyone go through all of that trouble to put that inscription on the ball? And what does it stand for? Unless the gentleman in Japan that said it was from the Order of the Golden Kite in Japan was correct like he suggested and the ball was kind of ceremoniously prepared for Babe Ruth's signing? Why else would anyone go through such pain staking trouble to put that symbol on the baseball?
Woody! Thank you! Great stuff!!!
Wow - Thanks so much for your time Woody - I am new here and am just now figuring out how out how to use this site. I compared the Ruth signatures to many of them that have been authenticated and I believe the JAPAN 1934 looks like it might be in a different hand writing but I couldn't tell you for sure obviously. I used to do some TV and movie stuff and remember some celebrities signing stuff and their hands getting tired or what not and sometimes they had two signatures or more consecutively that although had the same style still looked different. I can also see a guy signing a baseball back in those days and the pen sticking at times on the leather. I am glad you also find this fascinating and for a guy in Japan to tell me he thinks the Order of the Golden Kite inscribed on the ball might have been to pay homage to Babe Ruth I thought this was pretty interesting and if this is true I know it would be hard to prove. You sound smart and as you can see the inscription is a mystery as to how and or when it got on the ball. As you can see the two BABE RUTH names on the ball also make it interesting and with the one being on the SWEET SPOT and so clear I cannot tell if it was printed on or written. Your interest is so much appreciated that you cannot believe it and cool you knew what the order of the Golden Kite is~~~~ i will look forward to more of your assessment and once again thanks so very much. Here is a question that also comes to my mind and I would like your opinion on this. If Babe Ruth was revered there in Japan that greatly, why would anyone go through all of that trouble of putting that symbol of The Order of The Golden Kite on the ball if they were not sure that the ball was going to get into Babe Ruth's hands? I mean that looks like it was hand inscribed to me and like you I have never seen anything like it, and for some guy in Japan to tell me that this is The Order of the Golden Kite symbol that gives me more belief that it is. Does that make sense? So maybe a guy from or who had some affiliation with the Order of the Golden Kite was inspired enough to put this inscription on the ball because he knew it was going to be signed by Babe Ruth? Where this theory is correct or not I like it - Haaaaa.
It's not so much the Babe "signatures" appearing twice on the ball as it is that the "Babe" from both names written/stamped/whatever on the ball are so close in formation that it appears one was copied from the other! The two "Ruths" are uncomfortably close in formation as well, but those two Babe's are even more so; close enough to suspect that one was on there and then the other copied from the other. Still researching, or trying to research the ball.
With many Ruth signed baseballs, the ball itself holds a significant weight of the authenticity clues.
Thusfar, I'm leaning toward the idea that this was a ball, or part of a group of baseballs manufactured for a special occasion as the inking of Golden Kite insignia appears to be stamped onto the panel prior to assembly! The insignia looks like it disappears under the stitching at point of intersection thus would indicate that.
'34 was the year of the long Ruth barnstorming in Japan. I think the American team (headed by Ruth) played about 18 games against Japanese teams.
After reviewing internet search engines, trying to find something using related searches, thus far, this may be the only place that anyone has discussed a Golden Kite insignia on a baseball!
If the ball was mass produced with the insignia (more than one of them manufactured, for a special occasion), it's likely that someone else, somewhere, a hobbyist, an auction house, an official, would have mentioned it somewhere over the past 84 years and the record would appear on the net today. And I searched deep into related image results, page after page after page.
So here's what I believe as of now, and unfortunately, I don't have any precedents to go by. Now I know more about the Golden Kite than I did before but how it relates to this baseball still escapes me without any solid info on a baseball or Ruth connection.
1) Not Ruth's inscription, 90/10 sure
2) But if that was Ruth's inscription, the location of the alleged signed name, immediately to the right of it would make sense, a continuation of the inscription would be logical, so the inscription likely not being his corrupts the chances of the Babe Ruth following it being authentic, even though it looks like it may be authentic if taken into context by itself.
3) Further complicating this is the Babe central to the sweet spot. Babe would have no reason to double sign it unless the central signature is already there, stamped on the ball, a Japanese produced baseball (Babe and baseball were already wildly popular in Japan by 1934). And that the two inked Babes are almost identical (as far as Babes go) as though the lower was copied from the upper.
4) The insignia looks as though the impression of it continues under the stitches and not through or over the stitches, but as the images relegate that to no more than 50/50, that could only be determined by examining the ball hands on, the same to determine the nature of the central (upper) "signature".
So that's where I am for now, and it sure isn't for lack of trying! Without the ball in hand, and lacking any historical info linking anything about the ball to baseball and/or Ruth, trying to get a handle on this is daunting.
It appears to be unique, authentic Ruth or not
Just an update, nothing more on any historical Golden Kite connection with a baseball. Still exploring and will update as soon as, and if, I know more.
This has been very interesting. Thank you both.
As far as I can tell, the two were signed by different mediums. the "Japan 1934" appears to be ball point, while the suspected signatures are fountain pen, with likely iron gall ink. The only way to know for sure, is to have a spectrograph test completed, and possibly carbon dated.
I am leaning towards the possibility this was a reference to Babe being in Japan in 1934, more so than an actual autograph, which is why you have two signatures that are alike in form and function.
Only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable 3rd party capable or conducting the necessary tests.