Babe Ruth’s 1923 World Series championship pocket watch could fetch $750,000 when hit the auction block next month. The Gruen Verithin pocket watch given to Babe Ruth by the New York Yankees after their first World Series win in 1923 will be offered at Heritage Auction’s Feb. 22 sale. The pentagonal 14-karat gold timepiece for which decades was thought to be lost to history remained with Ruth until shortly before his death from cancer in 1948.
“No one knew where the piece had been. No one has ever seen it for public sale or public auction,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at the Dallas-based auction house. “The fact that there was no news about it for so many decades, it was just thought that at some point it had been lost to time.”
The caseback of the watch is engraved with a pitcher, hitter, catcher, a ball in flight and the words “Yankees” and “World Champions 1923.”But, what makes the watch even more special is that Ruth had his name engraved on it and added a special inscription, “To My Pal Charles Schwefel.”
Babe Ruth asked his close friend, Charles Schwefel, what he would like from his collection. The Manhattan hotelier, who shared Ruth’s passion for helping disadvantaged youth, asked for the watch.
Schwefel kept it for two years until his wife gave it to Lewis Fern, her nephew and Ruth’s frequent golf caddy. It remained with Fern for decades until it was sold privately in 1988 to the current owner for around $200,000. He is selling it to benefit some charities he supports, though details here are scarce as the seller would like to remain anonymous. The watch has never been available for public sale, which is why many people speculated that it had been lost.