Lord of The Rings: The Mystery of Lou Gehrig’s 1927 World Series Bling; Cooperstown Treasure or Halper Fake Sold By Sotheby’s?
By Peter J. Nash
June 10, 2016
A few years ago a controversy commenced involving Charlie Sheen’s alleged 1927 Babe Ruth World Series ring in an article published at Deadspin which revealed how a collector had lied about acquiring the ring from the Bambino’s daughter. The Babe’s own granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, confirmed that her mother never sold the ring to Yankee partner and super-collector, Barry Halper, who later sold the Ruth ring to auctioneer Josh Evans for $150,000. Evans purchased the ring in order to re-sell it to Sheen in the 1990s for $225,000 but, prior to those transactions in 1990, Halper had told Evans in a Sports Collectors Digest interview that he acquired the ring from the Babe’s daughter, Dorothy Ruth-Pirone. However, in a 1988 book that Pirone co-wrote about her father in entitled, My Dad, The Babe, she contradicted Halper’s story stating that the Babe’s World Series rings had vanished from the family years earlier.
Her co-author, Christopher Martens, confirmed in an interview the details of her story and added, “Dorothy did not have any World Series rings during the two year period we wrote the book and said they had disappeared years earlier. I might add that based on my time with her it is almost an impossibility that she would have sold anything she had related to her father. One room in her home was dedicated to him as a shrine and contained various items and memorabilia. She definitely didn’t need the money and she was very sick suffering from emphysema at the time.” Other than Sheen’s alleged 1927 ring, no other Ruth World Series ring has ever surfaced. The Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t even possess one and Claire Ruth made a significant donation to the museum after her husband’s death.
At the time Sheen was showing off his alleged Ruth ring, the Babe’s granddaughter also made an observation about another 1927 World Series ring which once belonged to Babe’s teammate, Lou Gehrig. At a 1999 Sotheby’s sale, Halper also sold what he claimed was Gehrig’s 1927 World Series ring for a hammer price just shy of $100,000. Tosetti, however, told us, “I saw the cap of Lou’s 1927 ring at the Hall of Fame on a bracelet he made for his wife, so how could Barry Halper have sold it if its been at the Hall of Fame all these years?”
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