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The Surprising Amount Pawn Stars Paid For A Signed Babe Ruth Photo

The guys at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop have pretty much seen it all over the years. From Lucille Ball's necklace to Jimi Hendrix's old guitar, this is one hock shop that sees a lot more than just rusty guns and old laptops. For 10 years, the cast of Pawn Stars have gotten their hands on a good deal of memorabilia, and while they have to sell it eventually, they can at least say for a brief period of time they were the proud owners of, say, authentic Maurice Sendak sketches.

Of course, as is the case with many things found in Las Vegas, you never can be too certain knowing what's real and what's fake. Scammers are prevalent everywhere you go, but you also have sellers who genuinely have no idea whether what they have is actually what they believe it to be. The Pawn Stars crew have been in this business long enough to know they shouldn't just take sellers at their word, so when one customer came in trying to sell an autographed Babe Ruth picture, the guys were right to take it with a grain of salt. After all, people are constantly trying to push fake Babe Ruth memorabilia, as evidenced by a different episode of Pawn Stars where a guy tried to sell Rick Harrison a phony bat

Luckily, that kind of bad news didn't have to happen this time around.

Rick only paid $1,100 for a signed Babe Ruth picture

On the season 4 episode, "Evel Genius," a guy comes in selling an autographed photo of The Sultan of Swat. Rick may not be an autograph expert himself, but immediately, there are some red flags as he realizes Babe Ruth's signature and the marking at the bottom of the card are written with different inks. Luckily, he has a deep stable of experts to call upon, and one came in to take a look. While he says the writing at the bottom of the paper was added later, the most important aspect — Babe Ruth's John Hancock — was authentic.

The expert claims the item could bring in as much as $2,500 at auction, and Rick ends up paying $1,100 to get his hands on the photo. Given the legacy of The Great Bambino, that may seem a little low to casual baseball fans, but when it comes to autographed memorabilia, it all comes down to what precisely the writing is on. $2,000 to $3,000 for a standard signed photo is actually pretty standard (via Bunch Auctions). Now, if Ruth had signed an actual baseball, then it could fetch as much as $10,000 going up for auction. The real holy grail would be a baseball bat Babe Ruth played with and then signed, as one of those sold for over $1.2 million in the past (via New Atlas). 

Still, a potential $1,400 profit isn't too bad for a day at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. After Rick spent $13,000 on a fake Shoeless Joe Jackson autograph, it's safe to say he's learned his lesson and will always do his homework when it comes to getting a second opinion on all signatures that come in.