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Why The Pawn Stars Passed On A Set Of Babe Ruth-Signed Memorabilia

The goal for the "Pawn Stars" crew is to make deals on rare, valuable antiques. After all, they only make money if they have items in the shop, and the rarer the piece, the more Rick Harrison and his team want to buy it. 

They're not afraid of putting down big bucks, either, to get what they need. For instance, Rick has put down $250,000 to obtain some Maurice Sendak sketches. He's also spent serious cash when bars of gold and/or silver have come into the shop. But sometimes, no matter how good an object seems, the "Pawn Stars" team just can't make a deal.

In some circumstances, Rick and the seller are just too far apart to reach a compromise. In other instances, Rick discovers information that drastically alters the value of the item. This comes as news to the seller, who often remains in denial. The latter has ruined quite a few deals on "Pawn Stars" over the years, and it was particularly devastating when a baseball bat and glove allegedly signed by Babe Ruth came into the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.

Some sketchy credentials soured the Babe Ruth autograph deal

Everything seems to be on the up-and-up initially during the Season 5 episode, "Mile High Club." The seller even has documentation that supposedly proves the autographs and items are authentic. However, the seller asks for a ton of money, up to $100,000 for the bat alone. Rick isn't the kind of guy to throw that kind of money on just anything, and he wisely calls an expert to check out the stuff.

The inspection went well for the seller initially. The items are of the time period they should be in, and the autographs look real. However, the real problem comes when the seller shows the paperwork designed to authenticate the products. The sports memorabilia expert Jeremy points out how that particular authenticator faced legal trouble in the 1990s for forging signatures. As a result, any reputable selling service no longer recognizes a certificate of authenticity from the agency. As such, Rick wants nothing to do with the items. It's too much of a risk, and the seller walks out of the shop pretty unhappy with the new knowledge.

It's a shame, too, for the seller. An autographed Babe Ruth baseball bat once sold at auction for $1 million (via BBC). A fake bat could probably best be used to prop a door open.