Prized Babe Ruth card auction could set new world record surpassing $12.5M

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John Allen
Saturday November 11, 2023

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A 1914 Babe Ruth card is expected to be a centerpiece of a highly anticipated auction this month. Projections suggest a minimum sale price of $10 million for the rookie baseball card of the sports legend, with the potential to surpass the existing world record set at more than $12.5 million.

The auction of this rarest of rare card is scheduled to span from November 17 to December 3, 2023. For enthusiasts eager to catch a glimpse, the card will be showcased at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore on November 15, as stated by Brian Dwyer, the president of Robert Edward Auctions.

The historic Babe Ruth card

Dwyer emphasized the significance of the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card, describing it as the most important card ever made, symbolizing the origin of Babe Ruth in both baseball and the trading card hobby.

Capturing a 19-year-old Babe Ruth during his tenure with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, the card measures 2 5/8″ x 3 5/8″. This baseball collectible showcases Babe Ruth as a member of Baltimore’s minor league team and is part of a card set that displays player images on the front and features a team schedule on the reverse side.

Babe-Ruth-baseball-card
Robert Edwards Auctions / Fox News

As the year concluded, Babe Ruth transitioned to the Red Sox, coinciding with the eventual dissolution of the Orioles team by the following season. Brian Dwyer emphasized the historical significance of the Babe Ruth card, citing these events as contributing to its storied history.

According to Dwyer, this particular Babe Ruth card is one of just 10 existing examples and marks the first instance available to the public in over a decade. He explained that when the Baltimore News released this set in 1914, the newspaper issued the cards in both red and blue versions.

The auction house has pointed out that the red version Babe Ruth card, graded as VG (‘Very Good’) 3 by SGC, is the finest condition example to appear at auction in over 15 years, with only one example graded higher (a PSA 4). It believes the Babe Ruth card will sell for upward of $10 million or more.

A world record in the offing

Mickey Mantle baseball card in impeccable condition achieved a remarkable sale price of $12.6 million on in early October this year setting a new World Record. Dating back to 1952, it is recognized as one of only a few in near-pristine condition featuring the baseball legend. A few months before a bidder paid $7.25 million to buy a century-old Honus Wagner baseball card in a private transaction.

In 2021, the Rober Edward Auctions sold the famous T206 Honus Wagner card for a record-setting sale of $6.6 million. Before that the 1921 game-used Babe Ruth bat went for $1.3 million.

Dwyer expects the 1914 Babe Ruth card will break the record set by the 1952 Mickey Mantle card following a substantial increase in interest from seasoned sports card enthusiasts anticipating the acquisition of this particular card. He even stated that they pale in comparison on a rarity scale next to the Babe Ruth.

According to him, rarity and significance of the Babe Ruth Card would attract the attention of a new wave of buyers, as examples come to the market so infrequently.

Babe Ruth memorabilia remain No. 1 choice for fans

Babe Ruth played a pivotal role in initiating a new era in baseball, nearly singlehandedly steering the sport away from the “dead ball” era. He was the player who changed the face of baseball. Instead of singles and doubles, the Great Bambino treated fans to gargantuan home runs that remain the benchmark for power-hitting to this day.

Dwyer mentioned that he was the catalyst behind four Yankees World Series championships as well as three World Series titles for the Red Sox before that.

babe-ruth-card-new-york-yankees
cnbc.com

Moreover, Babe Ruth’s achievement of 60 home runs in 1927 established a groundbreaking standard, transforming him into a larger-than-life figure not just within the realm of baseball but also within the broader landscape of American pop culture.

Dwyer suggested that even today, long home runs are often defined as ‘Ruthian’ and he was famously described in the beloved movie ‘The Sandlot’ as ‘less than a god but more than a man.’ He stated that Babe Ruth continues to be the most iconic figure in American sports history.

Babe Ruth in Action at Yankee Stadium.
thesportsman

How to bid for the 1914 Babe Ruth card?

For those interested in viewing the card firsthand, it will be publicly exhibited at the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum in Baltimore on Wednesday, November 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Subsequent to the public viewing, there will be a private reception co-hosted by Robert Edward Auctions at the museum from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

The Robert Edward Auctions is planning a second exclusive gathering for potential bidders at a private venue in New York City on Wednesday, November 29th.

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