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1961 Babe Ruth Fleer Advertising Display
Starting Bid - $200.00 , Sold For - $822.50
This incredibly rare double-sided advertising display was issued by Fleer in the summer of 1961 in promotion of its baseball card issue. One side pictures a large colorized portrait image of Babe Ruth while the other features an illustration of the "Double Bubble Gum" package above a caption that reads "More Profit Per Linear Foot With [Double Bubble Gum]." The cardboard display (16 x 24 inches) has a small hole punched along the top border and was obviously meant to hang from the ceiling, where both sides could be viewed. What is most interesting about this piece is the fact that while the design of the Ruth side of the display is identical to the company's card issue that year, the image of Ruth is actually different from that featured on his card (#75). Also significant is the caption next to Ruth, which reads "a record to beat *..." A corresponding asterisk along the bottom border prefaces the printed notation "60 Home Runs in 154 Games." That asterisk was a clear reference to the raging controversy that season regarding Roger Maris' pursuit of Babe Ruth's hallowed single-season home-run record. As Maris approached Ruth's record, Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick (a former close friend of Ruth) ruled that for the record to be valid, Maris would have to accomplish the feat in 154 games, the same number that Ruth did in 1927 (the regular season was expanded to 162 games in 1961). He further stated that if a new record was set after 154 games it would be entered with an asterisk next to it (despite the ruling, no asterisk ever appeared alongside Maris' name in connection with the record). Obviously, this display was issued in midseason and the controversy over Frick's ruling is the primary reason Ruth is featured on the poster. It was sure to garner the attention of any fan. This display is one of the great rarities in the hobby and although we cannot state that this is the only surviving example, we have never seen another. (Well, the only other example we ever saw, offered at auction years ago, turned out to be this very one.) The advertising display has three horizontal folds, as well as a few minor creases, and some insignificant scattered light staining on the bubble-gum advertising side. Very Good condition overall. This is a very interesting, substantial, and significant rarity that has received no attention from collectors strictly because of its extreme rarity. We like this piece a lot on many levels: as a Ruth item, as an item relating to Maris' pursuit of Ruth's sacred home-run record, and as an extremely rare and well made Fleer baseball-card store advertising display piece. If you want this and don't win it, don't complain to us later that we didn't tell you this was rare! Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $822.50
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