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1933 R319 Goudey Uncut Sheet With Three Babe Ruths and Lou Gehrig
Reserve - $25,000. Estimate - (open).
Presented is an exceptional example of what many consider to be the single greatest of all uncut sheets. Universally known as "The Goudey Triple Ruth Sheet," this uncut 1933 Goudey sheet boasts three Babe Ruth cards as well as one Lou Gehrig, and has an enormous significance on many counts. In addition to being an extremely rare Goudey sheet (one of only three examples known) and including three stunning 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth cards (as well as one Lou Gehrig), this sheet explains how the 1933 Goudey set was printed and the mystery of the rarity of the famous 1933 Goudey #106 Lajoie.
Complete and extremely rare 24-card production sheet of 1933 R319 Goudey "Big League" Chewing Gum cards (featuring the twenty-four cards numbered from #144 to #165), highlighted by three Babe Ruth cards (two of the four in the set, #144 appears twice and #149) and one of the two Lou Gehrig cards (#160). Any uncut 1933 Goudey sheet would be a highlight in even the most advanced collection, but a sheet with three Babe Ruth cards (in addition to Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx) has a universal appeal, and can be easily appreciated as a museum-caliber display piece by any card collector or noncollector. Fewer than one hundred Goudey sheets from all baseball series are known to exist and only a small number of these include even one Babe Ruth. In addition to three Babe Ruths and Lou Gehrig, this sheet also includes an additional four Hall of Famers: #147 Leo Durocher, 154 Jimmy Foxx, 164 Lloyd Waner, and 165 Joe Sewell. This sheet is especially significant in that the duplication of the full-length batting-pose card of Babe Ruth on the sheet is directly related to the great rarity of the famous #106 Lajoie in the 1933 Goudey set. The 1933 Goudey set of 240 cards was printed on ten 24-card sheets. The #106 Lajoie, of course, was left out of the 1933 printing. The #106 Lajoie card was not actually printed until 1934 when Goudey specially designed and printed the card to satisfy the demand of those loyal customers who wrote to complain that they could not complete their sets. Those who wrote received a Lajoie card directly from Goudey by mail. If the 1933 Goudey set was printed on ten sheets of 24-cards and there was no #106 Lajoie in this printing, then one card must have been double-printed. It was! This sheet shows that one card - the full-length batting pose card of Ruth - was in fact double-printed.
The 1933 Goudey set is the first of all modern gum-card issues and the most important of all Goudey issues. Uncut sheets of Goudey cards are extremely rare and among the most popular and sought-after of all baseball-card sheets. Few types of uncut sheets are held in higher esteem, are more meaningful to more collectors, or are more ideal for display. Goudey sheets have always been considered the blue-chip staple of vintage uncut sheets, the standard against which the desirability and rarity of all other vintage uncut sheets are compared. All Goudey sheets originate from two sources: the files of Goudey (most but not all of which surfaced in the collecting world in 1969) and the William Gardiner Collection (Gardiner lived near the Goudey offices as a youngster and was able to obtain uncut sheets directly from Goudey for his personal collection which he kept in virtually perfect condition until selling his collection of approximately thirty-five sheets, including two "Triple Ruth" sheets, in the 1970s). The offered sheet originates directly from the files of Goudey as evidenced by the presence of a thin brown tape stain along the left edge. Most Goudey file sheets have tape along their edges from being mounted into a large sample book. They will also often display glue remnants on their reverses or proofing-related imperfections. Aside from the previously mentioned tape stain on the left edge, the offered sheet is free of any proofing check marks, erasures, or any other imperfections which are usually found on Goudey file sheets. Many of the Goudey file sheets have undergone restoration over the years, in some cases very minor. The offered sheet shows trace evidence of tape removal horizontally in the right half of the top and bottom rows, extending approximately six inches from the right border inward and present on the Gehrig and #149 Ruth cards. This is visible only under close inspection. Otherwise, the sheet remains exactly as it did when it was saved in Goudey's archives more than eighty years ago and shares almost all the characteristics of a sheet originating from the collection of William Gardiner.
The sheet is spectacularly bright and clean, with incredibly bold and vibrant colors, and a stunning overall appearance. Technically, the sheet is in less than Excellent to Mint condition due to the light, but unobtrusive, tape stain on the left edge; aside from this, there is some light wear to the four corners but due to its size this has no impact on its extremely impressive display value and otherwise overall strong Excellent to Mint appearance. The sheet is perfectly flat. The reverse of the sheet is fully printed, and is perfectly bright and clean. There is light toning along the right edge, affecting the right borders, and faint evidence of tape removal as outlined earlier. The "Triple Ruth" sheet and the 1934 Goudey sheet with #106 Lajoie are without question the most important and most desirable of all Goudey sheets. Robert Edward Auctions had the privilege of offering the finest-known "Triple Ruth Sheet" in existence as Lot #5 in the 2010 Spring Auction, where it realized $117,500. That example, which originated from William Gardiner, was absolutely breathtaking, sharing almost all characteristics with the offered sheet. Both of these miracle sheets have changed hands only a few times since being gifted to William Gardiner as a youngster in 1933, and since the files of Goudey were discovered and sold to collectors in 1969, respectively. While it may have little bearing on the value of the sheet, it is hard not to appreciate that a PSA 10 Ruth is a six-figure card, and the interior card of Ruth on this sheet is essentially an absolutely perfect, flawless example, and possibly the very best in the world (though perhaps, ironically, not currently valued in the same manner as a Mint card simply because it is in the center of an uncut sheet). While value is subjective, it is undisputed that this is one of the greatest of all uncut Goudey sheets, one of the few "Triple Ruth" sheet in existence, and one of the great treasures in the entire world of card collecting.
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