1914 "Baltimore News" Babe Ruth Rookie Card

Sold For: $150,800

Auction Year: 2006 spring

Lot: 7

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Graded PR-FR 1 by PSA. Presented is a previously unknown example of the card many consider to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world has been discovered: the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card, featuring Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. To the best of our knowledge, only nine 1914 Baltimore Ruths are known to date, including the one owned by the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. The Babe Ruth rookie card is part of a 1914 set issued in Baltimore featuring stars of the city's two professional baseball teams, the Terrapins of the Federal League and the Orioles of the International League. Cards were issued in red-and-white and blue-and-white. The newly discovered card is the red-and-white variety. The reverse features the "At Home" and "Abroad" schedules of the Orioles team beneath the headline "Compliments of the Baltimore International League." Cards from this set were also issued with "Read the Baltimore News" printed at the top of the reverse. This card has been passed down for three generations in the Baltimore-area family of its original owner. Just recently, the family has investigated the value of this family heirloom. What they found was shocking to them. Last year Robert Edward Auctions offered the first-ever PSA-graded example of the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth with a minimum bid of $10,000. The card sold for an astounding $243,000 in Vg-Ex condition, instantly catapulting the Babe Ruth rookie to being the second most valuable card in the world, trailing only the T206 Honus Wagner. In light of its extraordinary value, the family has decided to sell the card. Condition: This is a very pleasing low-grade example. The card had numerous creases, primarily in the lower portion of the card, and corner wear, but is still a very striking card with tremendous eye-appeal. The technically low grade will keep the price down, of course, but also makes the card an even more significant collecting opportunity for many since collectors appreciate the hobby's most important cards in all grades. In fact, in recent years it has become routine for T206 Wagners graded PSA 1 to sell for a minimum of $100,000. There are approximately sixty T206 Honus Wagners known to exist compared with only nine 1914 Babe Ruth rookie cards. Robert Edward Auctions' president Robert Lifson has long picked the 1914 Baltimore News of Ruth as the greatest baseball card of all time, and has for many years expressed the opinion that the 1914 Ruth may someday exceed the value of the T206 Wagner to become the most valuable card in the world. That trend has been in motion for years, even as both cards have escalated in value over the years. The first 1914 Baltimore Ruth to ever appear at auction (the card was previously unknown) sold in the late 1980s for $6,600 to legendary collector Jim Copeland. That card was sold with the rest of his collection at the famous Copeland auction in 1991, where it realized $18,700. Barry Halper's example sold at the famous Barry Halper auction in 1999 for $79,500. The Robert Edward Auctions' sale at $243,000 in 2005 more than tripled that record. Because of its far greater rarity, the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie is a card that hits the market with far less frequency than the T206 Wagner. Though this is the second example to be offered by Robert Edward Auctions in as many years, it may be many years before we see another example of this collecting icon at auction. There are very few cards which transcend the world of card collecting and whose great significance can so easily be appreciated by collectors and non-collectors alike. The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card is one of the few, and its great significance and rarity defines it as one of the collecting world's greatest treasures. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $150,800.00

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