1916 M101-4 Sporting News #151 Babe Ruth Rookie PSA NM 7

Sold For: $82,250

Auction Year: 2007 spring

Lot: 350

Item Year: 1916

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Graded NM 7 by PSA. This is the highest-graded example to date of one of collecting's most important cards: the Babe Ruth rookie. Presented is a stunning ultra high-grade example of this significant rarity. The image presented by this card, which features an extremely trim Babe Ruth as a pitcher for the Red Sox years before he became the game's greatest slugger, is instantly recognizable as one of card collecting's most famous. The M101-4 Sporting News of Babe Ruth has traditionally not been considered to be Ruth's rookie card but, rather, his second card issued as a Major Leaguer. We believe that far too great a distinction has been made in years past, based on erroneous dating information, between whether the M101-5 or the M101-4 of Ruth is his Major League rookie card. (Note: The Baltimore News card of Ruth in the minors, issued in 1914, is indisputably Ruth's first baseball card.) In years past, it was believed that M101-5 was issued in 1915, and M101-4 was issued in 1916. Recent research regarding the exact date of issue of the M101-4 and M101-5 sets confirms with certainty that both sets were actually issued in 1916. For decades, collectors have been mistaken about the nature of and the year of issue of M101-5. Though the precise day and month of each printing is unknown, this recent research confirms that the M101-4 set was printed within weeks of the M101-5 set, and that both "sets" are really just different printings of the very same issue, with card number changes, a few player changes, and updated information on some cards reflecting the new teams of players that were traded early in 1916 (and which in part allow the new and more accurate dating of these issues). Whatever is the exact date of release of each printing, the fact that both date from 1916 gives, in our opinion, greater merit to defining both the M101-4 and M101-5 Babe Ruth cards as Ruth rookie cards, rather than making any distinction between the two. Both the M101-5 and M101-4 printings were issued with blank backs and with a variety of printed advertisements on the reverse. Blank-backed M101-4 Babe Ruth cards have always been accepted as being M101-5 Ruth rookies, because they are indistinguishable from blank-backed M101-5s, just as is this example from the front. This example is identified by PSA as an M101-4 simply because it was part of a set of an original M101-4 set. Graded separately from the set, there is absolutely no way distinguish an M101-4 and M101-5 Ruth rookie card. The rookie card of Babe Ruth is one of the pinnacles in all of card collecting. This is a world-class solid Near Mint example, with only the slightest hint of wear to the very tips of the corners visible under high-powered magnification. If this card were in a NM-MT 8 holder, we wouldn't bat an eye. It looks like a NM-MT 8. Both the front and back surfaces are perfectly crisp, clean, and free of defects. The image of Ruth is dark and sharp. Also of great significance, this card is entirely free of printing imperfections. For some reason the Ruth card is often plagued by a serious horizontal printing line relating to the manufacturing process. This example is ideal in that it is completely free of this printing defect. The card is very well centered, just a touch to the right, and perfectly centered top to bottom. This is a simply phenomenal and very conservatively graded ultra high-grade example of one of the hobby’s most important cards, the Babe Ruth rookie card. Near Mint condition. SMR value is $32,500. Reserve $10,000. Estimate Open. SOLD FOR $82,250.00

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