1929 Star Player Candy #21 Babe Ruth

Sold For: $10,200

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 793

Item Year: 1929

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Graded VG 40 by SGC. Extremely rare candy card of Babe Ruth from one of the few issues dating from the late 1920s. Very little is known about the production of this unusual issue. The manufacturer is not identified, but advanced collectors have always referred to it as the Star Player Candy set. The attribution of this set as "Star Candy" or "Star Player Candy" dates back at least fifty years, even though there is no known evidence of a product by this name in the form of advertising items. In the old days, collectors identified these cards as R317, but sometime during the 1980s that catalog designation was somehow taken over by Uncle Jacks Gum. The sepia-toned cards measure 1-7/8 x 2-7/8 inches, and are printed on thin stock. The player's name is printed below the image without a team designation. Unlike the 1928 Star Player Candy cards (which are blank-backed), the reverse of the 1929 cards have a short biography with the card number in the upper left corner. Ruth's card with text reverse, which is also unique in that it features a completely different pose than the blank-backed examples attributed to 1928, refers to his sixty home runs in one season and notes this record "will probably remain unbroken for some years to come." At this point in time only two players from the 1929 Star Player Candy series are known and have been checklisted in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, #21 Babe Ruth and 32 Lou Gehrig. Based on the card numbers on the back one might assume that the issue was produced with at least thirty-two cards; however, it is very possible that only Ruth and Gehrig were made with text backs. (Note: To date, no Gehrig is known with a blank back. If one were to surface, it would be interesting to note if the pose is different than that on the text-reverse variety, as is the case with Ruth). We are not sure what distinguishes the cards with text backs as a different year from the blank-backed variety, of which seventy-three are checklisted, and suspect that they all may in fact be part of the same series. Collectors have always appreciated this rare and distinctive candy issue, and some have suggested that based on its year of issue, perhaps this set should have always been catalogued an "E" card set. Perfectly bright and clean, both front and back, with a flawless image of Ruth in a swing-thru pose. The card has an overall Excellent appearance, but has been accurately downgraded to Vg for three small creases, including in the upper left and lower right corners, none of which affect the image area. This is an extremely rare Ruth card and the key card from this unusual candy issue. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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