1916 M101-4 Indianapolis Brewing Co. #151 Babe Ruth Rookie (1:1)

Sold For: $168,000

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 945

Item Year: 1916

Category: Teens to 1920s cards

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Graded GOOD 2 by PSA. Indianapolis Brewing is an exceedingly rare back for any M101-4, let alone for Babe Ruth's rookie card! This card is a "1 of 1" graded by PSA with no other examples with Indianapolis Brewing advertising on reverse graded at any level by PSA. It is the first and only example of this extremely rare M101-4 variety of #151 Babe Ruth that we have ever seen. This card (and set) is usually referred to as issued by The Sporting News, but the M101-4 set was actually issued with a variety of advertising backs as well as with blank backs. This particular example is an extremely rare M101-4 variety of Babe Ruth's rookie card, featuring advertising for "Indianapolis Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, Indiana." on the reverse. To put the rarity of this particular advertising back in perspective, in the entire history of PSA, they have graded a total of only twenty-four M101-4/5 examples with Indianapolis Brewing Company advertising backs. Indianapolis Brewing are very similar to M101-4 and M101-5 Sporting News. The M101-4/5 sets were also issued as promotional vehicles for a number of regional businesses, among them the Indianapolis Brewing Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana. While all of the M101-4 related issues have the same fronts, a variety of different regional advertisers can be found on their reverses (Globe, Gimbels, Weil Baking, etc.) in addition to the more common The Sporting News and blank-backed cards. Exactly how this set was issued by Indianapolis Brewing is unknown, but it is likely that the cards were distributed from a single location, thus accounting for their great rarity today. Like most of the regionally issued M101-4/5 sets, we have never seen or heard of a complete set of Indianapolis Brewing. This is a very distinctive example of Babe Ruth's rookie card, universally regarded as one of the most significant cards in all of card collecting. It would be hard for a piece of cardboard to better symbolize the history, the essence of American sport, then this 1916 rookie card of Babe Ruth. Ruth had only pitched in four games with Boston in 1915 but fortunately impressed the card manufacturer enough to warrant inclusion in this major issue. This is an outstanding and extremely attractive example in all respects. Indianapolis Brewing cards (like all M101-4/5 related sets) have a glossy coated surface which is very susceptible to creasing. This card has a single horizontal crease across his knees. The front is bright and clean. The image is bold and crisp with no commonly seen print lines, and centered to the left. The corners display even wear. The printed advertisement for Indianapolis Brewing on the reverse is bold and crisp. There is a small surface abrasion on the back, likely from album removal, of no consequence, and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy. This is an extremely attractive example of one of the most significant and highly prized of all baseball cards.
Reserve $10,000. Estimate $20,000++.

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