1926 Sports Company of America Babe Ruth

Sold For: $840

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 987

Item Year: 1926

Category: Teens to 1920s cards

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Very attractive example of the key card from this 1920s set issued by the Spalding Sporting Goods Company. In our opinion, these are the most classic cards of the 1920s. They are beautifully and elegantly designed, and magnificently produced. They are also very rare, which is particularly interesting because the market has absolutely not recognized the rarity of these cards, and this is reflected in current price-guide levels. There have been only two major "finds" of pristine examples of these cards over the years. Both have been handled by Robert Edward Auctions, so we have some extra insight into this set. In 1990 we turned up a find of about 400 uncirculated cards, and in 1996 we auctioned a find of 798 uncirculated cards. The cards from both finds had been saved in a virtually perfect state. (The owner of the 798-card find had been given the cards by a store owner as a child in 1926. He kept them undisturbed for the next seventy years. In 1996 he realized they were extremely valuable and consigned them to REA.) Whenever there is a "find," especially when there is a substantial quantity of high-grade cards from a rare set, there is naturally uncertainty about how many have been found. With Spalding cards, there have been two significant finds. But these two finds combined represent a total of only about 1,200 cards from this 200-card set. Included were approximately sixty Babe Ruths, far more than suggested statistically by the quantities found. This is because Spalding printed more cards of Babe Ruth than the other subjects in the set. Aside from these two finds, only a random smattering of cards in various conditions have survived here and there, usually not in high grade, as well as one uncut sheet (REA March 2001, Lot #189). As the years have gone by, the Ruth cards have disappeared into collections. It's not hard to see why: this is the single best Babe Ruth card from a standard set from the 1920s, a decade in which Ruth peaked as a player, but with very few quality card issues. The offered example has been graded Authentic by SGC due to uneven trims to the right, left, and top edges. Otherwise presenting as Vg-Ex, this card is bright and crisp, with light corner wear, excellent centering, a single crease visible mainly from the reverse, and flawless picture quality and contrast. Text-style reverse. 1926 copyright. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).

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