September 29, 2016
Exceedingly rare promotional postcard issued in 1922 for "Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball Ice Cream." Graded VG 40 by SGC. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of only two surviving examples of this post card, making it one of the most elusive of all Babe Ruth promotional pieces. In terms of its visual appeal, it could not be any finer. The front pictures two separate photos of Ruth in uniform as a member of the New York Yankees. The first pictures him holding two of his "Home Run Baseball Ice Creams," with the text below reading "Chocolate Coated Baseball - Wha' da' ya' know 'bout that?" The second image pictures him eating one of the ice creams, as he tells fans 'Oh Boy!!! It's a Home Run! 'Babe' Ruth." The reverse of the postcard, which has not been addressed or mailed, features the company's blue logo. A "Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball," which cost ten cents, was simply a ball of either chocolate or vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate. The only other Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball ice cream item we have ever seen, aside from the two postcards, was a single wrapper that featured the same blue logo displayed on the reverse of this card. Incredibly, our consignor discovered this particular postcard pressed between the pages of a large dictionary he purchased at a yard sale in the mid 1990s. It has remained in his possession since that time and is therefore new to the hobby. The postcard (5.5 x 3.5 inches) displays a slight vertical crease extending from the top border and touching upon Ruth's face (second image of Ruth eating the ice cream). The crease, which is easier seen on the reverse than the front, is quite unobtrusive and the card presents at a much higher level than that suggested by its technically accurate grade.
The reason for the rarity of material relating to Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball Ice Cream is that the company that produced it, the Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., was short-lived. In all our research, we have only found three references to the company, all dating from 1922. The first is from an entry found online in the November 1922 issue of the Creamery and Milk Plant Monthly that reads "Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., El Paso, Tex. - The Babe Ruth booth received much attention and at the same time was assured by all ice cream manufacturers who attended that they are well pleased with the proposition. A number of contracts throughout the country were closed. The wonderful sale medium that the premium department would give the local manufacturer met with great favor." The second reference we found appears on the interior front cover of the May 1922 issue of the Ice Cream Review. In the advertisement, the company reveals the "wonderful sales medium" alluded to in the aforementioned entry: "A 'Babe Ruth' Autographed Regulation League Base Ball Free." As explained in the advertisement, the Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., was basically selling franchises: "There is no big expense connected with making chocolate coated ice cream baseballs, no extensive equipment needed. We furnish everything - molds, wrappers, Babe Ruth Base Balls, and all other necessary details." One of the selling points of the ice cream was the redemption of wrappers for a Babe Ruth signed baseball: "Our premium proposition will make big money for you. It is the thing that has made big money for others and the drawing power of a 'Babe Ruth' autographed base ball has proved a winner in many leading cities." The third and final reference appears in the September 30, 1922 issue of the El Paso Herald newspaper, where an article reports that the Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., was expanding its operations and planning on offering stock in the company. Despite the optimistic outlook for the company as reported by the El Paso Herald, the company seems to have vanished without a trace shortly after, leaving behind only this postcard and a wrapper as tangible proof of its existence.