A piece of baseball history is about to make waves in the auction world, captivating collectors and fans alike. Robert Edward Auctions (REA) is set to offer one of only ten known copies of Babe Ruth’s inaugural trading card in its highly-anticipated Fall Catalog Auction, starting today.
This particular card is a 1914 Baltimore News card and is graded SGC 3 (VG). It features a young 19-year-old Ruth during his minor league days with the Baltimore Orioles. What makes it even more significant is its unique back, which showcases the team’s schedule.
The auction of this card holds immense significance. It’s been over a decade since a 1914 Baltimore News Ruth card has been available in the public market, and this specific card is considered the finest example to appear at auction in over fifteen years.
Brian Dwyer, President of REA, emphasizes just how important this card is: “The Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card stands as the pinnacle of baseball cards,” he declares. “It’s not just a rare sports collectible; it’s a piece of Americana that represents the beginning of the Babe Ruth legend, a figure synonymous with the sport of baseball itself.”
According to the SGC Population Report, the condition of this card is top-tier within its class and is outranked only by a single PSA 4 card in the entire collectibles sphere.
This card’s extraordinary journey is as fascinating as the player it portrays. In June 2021, it was acquired by a passionate collector in Florida for a staggering $6 million. The ownership was then shared through fractional ownership on the Collectable platform. However, the collective ownership was dissolved earlier this year in January.
The card’s history can be traced back to a single Baltimore family, where it remained for a century before being sold earlier this decade. From 1998 until earlier this year, it was on public display at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, where fans and collectors had the opportunity to see it firsthand. Prior to the auction, REA is organizing a public viewing of the card alongside a blue variant on November 15, from 2-4 PM. Exclusive private viewings will also be held on the evening of November 15 and later in New York City on November 29.
For those eager to witness this rare artifact in person, REA is offering invitations to these select events upon request.
The Ruth card is expected to steal the spotlight amidst a collection of 4,000 lots during the auction period, which runs from November 17 to December 3. When reflecting on the trajectory of sports memorabilia, it’s impossible not to remember REA’s 2012 sale of a PSA 1 example of the card for over $450,000. Today, this seems insignificant compared to recent record-breaking sales, such as the $12.6 million achieved by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card.
Dwyer perfectly captures the allure of the Ruth card: “This is the dream card, the one that every collector aspires to possess,” he explains. “Its rarity is such that those lucky enough to own one are reluctant to part with it. This auction might be the only opportunity to secure one for many years.”
Undoubtedly, the upcoming auction presents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for collectors. The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card represents not only a valuable collectible but also the genesis of an American sports legend. Its value goes beyond the physical card itself; it embodies the legacy of Babe Ruth and a bygone era of baseball that continues to captivate the imagination of fans and collectors worldwide. The auction of this card is more than a simple transaction; it is a historic event, celebrating the enduring impact of one of the most iconic figures in sports history. With a limited number of examples in existence and the unprecedented heights of the rare sports card market, this auction has the potential to surpass eight figures, setting a new benchmark in the world of sports collectibles.