Historic Auction: Rare Babe Ruth Baseball Card Fetches $7.2 Million, Becomes Most Valuable Ruth Collectible

A Record-Breaking Auction

In a historic auction, an exceptionally rare baseball card featuring a 19-year-old Babe Ruth has fetched an astounding $7.2 million, securing its place as the most expensive Ruth collectible to date.

This remarkable sum places it as the third-highest in trading card history, trailing only the famed 1952 Mickey Mantle ($12.6m) and the 1909 Honus Wagner ($7.25m).

The Origins of a Rarity

Printed by the Baltimore News in 1914 when Babe Ruth was still a local phenomenon playing for his hometown Orioles, this card stands as a unique relic of baseball history.

At that time, Ruth was part of a minor league team unrelated to the current Major League club sharing the same name.

Limited Surviving Copies

With only ten surviving copies known to exist, the card’s existence remained unknown to the public until the 1980s.

Robert Edward Auctions, which handled the sale, initially estimated a potential value of up to $10 million for this extraordinary piece of sports memorabilia.

Rising Value Over Time

Since its discovery, the card’s value has skyrocketed, experiencing significant price jumps from $6,600 in the 1980s to nearly $80,000 in 1999.

The recent auction marks a new pinnacle in its valuation.

Card Details and Rarity

Described as the highest-graded example on the SGC Population Report and the second-highest-graded in the hobby, the card features a red-and-white image of Ruth framed by a red border, measuring approximately 2-5/8 x 3-5/8 inches. The reverse side holds schedules for the Baltimore team during its 1914 campaign.

Significance in Comparison to Wagner

In comparing Ruth’s 1914 rookie card to the renowned 1909 Honus Wagner, Brian Dwyer, president of Robert Edward Auctions, emphasizes Ruth’s modern recognition and transcendent impact on the sport and American culture.

This particular card is noted as the second-finest confirmed example and the highest graded to appear at public auction in over fifteen years.

Historical Context and Ironic Value

The significance of Ruth’s rookie card is juxtaposed with the irony that, at the time it was printed, Babe Ruth was reportedly earning $100 a month.

The soaring auction price reflects the evolution of Ruth’s legacy from a local pitching-hitting sensation to a national icon embodying the spirit of the 1920s in the United States.

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