A 109-year-old Babe Ruth card fetched $7.2 million at an online auction on November 17, 2023. This is the most paid for an item belonging to the famed player and the third-highest price for a baseball card ever. However, it was far less than the over $10 million estimated by New Jersey-based Robert Edward Auctions (REA).
The collectible measures about 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) by 3.6 inches (9.2 cm). It was created in 1914 by The Baltimore News. The front features a 19-year-old Ruth, who was then with the Baltimore Orioles in the International League. The reverse side displays the team's home and away game schedule. Notably, this card was made during the season when Ruth joined the Boston Red Sox. The skilled pitcher and outfielder eventually rose to become one of the most exceptional players in baseball history.
While the newspaper originally handed out numerous cards, only ten are still in existence. The most recently auctioned card was once owned by Archibald Davis. The Baltimore, Maryland, resident had received the card from the newspaper when he was 16 years old. It was part of a collection of 15 cards he had passed on to his family. Prior to the sale, the 1914 card had been on public display at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore.
"Simply put, The Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card is the most significant baseball card ever produced," said REA president Brian Dwyer. "This card is the genesis of Babe Ruth, a man who transcends the game of baseball. This card is not only one of the most elusive pieces of sports memorabilia, it's one of the rarest collectibles in American history."
Resources: Robertedwardauctions.com, nbcnewyork.com, thebaltimorebanner.com