LOT 1 - c.1915 Babe Ruth Rookie-Era Postcard with an Original Ruth Photographic Image SGC 4 VG EX

One of Only Two Known Examples!

Presented here is one of the most extraordinary cardboard marvels extant, an SGC 4 VG-EX circa 1915 Babe Ruth real photo rookie-era postcard, joining one other example as the only two known examples on the planet! Ruth collectibles from his early Beantown years are among the most coveted and valuable keepsakes in the hobby, as justified by several of his 1916 rookie cards fetching in excess of $2 million and a Type 1 1915 photo realizing $480K. That said, considering there are 100+ Ruth 1916 M101 rookies to choose from, this miraculous rookie-era offering just might qualify as one of Ruth's most fascinating and premier investment cards extant, bolstered by its one-of-a-kind Babe Ruth pitching pose at Boston's legendary Hot Springs, Arkansas spring training camp. While we cannot pinpoint the exact 1915 or 1916 season, what we know for sure is that Ruth's Red Sox uniform and striped socks were certainly worn by Boston players during that era.

c.1915 Babe Ruth Rookie-Era Postcard with an Original Ruth Photographic Image SGC 4 VG EX

The unknown photographer who took this Ruth image at Hot Springs, Arkansas also snapped photos of other Red Sox players, including Hick Cady, whose five prominent MLB campaigns with Boston were from 1912–1916 (he was traded in early 1917 after playing 78 games in each of the 1915 and 1916 seasons).

Furthermore, several hobby experts, including PSA's photo expert, have viewed a vast number of Babe Ruth images from his earliest BoSox seasons, with most agreeing that this postcard's Ruth illustration reveals a striking resemblance to the Babe's earliest facial features at the tender age of 20 or 21, seen on numerous Ruth Type 1 photos as well as his 1915 Red Sox team postcard.

Indeed, this amazing Babe Ruth POP 2 offering most likely stands as his rarest rookie-era card, authenticated as circa 1915 by SGC, and as an added epic attribute, PSA's Photo Authentication Services has also confirmed that the image is an actual Type 1 photograph, developed in a dark room on period 1910s matt-finish silver photographic paper directly off of the original glass plate negative. This specialized process is unlike most postcards that include a simple "printed" image directly off of the printing press.

Technically speaking, this is certainly a Type 1 Babe Ruth postcard; however, due to PSA's strict photo authentication guidelines, no original image with an imprinted postcard backing can be encapsulated as a Type 1 illustration (similar to other vintage real photo postcards). Regardless, the old cliché "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely applies to this unfathomable heirloom, for it broaches many collecting avenues, with its "original image" status likely to prompt sophisticated photo enthusiasts to also crave this Bambino rarity.

The overall mystique of the Sultan of Swat still remains unprecedented at a global level, for it was Babe's lifetime achievements and eloquence both on and off the baseball diamond that will echo for eternity. His stature among hobbyists is supreme, and as is the case with virtually every desirable player, his earliest known artifacts are highly coveted by collectors.

Long before Ruth tested the dimensions of a baseball diamond at an alarming rate in Yankee pinstripes, he was winning a myriad of games from the pitching rubber with the Boston Red Sox and was widely regarded as the finest southpaw of his time. Interestingly enough, it would be Jack Dunn's financially related issues that would eventually lead to Ruth being sold to the Boston Red Sox on July 4, 1915 along with Ernie Shore and Ben Egan.

The Baltimore Orioles International League owner, Dunn, simply could not compete with the new Federal League Baltimore Terrapins club; attendance dropped, and Dunn was forced to sell off his premier players. History was now in the making with the iconic Babe Ruth now set to etch his unequivocal mark in baseball history. Seven days later, Ruth would take the mound at Boston's Fenway Park in his first MLB appearance (July 11, 1914), pitching seven innings and besting the Cleveland Naps by a 4-3 score. Ruth would appear in four more games before being sent down to the minor leagues to finish the season with Boston's Class AA Providence Grays.

Impressed with his rapid development, the Red Sox would summon Ruth to their 1915 Hot Springs, Arkansas spring training facility in March 1915, whereby his pitching and batting prowess literally tied their hands in keeping Ruth with the big club. The dynamic Babe would not disappoint Boston's management, winning 18 games and posting a stellar 2.44 ERA during his first full 1915 campaign, with the Red Sox winning the 1915 World Series.

Babe Ruth with Boston Red Sox teammates

Due to Ruth having earned the distinction of being Jack Dunn's "baby", he would forever take on the nickname of "Babe", with the outstanding southpaw's five full seasons in Boston producing a stellar 89 wins to the tune of a sub 2.30 ERA. Ruth's pitching brilliance led the Red Sox to three world championships during his Beantown tenure (1915, 1916 & 1918), with the dominating left-hander setting a World Series record of tallying 29-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings (since then broken by Whitey Ford in the early 1960s). Further enhancing the uncontested desirability of this Cooperstown-worthy postcard is its breathtaking and unique Babe Ruth ball-and-glove-in-hands pitching pose not seen on any other card or photo. Of even greater importance, because it was made off of the original negative, the crystal-clear clarity of this image is unmatched, far superior to the other Babe Ruth rookie-era cardboard issues such as his 1916 M101 or 1914 Baltimore News subjects manufactured from a standard printing press.

c.1915 Babe Ruth Rookie-Era Postcard with an Original Ruth Photographic Image SGC 4 VG EX

Imagine owning a rookie-era "real photo" postcard with Ruth residing as the sole player on the image. The popular 1915 Red Sox team postcards reveal Babe with his several dozen teammates, thus sharing the limelight with the entire Boston club. The captivating sepia-toned image has eluded any notable flaws as a young Ruth prepares to unleash another one of his legendary pitches at Hot Springs, Arkansas. For full disclosure, the only negligible blemish worthy of mention is a diminutive soiling spot near the lower edge, far distant from the critical Ruth pitching pose. The virtually perfect side-to-side centering is only slightly compromised by the image favoring the lower edge between four relatively clean borders. Even corner wear is consistent with the grade, some spotted toning is evident along the upper borders, and the unmarked postcard verso that was added to the silver photographic paper via a standard printing press is relatively clean. When you carefully consider the faith-driven stepping stones resulting in Ruth's ultimate rise to Major League stardom, it justifies why his rookie-era Boston Red Sox relics fetch staggering price tags.

His larger-than-life stature among hobbyists stands second to none, and the previously mentioned prices for Ruth's early Boston collectibles more than substantiate the infinite potential value for this jaw-dropping Babe Ruth rarity boasting a paucity level and spine-tingling aura second to none. Little did Ruth and his ardent fan base realize that when this iconic image was taken, the Babe was about to embark on an unparalleled career that will forever stand as our National Pastime's ultimate benchmark. Considering the abundant six to seven-figure price tags associated with his more common 1916 rookie card, we will defer to you to ultimately determine the true value for this immensely scarcer POP 2 rookie-era Type 1 photo postcard. Worthy of the highest hobby accolades, it effectively turns back the clock to an era when the Babe was just getting his feet wet for what would eventually lead to his incomparable stature as the finest player to ever play the game!

MIN BID $50,000