1917 Collins-McCarthy/E135 #147 Babe Ruth (SGC 20/1.5)
Baseball's grandest all-time player, such that he literally stands "above the game itself", will forever be George Herman "Babe Ruth" who truly personifies everything our National Pastime represents. Whether it is the legend of the man himself or his statistical legacy, no other ball player will ever be able to fill his hallowed shoes. Babe's 714 Home Runs and 60 in a single season will always be statistical marks etched in our minds, regardless of these records eventually falling to both Hank Aaron and Bobby Bonds. Considering that he would have also been a HOF pitcher as evidenced by his five-year performance with the Boston Red Sox (including 29 consecutive World Series scoreless innings), it is incomprehensible that any player, past or present, could match Ruth's overall playing excellence.
With regard to collecting his most popular cardboard artifacts, while there are a myriad of Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey's to choose from, pre-1920 baseball cards of the great "Bambino" are extremely scarce and actively sought after by most advanced enthusiasts. His rarest and most valuable pre-Yankee issue is unquestionably the 1914 Baltimore News Minor League card (approximately 10 known specimens) and, from a rarity perspective, his "true" 1916 rookie card does not even fall a close second to the exalted Baltimore News. That distinct honor belongs to his second year 1917 issue that featured Collins McCarthy, Boston Store and Standard Biscuit ad backs. Considered ultra-obscure, these second year Ruth cards seldom surface for the taking, justifying why this magnificent SGC 20/1.5 Collins McCarthy Ruth merits the highest hobby accolades!
Its irrefutable scarcity is substantiated by the COMBINED SGC & PSA "Pop" Charts that list only 20 examples (7-SGC; 13-PSA) with the Collins McCarthy ad back. This is an excessively low count compared to the 1916 Ruth Rookie card that includes over 110 encapsulated copies (SGC & PSA combined). Even after adding in the 1917 Ruth Boston Store (10) and Standard Biscuit (3) counts, the 33 total second-year Ruth population stands as a fraction versus the previous year's 1916 Ruth Rookie issue. Advanced collectors are starting to wisely "catch on" to the undervalued 1917 Babe Ruth issues, with their future investment growth potentially more prosperous than the more common 1916 Ruth subject. This is widely evident by both private and public sales for "Low" to "VG" 1917 Babe Ruth issues ranging in the $65K-$130K range, with this esteemed offering selling less than two years ago for an impressive $90K. That said, we can only ponder as to the current true worth of this museum worthy masterpiece, especially considering how the "Sultan of Swat's" cardboard rarities have soared in value over the past year.
Regarding the legacy of this world-class offering, in 1917 the Collins McCarthy Candy Co. produced a 200-card candy set almost identical to the Boston Store Clothier and Standard Biscuit issues, with the "Babe" once again ranking as the most prominent and valuable card in the set. The Red Sox were coming off of a second consecutive World Series title, with the "Bambino's" pitching exploits now ranking him as one of baseball's premier hurlers and arguably its finest southpaw. With respect to the aesthetics of this revered offering, forget the technical assessment folks because the overall visual quality of the critical obverse side is arguably consistent with a "VG" specimen. Donning his classic Red Sox uniform, a "slim" Babe Ruth has just unleashed another one of his tantalizing pitches as he showcases his immortal pitching motion in a crystal clear and perfectly contrasted black & white pose.
No obtrusive flaws are immediately apparent to the naked eye, with the handful of faint creases/wrinkles situated throughout the image rendered almost negligible (most prominent creases are near the upper right and lower left corners as well as on the upper border). For full disclosure, there is a microscopic-like diagonal scratch barely visible to the naked along Ruth's face with this ultra-diminutive blemish certainly not impeding the eye appeal of this awe-inspiring illustration. A marvelous "crème like" toning creates a super desirable "vintage-luster", with the imposing Ruthian central image one of the most formidable baseball card images extant. In fact, little do collectors realize that the original glass plate negative for this EXACT IMAGE dates back to the Red Sox March 1915 Spring Training at Hot Springs, placing it as a TRUE Babe Ruth Rookie image!
The ultra-wide borders are relatively clean, the somewhat even corner wear depicts an eye pleasing uniformity, and the image favors the left edge. The "Babe" Ruth P.-Boston Red Sox" lower bold black text is completely intact and includes the checklist# "147". While the major driver for the grade is the heavy soiling situated on the verso, you can still vividly see the classic and bold Collins McCarthy advertisement. Overall, you would be hard pressed to find another "Fair" technically assed vintage card portraying the superior quality emanating from this highly coveted Babe Ruth antiquity. If you are a passionate Babe Ruth collector or simply capturing baseball's greatest player's cardboard relics, now is your golden opportunity to attain this remarkable representation of "The Babe" during his early years with the Bo-Sox.
To reiterate, with the total number of professionally graded Collins McCarthy examples (20) standing significantly lower than the 1916 Ruth rookie card (110+ subjects), its sheer paucity level versus the Ruth Rookie is irrefutable. Further adding to its enticing quality is that Ruth is wearing his inaugural Boston Red Sox uniform, dating us back to the time when this "happy-go-lucky" lefthander joined the Major Leagues and was about to embark on an unparalleled career. What a truly incomparable 102-year old memento of baseball's greatest all-time player, seldom offered to the general public and now available in what may be a "once in a lifetime chance". To reiterate, with even low-grade Ruth Rookie cards now fetching in excess of six-figures, we invite you to now capture this super eye pleasing Babe Ruth second-year cardboard icon that should continue realizing pricing upticks synonymous with a roaring tsunami!
MIN BID $25,000