Lot # 4: The Finest 1921 E121 George Ruth “Series of 80” Subject PSA 7 NM (PD) – “Pop 1”; Highest Graded Example on the Combined PSA & SGC “Pop” Charts!

Category: 1900-1920

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 44 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Fall Rarities Auction 2021",
which ran from 9/25/2021 12:00 PM to
10/9/2021 7:00 PM

(LOT 4)
The Finest 1921 E121 George Ruth “Series of 80” Subject PSA 7 NM(PD) “Pop 1”; Highest Graded Example on the Combined PSA & SGC “Pop” Charts!

This “unique for the grade” PSA NM 7 (PD) 1921 E121 “Series of 80” George Ruth just happens to be one of “The Babe’s” most extraordinary cards extant. A bona-fide “Pop 1” on the combined PSA and SGC population reports and synonymous with the “Sultan of Swat’s” unparalleled standing as baseball’s greatest all-time player, it proudly resides as the SOLE and HIGHEST GRADED “George Ruth” example on the planet! Not only is it clearly the “best of the rest”, but it has totally annihilated its peers, with its closest competitor being a handful of PSA and SGC “VG 3” specimens. Indeed, even its “PD” qualifier does not impede its pinnacle “Pop” standing, for as enthusiasts surely realize, a qualifier typically suffices as only a “2 grade” reduction (in a worst-case scenario), still leaving this grand offering two full grades ahead of its closest competitor on ANY census report. Furthermore, its unequivocal rarity places it as one of Ruth’s scarcest type cards, with the combined SGC and PSA “Pop” charts listing only eleven other “George Ruth” copies. Interesting enough, there are some 120+ E121 Ruth subjects with his name listed as Babe, placing any George Ruth issue at a fractional 9% of the total E121 Ruth PSA/SGC population. This stunning keepsake has climbed to the top of the E121 Ruth “Pop” charts in an unbridled fashion, and its 12 meager examples places its paucity level right alongside other Bambino cardboard obscurities such as his 1922 William Patterson, 1922 E122 American Caramel, 1928 Star Player Candy and 1933 Uncle Jacks issues.

In 1921, the American Caramel Company of Lancaster and York Pennsylvania re-ignited the card collecting community via its landmark E121 candy set. With 80 different subjects represented by fine black & white player images, the most prestigious and sought-after player in the 1921 E121 set is Babe Ruth. One of the highly coveted pre-war cards, a PSA 7 recently fetched a record-setting $338K (breaking the previous high of $271K), a “EX/MT 6” has sold for a staggering $116K and a “VG 3.5” specimen has fetched $83K! Interestingly enough, all of these unprecedented sales were for E121 Ruth subjects listing his name as Babe (with or without quotes), and we cannot even imagine the potential pricing point for this exponentially scarcer “George Ruth” issue that just so happens to reside as the finest of its kind. The floodgates have opened for the magnificent 1921 E121 Ruth that was undervalued for an extensive period of time, especially considering it represents a mere fraction of the thousands of existing Ruth Goudeys. The E121 Ruth’s coupled scarcity and imposing Babe Ruth Red Sox pitching image placing it as one of the foremost “Sultan of Swat” cards in our illustrious hobby.  Before the 1920 season, Ruth had been traded from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees with Boston owner Harry Frazee selling Ruth for the hefty price tag of $125,000. True, Frazee loved baseball, but his first passion was producing Broadway hits and he desperately needed money to help fund his new show “No, No Nanette”. History was in the making and in his first season with the Yankees, Ruth crushed his 1919 record of 29 homers by walloping an amazing 54 round-trippers. In the process, unfathomable as it may seem, Ruth belted more dingers than virtually every Major-League team, establishing himself as the greatest player to ever grace a baseball diamond. The “Sultan of Swat” would continue his assault on opposing pitchers the year this renowned E121 Ruth baseball card was issued, belting 59 home runs in the 1921 season. Further gravitating hobbyists towards this magnificent Babe Ruth cardboard marvel is the fact that he is donning an early Red Sox uniform. In fact, this is the EXACT pose affixed to his 1917 Boston Store/Collins-McCarthy issues, and it just happens to suffice as a true 1915 rookie Ruth image, originally taken at the Red Sox 1915 Hot Springs, Arkansas spring training facility.

The stellar Ruthian image reveals “The Babe” delivering a pitch in his Red Sox uniform, emanating fine clarity and a somewhat darker contrast than typical examples. A factory-issued printing anomaly, both sides of the vertical frame include two neighboring dark shadows, with these minor anomalies accounting for the “PD” qualifier. Since several other E121 George Ruth issues likewise include a somewhat darker contrast (although not to the extent of this offering), we can only assume that the printing process for some of the E121 “George Ruth” subjects utilized an extremely robust jet-black ink. Fortunately, the critical Babe Ruth central image has still maintained superb visual appeal, defying a century of time to emanate imposing aesthetics. The bold and vivid text beneath his iconic pose reflects the ultra-scarce “GEORGE RUTH’s” hallowed name and the likewise rare “L.F.- New York Americans” typography (E121 Ruth subjects revealing “Babe” depict “R.F.”, as opposed to the extremely obscure “L.F.”). Most significantly, the quintessential image atypically exhibits near-perfect centering, a near-impossible attribute since a majority of these E121 Ruth subjects reflect skewed images. Other than the aforementioned dark contrast, the only other minor blemish is an extremely faint horizontal white printer line on the right side, extending from the right border to an area directly beneath Ruth’s belt. The final compliments are blistering sharp edges, right-angled corners, and the verso’s relatively clean “AMERICAN CARAMEL - SERIES of 80” ad back. Having recently celebrated its 100th birthday in 2021, this regal-like offering is truly one of Ruth’s most coveted cardboard mementos, especially considering it carries his ultra-rare “George Ruth” name. In lieu of the E121 Ruth’s continuous record setting sales for the more common “Babe” subjects, we cannot even begin to fathom what this iconic “Pop 1”/Highest Graded “George Ruth” variation will fetch, keeping in mind that it has out-distanced all of its inferior peers by at least two-full grades!

MIN BID $25,000

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