Spectacular 1916 M101-5 #151 Babe Ruth Rookie Card – Blank Back (SGC 5.5 EX+) – "POP 3" – Highest SGC Graded M101-5 Ruth Blank Back Example!
Memory Lane has once again been afforded the utmost privilege of offering an outstanding Babe Ruth rookie card to the collecting community. The past three MLI auctions have realized sales of a captivating Ruth rookie card, culminating with a $1.5 million record sale for a PSA 6 M101-4 Sporting News example in our July 2021 summer event. Since then, a PSA 7 NM specimen fetched a staggering $2.4 million in the Fall of 2021, a clear sign that the hallowed Babe Ruth M101 inaugural card knows no bounds with regards to its infinite-like investment potential. This outstanding SGC 5.5 EX+ M101-5 Blank Back Babe Ruth "POP 3" offering just happens to be the highest graded SGC M101-5 Blank Back Ruth, and one of only 14 total SGC encapsulated examples. For full disclosure, PSA does not list a single M101-5 Blank back Ruth at the stellar 5.5 tier, with less than ten specimens reflecting a higher technical assessment. The lineage for the true M101 Ruth rookie card can be traced back to 1916 when various manufacturers utilized a classic Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox image to help advertise their brand.
As a Red Sox rookie in 1915, Ruth posted an impressive 18 wins and miniscule 2.44 E.R.A., more than substantiating his place in the exalted M101-5 set. It is generally assumed by many hobby enthusiasts that the M101-5 "Blank-Back" subject (no advertisement issued on the backside) was one of the inaugural 1916 issued Ruth rookie cards along with other M101-5 ad-back issues such as Famous & Barr, Holmes to Homes, Standard Biscuit, Successful Farming and Morehouse Baking, with M101-4 issues released later that same 1916 calendar year. It unequivocally stands alongside the T206 Wagner and Baltimore News Ruth as one of the three most highly coveted pre-war baseball cards on the planet, and while it is experiencing soaring prices, it still may be the most undervalued card in the hobby versus its aforementioned peers. The illustrious card hobby continues to produce record setting prices on a seemingly daily basis for its finest rookie card/iconic issues, with the historic sales for an SGC 3 T206 Honus Wagner ($6.6 million), SGC 3 Baltimore News Ruth ($6.0 million); PSA Mint 9 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle ($5.2 million); BGS 9 LeBron James 2003-'04 Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs ($5.2 million); 1933 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth ($4.2 million); and BGS 9 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph 1/1 ($3.9 million) some of the incredible pricing points paving the way. The previously mentioned "6 EX-MT" ($1.5 million) and "7 Near-Mint" ($2.4 million) Ruth rookie sales truly substantiate that the "Babe" resides near the top of this escalating market.
We are now seeing an abundance of "modern sports stars" fetch $1 million+ prices, and considering Babe Ruth unquestionably stands as the most renowned all-time sports figure (with all due respect to Jordan & Brady), we can only begin to speculate the "lost ground" the hallowed 1916 Ruth Rookie needs to make up versus these modern card values. Safe to say, staggering price tags for the "Sultan of Swat's" rookie card is now a forgone conclusion, with its rising value steamrolling ahead with tsunami like force. True, the T206 Honus Wagner is the hobby's "Holy Grail", but it certainly appears that the 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card is finally making a relentless move towards competing with the sanctified Wagner keepsake. Consider that while the Ruth rookie "pop" only represents roughly "double" the number of T206 Wagner's, its pricing points don't even remotely reflect a proportional comparison versus the "2 to 1" ratio. A simple example of this analogy is an SGC 3 Wagner fetching $6.6 million while Ruth Rookie "3 VG's" most likely fall in the $400-$500K range. Is a T206 Wagner truly worth roughly 13 times more than Babe Ruth's inaugural MLB card with only a "2 to 1" population gap bewteen the two cards? The answer is "NO", and although the Ruth rookie is finally achieving its due recognition, we cannot even begin to estimate the unlimited height of its still budding value.
This museum worthy masterpiece is highlighted by an awe-inspiring "Ruthian" pitching image that reveals a "slim" Bambino, with the sanctified illustration somewhat favoring the left edge (approximately 40/60 to 35/65 "left to right"). The extraordinary rookie-era image would be taken long before Ruth would indulge himself with excessive hot dogs and beer that expanded his waistline at an exponential rate. Even corner wear consistent with the EX+ assessment depicts a visually appealing uniformity, with the standard faint horizontal print line affixed directly beneath Ruth's belt and extending to the right border. The near-perfect contrast and crystal-clear clarity are joined by relatively clean surfaces, with no obtrusive blemishes evident on either side. No doubt, the technical assessment is consistent with both the aesthetics and technical attributes of this time-defying memento. As is the case for most Ruth rookie cards, it is his breathtaking pitching pose that "steals the show", literally turning back the clock to when the "Babe" was dominating his opposition from the pitching rubber at a level placing him as baseball's finest southpaw of that by-gone era.
The cornerstone of virtually any cardboard gathering, no elite collection could possibly be considered complete without an aesthetically brilliant 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card. Unquestionably, an M101-5 rookie subject of the "Babe" stands as one of the ultimate collectibles, comparable even to a T206 Wagner as it relates to hobby significance. Ruth would have surely been a Hall of Fame hurler had he not jumped from the pitching rubber to the batter's box, where he eventually left an indelible mark on the game itself via his colossal round-trippers. His iconic pitching image serves as a sheer reminder that this standout southpaw won 94 games to the tune of a microscopic-like 2.28 E.R.A., while previously owning the record of twirling 29-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series. His unfathomable batting feats obviously need no introduction, and virtually every sophisticated collector relentlessly pursues a super eye pleasing M101-5 Ruth rookie card, with this magnificent 5.5 EX+ marvel surely answering the bell. As previously mentioned, synonymous with Ruth's tape measure home runs, price tags for his M101 Rookie card are now climbing the ladder towards majestic heights, with immeasurable room to continue on the path of this boundless growth. The card hobby has defined a hollowed stature for any rookie card, let alone one that portrays the immortal image of baseball's all-time pinnacle player, and we cannot even begin to imagine the true worth of this revered keepsake a few years down the road!
MIN BID $150,0