Extremely Rare 1923 W515-1 Full 10-Card Strip w/Babe Ruth, Grover Alexander, John McGraw & Rabbit Maranville - Measures Approx. 13-1/2" x 2-1/4"
The meteoric pricing escalation for Babe Ruth's pre-1930s cards appear to know no limits, with virtually all of the Bambino's cardboard treasures issued during his playing days among the finest investment cards in the hobby. Collectors are now frantically purchasing his early 1920s strip cards, that while also spiking in price, can still be attained for a reasonable sum. There are a number of "W" strip issues to choose from, with Ruth's 1923 W515-1 #47 subject one of his highly coveted choices among vintage collectors, and extremely more desirable than the #3 Ruth in that same set. That said, presented here just happens to be one of the most extraordinary strip offerings extant, a complete 1923 W515-1 "ten-card" strip panel numbered 41-50 and including the highly coveted #47 Babe Ruth subject.
The 1923 W515-1 strip set included 60 players with six ten-card panels comprising the complete compilation. Virtually all of these original panels were cut into individual cards, with this original ten-card panel measuring approximately 13-1/2" x 2-1/4". The individual cards typically measure 1-3/8" x 2-1/4", with 39 of the 60 subjects representing players from the three "Big Apple" teams (Yankees, Dodgers and Giants). Like all early 1920s strip cards, cartoon-like images grace the obverse side with this particular W515-1 issue including the player's names, position, team and league neatly printed beneath their colorful image. The ten subjects embracing this ultra-rare strip are listed as follows from "left to right" and include four Cooperstown Inductees: Jim Johnston (#41); Willie Kamm (#42); Sam Jones (#43); Frank Snyder (#44); John McGraw/HOF (#45); Everette Scott (#46); Babe Ruth/HOF (#47); Urban Shocker (#48); Grover Alexander/HOF (#49); Rabbit Maranville/HOF (#50).
Unquestionably, the most significant subject is the immortal George Herman "Babe" Ruth, who in his first three seasons with the Yankees revolutionized our National Pastime by blasting 148 homers (1920-22). Ruth was out-homering virtually every MLB TEAM, and in 1923, the "House That Ruth Built" would open its gates to the Yankees faithful for the first time, with Ruth leading the Yankees to their inaugural World Championship. The "Sultan of Swat's" 41 dingers, 130 runs batted in, .393 batting average, and uncanny 1.309 OPS paved the way for Ruth's first World Series title. No wonder this 1923 strip set included two Ruth cards, with the more desirable #47 subject presented here one of "The Babe's" most popular issues. PSA has currently encapsulated over 60 of these Ruth subjects, with high-grade examples few and far between. There is currently one "10"; one "8"; one "7.5" and three "7's". Thus, only six of the 60+ examples portray a "7" or higher assessment, justifying why high-grade specimens have been realizing affluent pricing points. Let's start with a PSA 10 GEM MINT #47 Ruth fetching a staggering $63,600 in an April 2022 auction, while a PSA 9 MINT #3 example nailed down $25,200, also in the spring of 2022. Even an SGC 8 NM-MT #47 Ruth sold for $12,600 this past spring, with all of these pricing points substantiating the grand prospect of possessing a high-grade 1923 W515-1 Ruth.
Now consider that save the two bookend cards (Johnston & Maranville) that typically reveal severe corner layering and edge chipping, the remaining eight subjects have eluded any obtrusive flaws, and the blank verso is relatively clean. Most significantly, under close scrutiny, the hallowed #47 Ruth card appears to be super clean with sharp upper and lower edging (a few of the other cards do reveal areas of edge chipping), prompting its future owner to ponder the concept of meticulously removing the Ruth subject and having it professionally graded. While there are certainly no grading guarantees, it certainly appears that this Babe Ruth card bears a formidable possibility of achieving a high-end assessment. What that grade will be no one surely knows, but considering the aforementioned prices of high-grade W515-1 Ruth strip cards, it just might be a superb opportunity to place the final bid on this extremely scarce ten-card keepsake with the hope of ultimately owning one of the set's finest graded Ruth's!
MIN BID $5,000