Lot # 2: Babe Ruth 1921 Asahina Sporting Goods Postcard PSA 1.5 FR – The Only Professionally Graded Example!

Category: 1921-1939

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 19 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Summer Rarities Auction 2023",
which ran from 8/17/2023 9:00 AM to
9/9/2023 7:00 PM

(LOT 2)
Babe Ruth 1921 Asahina Sporting Goods Postcard PSA 1.5 FR – The Only Professionally Graded Example!

ULTRA-RARE BABE!!! The most sophisticated Babe Ruth collectors will need to wage a fierce battle for this absolutely extraordinary 1921 Babe Ruth offering: a 1921 Asahina Sporting Goods Babe Ruth postcard revealing his iconic 1916 Charles Conlon Boston Red Sox batting image! Newly discovered in Japan and graded a PSA 1.5, it has miraculously survived the past 102 years within a Japanese family's archives and is now available for the taking courtesy of our esteemed consignor, who discovered this Cooperstown worthy gem on one of his overseas trips to Japan. Unique for any Professional Grading Company, to the best of our knowledge, we know of only one other ungraded example safely tucked away in a private collection. It's no secret that Japan's fascination with baseball steamrolled in the early 20th century, with the inaugural Japanese baseball tour taking place in 1908, followed by additional tours in 1913, 1920, 1922, 1931, and, of course, the most revered 1934 Tour led by global icon Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat was idolized abroad by a seemingly infinite number of his captivated fans, and his sheer dominance held a special place in the hearts of the Japanese faithful.

After Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees before the start of the 1920 campaign, leading to his record-setting 54 homers, his popularity skyrocketed to unforeseen heights. Not only was he the toast of the Big Apple, but he was now considered a baseball god across the globe, with a myriad of manufacturers utilizing his hallowed name and image to effectively promote their brands. One such overseas company was the Japan based Asahina Sporting Goods Co., which issued this momentous postcard in 1921. Asahina is a Japanese surname that means "sunny place", appropriately fitting for this enthralling keepsake that will ultimately be the shining star of any world-class gathering. While we were not able to gather a wealth of information for this by-gone Japanese sporting goods store, what we do know is that, spearheaded by the Olympics and Baseball, Japan was now feverishly throwing their hat into the sports ring with regard to becoming a worldly sports nation. A vast number of Japan based sporting goods stores were capitalizing on the sports mania sweeping across the country, with the Asahina Co. likewise reaping the benefits of the booming athletic goods industry. At this time, other than Olympic sensation Jim Thorpe, we cannot imagine a more formidable athlete to promote this company's product than Babe Ruth, whose immortal name was first and foremost in the sports arena.

Considering the incomparable Ruth had only played a single season in New York, Asahina chose to utilize a legendary Red Sox batting pose issued some five years ago by the renowned Charles M. Conlon. Indeed, Colon took this museum-worthy image during the 1916 campaign at the Polo Grounds, with the Red Sox facing off against their Yankee rivals. What makes this image special is its status as one of the two most popular Ruth batting photos known, sharing this distinction with Ruth's 1933 Goudey illustration, likewise taken by Conlon during the 1927 season. However, the 1927 pose is obviously a Yankees image, and the 1916 Red Sox Ruth batting pose gracing this postcard is the most exalted Ruth Beantown batting image on the planet, bar none! Any Ruth BoSox batting image is extremely scarce, with PSA's photo expert documenting only some 13 such different poses, of which a meager five examples exist in a PSA Type 1 format. Furthermore, there are only two baseball cards depicting photographic Babe Ruth Red Sox batting poses: this amazing discovery and the esteemed 1921 Frederick Foto Ruth. Not only does this postcard stand as the sole example on any grading company's Pop Chart, it is the only Babe Ruth baseball card picturing a true photographic image of the one and only Conlon 1916 Ruth Boston batting pose.

The super-eye-pleasing aesthetics of this museum-worthy masterpiece are consistent with most VG cards, with its approximate 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" measurements consistent with most postcards. Of course, stealing the show is the classic 1916 Charles Conlon sepia-toned Ruth batting image, irrefutably standing as the Babe's most hallowed Red Sox batting pose. The critical Asahina Brand Sporting Goods diamond-shaped logo is affixed near the image's lower left quadrant, and accounting for the assessment is a diminutive surface abrasion situated near the upper border that does not compromise Ruth's image, even corner wear and some light wrinkles situated near each of the four corners. No obtrusive surface blemishes are evident on either side, and the unmarked flip side only exhibits some negligible discoloration/toning. Most significantly, the Japanese verbiage along the bottom border incredibly translates as follows: "In 1919, he hit 29 home runs for the Red Sox. Last year he hit 54 home runs for the New York Yankees. He, along with Mount Vesuvius and Niagara Falls are the three great wonders of the world.

The heroic figure of Babe Ruth, the king of home run hitters". Extraordinary to say the least, and when this translation was first provided to us, we could literally feel the chills running up and down our spines. Most historians would agree that Babe Ruth was one of the premier wonders of the world, and this text confirms the postcard's 1921 date assigned by PSA, for it mentions Ruth hitting 54 dingers in his 1920 campaign. This caption, the postcard's one of a kind Pop stature, at the time this was written, and Ruth's imposing 1916 BoSox Conlon batting image revealing the mighty Babe setting his sights on what is most likely another colossal hit are the three dominating features of this unparalleled heirloom. This magnificent find, courtesy of our consignor, who has assembled a vast number of Ruth-related Japanese mementos throughout his entire collecting tenure, is now available to the entire collecting community as one of the most exalted Babe Ruth cards to ever surface for the taking. Considering the original Type 1 Conlon 1916 Babe Ruth Red Sox batting photo is most likely valued at $400K-$500K, we will let the advanced collector ultimately decide what this POP 1 marvel portraying the exact same Ruth image is truly worth!

MIN BID $25,000

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