Lot # 3: 1921-23 National Caramel E220 Babe Ruth PSA 5 EX – The Sole & Highest Graded Example on ANY Population Report!

Category: 1921-1939

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 39 (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 3)
1921-23 National Caramel E220 Babe Ruth PSA 5 EX – The Sole & Highest Graded Example on ANY Population Report!

BEST OF THE REST E220 RUTH!!! The most sophisticated collectors should buckle up for this absolutely miraculous and pinnacle offering. Presented here just happens to be the SOLE and HIGHEST Graded 1921-23 National Caramel E220 Babe Ruth, with this PSA 5 EX marvel standing alone as the finest example on the planet! Indeed, PSA, SGC, or Beckett, not a single other E220 Ruth matches or bests this PSA 5 assessment, immediately placing this unique for the grade masterpiece as one of the most significant Babe Ruth cards extant. There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to appropriately define this museum-worthy offering's unparalleled stature. Truly one of the most condition sensitive cards in existence, its closest competitors are single PSA and SGC 3.5s, with the inadvertently listed SGC 4 crossing over to a PSA 3.5 several years ago, and was never removed from the SGC census report. Taking this one step further, of the total 120 E220 subjects, only THREE examples have managed to post a higher PSA grade (PSA 6 Byron Harris; PSA 6 Eddie Collins; PSA 7 Frank Snyder), providing additional justification for E220 cards residing as one of the most delicate cardboard mementos issued by any manufacturer. Even the renowned and ultra-thin 1914 Cracker Jack cards placed in caramel corn boxes, which resulted in serious surface staining, cannot remotely boast this level of high-grade scarcity.

The National Caramel's obscurity can be traced back to 1921, when this Lancaster, PA based candy company distributed a black and white 120-card set over an estimated three-year period (1921–23) within their popular caramel brand packages. Like virtually all pre-1934 sets, the most desirable and valuable subject is George Herman "Babe" Ruth, and it's no secret that a host of manufacturers were battling to utilize his hallowed name to promote their company's brand. Dubbed by many hobbyists as the scarcest of all 1920s "E" cards, as the population reports clearly suggest, other than this unfathomable PSA 5 offering, mid-grade examples simply don't exist. This phenomenon is due to the very poor factory printing process, whereby the majority of E220s portray light contrast and irregular cuts. One of the intriguing highlights of the E220 set are the ultra-obscure images only appearing on National Caramel subjects, especially the Babe Ruth issue that reveals one of his most iconic illustrations. It's the Babe's classic follow-through batting image that can literally make one's heart skip a beat, as the mighty Bambino watches another colossal blast soar into stratospheric heights. Considering Ruth is wearing his Yankee pinstripes and white cap at the Polo Grounds, as well as the background American flag, this immortal pose was allegedly taken on opening day 1921 at the Polo Grounds since the Yankees wore white caps for their home games in 1919 and 1921.

While the Yankees did play the Giants in the 1921 fall classic at the Polo Grounds, where red, white and blue bunting was likewise utilized, 1921 World Series images clearly indicate the Yankees switched to classic blue caps for all of these post-season games. Therefore, we are left to assume that the only other game prestigious enough to require an American flag, or bunting, would be opening day, which traditionally included any type of decorative red, white and blue paraphernalia. That said, the Yankees would be off to the races on opening day 2021, blasting Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics by an 11-1 score. It would be the Babe himself who would steal the show, posting a sensational five hits in five at-bats, including two doubles and two runs batted in. The Yankees would move on to win the AL Pennant with their impressive 98 wins, ultimately losing the fall classic to their cross-river rivals, the New York Giants. What photo could possibly better represent America's pastime than Babe Ruth completing his captivating swing with the American Flag and grandstands serving as a spine-tingling setting? Other than the immortal Charles Conlon 1927 Ruth batting image used for his 1933 Goudey cards, arguably no other Babe Ruth Yankees batting pose is as momentous as this classic illustration first seen on his 1921-23 E220 National Caramel subject, and several years later also used for his likewise scarce 1925 Champions Exhibit which is also presented in this auction.

Any early Yankees card of the great Bambino immediately arouses interest among the memorabilia circuit since he stands as baseball's undisputed greatest all-time player. Whether it's his hallowed rookie card, tough to find early 1920 Caramel issues or the ever-popular Goudey gum cards, there is an on-going lust to covet almost anything associated with his revered name. Population statistics don't lie, and none of the aforementioned Ruth treasures from an obscurity perspective can compete with this Pop 1 offering. Issued during the era when the Sultan of Swat was out-homering nearly every MLB team via his 54 and 59 record-setting dingers walloped in his first two seasons in the Big Apple, Ruth would lead the mighty Yankees to their inaugural world championship in 1923, the year "The House that Ruth Built" first opened its doors to the public. The amazing aesthetics are highlighted by Ruth's classic swinging pose, which emanates atypically spectacular contrast and resolution, with the majority of other existing examples emulating extremely light image quality. Just as impressive is the image's exceptional centering, revealing near-perfect side-to-side positioning and only a slight favoritism towards the upper edge between four bright white borders.

Enthusiasts are well aware that virtually all E220s are plagued with severe angle cuts and image tilts, with this magnificent example eluding both of those archetypal stigmas. Most incredible for any E220 subject, no glaring surface flaws are evident on either side, and the even corner wear consistent with the grade actually exhibits an eye-pleasing uniformity. The final thumbs up is the relatively clean National Caramel ad back that has sidestepped any notable blemishes. Highly underrated for quite some time, the E220 Ruth has recently realized $25K-$30K for low-grade specimens. Considering the few existing 2.5 Good+ and 3.5 VG+ examples that have not surfaced for quite some time, no pricing points are available as a reasonable benchmark for this one of a kind PSA 5 gem. In closing, tantamount to the Bambino's irrefutable stature as our national pastime's greatest all-time player, comes along this best of the rest PSA 5 E220 Ruth, with its definitive six-figure+ price tag to be ultimately determined by the hobby's premier collectors!

MIN BID $25,000

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