Lot # 4: 1921 Koester Bread D383 Babe Ruth N.Y. Yankees PSA 6 EX-MT – POP 1; Highest PSA Graded Example with Only 4 Total Copies on the PSA Pop Chart!

Category: 1921-1939

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 23 (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 4)
1921 Koester Bread D383 Babe Ruth N.Y. Yankees PSA 6 EX-MT – POP 1; Highest PSA Graded Example with Only 4 Total Copies on the PSA Pop Chart!

POP 1 KOESTER RUTH!!! To commemorate the first official Subway Series, between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, the New York based bakery E.H. Koester issued a 52-card set in October 1921, with each team represented by 26 separate subjects. Distributed over a two-week period and blank-backed, the obverse side black and white player images were taken from the popular 1921 American Caramel E121 set, although some Koester Bread players do not appear as part of the American Caramel issue. You can easily distinguish Koester Bread subjects from their 1921 E121 brethren since E121s were issued with American Caramel Series of 80 advertising backs. Strikingly similar to the 1922 W575-1 cards, which also reflect blank versos, many Koester Bread cards can only be distinguished from W575-1's subjects via their finer quality and heavier card stock. The Koester Bread's most valuable and coveted subject is the iconic George Herman "Babe" Ruth, presented here in an absolutely spectacular PSA 6 EX-MT holder, the sole and highest graded example on the illustrious PSA Pop Chart! One of the rarest of all Babe Ruth issues, PSA has only encapsulated a paltry three other examples, with those respective grades being PSA 2, PSA 1.5 and PSA 1.

Indeed, the grading disparity between this remarkable offering and its inferior peers stands at a full four grades, with very few Ruth cardboard issues reflecting such a large disproportion for the cards' respective assessments. As a final stamp of approval for Babe Ruth Koester Bread's virtually unparalleled paucity level, the SGC census report likewise lists a meager four total Ruth specimens. One of the interesting features of the 1921 Koester Bread Ruth is his "GEORGE RUTH" name situated along the lower border, immediately differentiating it from the W575-1 Ruth that is labeled "BABE RUTH". Other prominent Hall of Famers in the Koester Bread set include Dave Bancroft, Frank Baker, Jesse Burkett, Frank Frisch, Waite Hoyt, Miller Huggins, Hugh Jennings, George Kelly, John McGraw, Casey Stengel, and Ross Youngs. While these 11 Cooperstown Inductees constitute roughly 20% of the set, it is the twelfth Hall of Famer, the unparalleled Bambino, who literally steals the show for this extremely obscure issue. As an added feature, this iconic Babe Ruth pitching pose has been verified as a true rookie-era Ruth image by PSA's photo expert, originally taken at the Red Sox's Hot Springs, Arkansas spring training facility in March 1915. Before the 1920 season, Ruth had been traded from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees for a hefty price tag of $125,000, with Ruth walloping an amazing 54 home runs in his inaugural Big Apple campaign. The Babe would continue his assault on opposing pitchers the following year when this renowned Koester Bread card was issued, belting 59 home runs in 1921 and firmly establishing himself as baseball's premier player. This unprecedented assault on the fences revolutionized professional baseball, and in light of the tragic 1919 Black Sox scandal, most historians agree that the immortal Ruth literally saved major league baseball via his majestic long balls and dynamic persona.

The past several years have seen the floodgates burst open with regard to the stratospheric pricing points being realized for early 1920s Ruth black and white caramel cards. Suppressed for quite some time versus their over-populated Goudey peers, their utmost scarcity has finally caught on with collectors, with two PSA 7 NM 1921 E121 Ruths selling for a staggering $338K (Memory Lane) and $271K in 2021 auctions. Furthermore, an SGC 3.5 VG+ 1921 E121 Ruth fetched a record price of $83K in 2021 (also in a Memory Lane Auction), with numerous VG examples eclipsing the $50K mark over the past several years. The most recent Koester Bread pricing point we could find was a low-grade PSA 2 fetching a staggering $42K earlier this year (May 2023). Considering this noteworthy sale as well as the earth-shattering pricing points for PSA 7 NM 1921 E121 Ruths back in 2021, we cannot even begin to estimate what this Pop 1, highest graded PSA 6 is truly worth. The projected value for this museum-worthy masterpiece will ultimately be determined by the collecting community, and our hat's off to the very fortunate hobbyist who places the final bid. As previously stated, this most historic Babe Ruth Beantown pitching image was originally taken at Boston's spring training facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas in March 1915.

It was first utilized on Ruth's momentous 1917 Boston Store, Collins-McCarthy, and Standard Biscuit issues, and we actually have an SGC 6 Standard Biscuit Ruth as Lot #1 in this auction. The Koester Bread Co. chose to use all of the 1921 E121 existing images, including this legendary Bambino illustration, and we can only assume that since Ruth had played only a single season with the Yankees, rather than seeking out one of his first-year Yankee images, the American Caramel Company took the easy road by utilizing a pre-existing Bo-Sox pitching pose. The neat aspect of this card is that it represents Babe Ruth as a New York Yankee while still featuring him in his Boston uniform (similar to Ruth's 1920 Felix Mendelsohn and 1921 Frederick Foto Service issues). The breathtaking black & white image exhibits crystal-clear clarity and brilliant contrast as Ruth has just unleashed another one of his nearly un-hittable pitches during his tenure as a prestigious BoSox lefthanded twirler. The fine centering does depict a partial favoritism towards the left edge, and the relatively clean surfaces have escaped any glaring flaws. The text beneath his iconic pose reflects the seldom-seen "GEORGE RUTH" name that clearly distinguishes this Koester Bread memento from the 1922 W575-1 Ruth. The subtle corner wear is consistent with the assessment, and the final exclamation point is a blemish-free blank verso. Tantamount to the Sultan of Swat's unequivocal stature as baseball's greatest all-time player is this Pop 1 best of the rest Koester Bread Babe Ruth heirloom that reigns supreme, proudly standing alone at the top of the exalted PSA Population Report!

MIN BID $25,000

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