Lot # 10: 1929 Star Player Candy #21 Babe Ruth PSA 5 EX – POP 3; Only 3 PSA Examples Graded Higher!

Category: 1921-1939

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 17 (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 10)
1929 Star Player Candy #21 Babe Ruth PSA 5 EX – POP 3; Only 3 PSA Examples Graded Higher!

RARE STAR PLAYER BABE!!! One of Babe Ruth's scarcest and most elusive cards is his 1929 Star Player Candy #21 subject, presented here in a spectacular PSA 5 EX holder. Currently sharing the spotlight with only three PSA examples at this desirable plateau, a paltry three PSA examples have been graded higher. One of the most sought-after Babe Ruth cards extant, the last public sale was some seven years ago in 2016. Of utmost significance, our esteemed consignor originally purchased this card in an SGC 8 NM-MT holder over a decade ago. We know with 100% certainty it was unearthed from the miraculous 2009 unopened wax find, including more than 70 unopened Star Player Candy packs in a 1929 box, truly residing as one of the hobby's most incredible treasure troves.

Several packs were sold individually, including two Babe Ruths. One of those Ruth glassine packs was opened up, and the card was sent to SGC for grading, where it achieved the hallowed 8 assessment. However, since the owner preferred PSA cards for his collection, it was crossed over to PSA and shockingly received an extremely strict 5 EX grade. One look at this card's obverse side would make anyone scratch their heads as to why the card was downgraded to a 5, for it presents itself in pack-fresh near-mint to mint condition. However, under super close scrutiny, the verso portrays a few negligible surface flaws barely visible to the naked eye, most likely resulting in the grade reduction. As most hobbyists would attest to, it is the card's sheer existence and pristine aesthetics that steal the show, and Memory Lane is now proud to offer this unfathomable 94-year-old keepsake to our valued customers.

Of utmost significance was the 2009 unopened wax find, which tied up a bunch of loose ends with regard to pinpointing the exact origin of the 1929 Star Player Candy set. While the complete checklist is unknown, unlike its 1928 brethren, which include 73 documented baseball players that are all listed in the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards, the only known baseball players from the 1929 set are Babe Ruth (#21), Lou Gehrig (#32) and Walter Johnson, with other non-baseball sports stars and aviation personalities also included in the set. What we learned from the historic 2009 discovery is that Star Player Candy subjects were not true candy cards, but rather bubble gum subjects since the title of the display box was "Headliners & Gum", issued by John H. Dockman & Sons of Baltimore, Maryland. The bubble gum balls included in the packs certainly confirmed this concept, and vintage hobbyists are well familiar with the John Dockman & Sons manufacturer, who issued an abundance of revered candy "E" cards in the 1910s era.

Also differentiating the 1929 series versus 1928 subjects are the 1929 Star Player Candy cards, which include a brief bio text for Ruth, Gehrig and Johnson, while the 1928 series have blank backs. Both the 1928 and 1929 issues portray sepia-tone images typically not seen on other baseball card issues. The fact that this is actually a bona fide gum card places it as one of the earliest known baseball card gum issues, with the extremely rare 1888 G&B subjects generally regarded as the inaugural baseball gum cards. The most likely scenario for the 1929 Star Player Candy designation is the 1928 cards being dubbed "Star Players & Gum" by Dockman's, versus the "Headliners & Gum" title affixed to the 1929 John Dockman & Sons wax box, with hobby pioneers simply piggybacking off of the previous year's set name. Although full resolution may never be achieved with regard to the exact origin of the 1929 Star Player Candy name, of utmost importance is the unveiling of any subject to the general public, especially when it is the incomparable George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

As previously stated, the eye appeal of this PSA 5 marvel is easily consistent with any near-mint to mint card, with the classic Babe Ruth sepia-tone swinging pose eluding any notable flaws. By 1929, the Sultan of Swat was baseball's greatest player, having just led his Yankees to two consecutive World Series sweeps over the Pirates ('27) and Cardinals ('28). Measuring approximately 1-7/8" x 2-7/8", this is the exact image used for several of Ruth's 1920s exhibit cards issued in different colors, and one of the most majestic Bambino illustrations you will ever come across. It was Ruth's prodigious homers that elevated him to pinnacle stature, with his 60 home runs in 1927 breaking the Babe's 59-mark achieved in 1921. Although the Yankees would not win the AL pennant in 1929, the Babe continued his onslaught of AL hurlers by leading the Junior Circuit with 46 dingers and a sensational 1.128 OPS. His .345 batting average and 154 runs batted in were also electrifying figures, with this giant of a man eventually leading the league in homers and OPS an amazing 12 and 13 times, respectively.

Excellent centering (only revealing a hint of partiality towards the left edge), a seemingly immaculate obverse side surface, bright borders and ultra-sharp right-angled corners all combine to substantiate the previous SGC 8 assessment. The verso exhibits the #21 checklist number as well as the following brief Ruth bio: "Babe Ruth, "Sultan of Swat", has reigned supreme as home run king for eight consecutive years. His record of 60 home runs in one season will probably remain unbroken for some years to come". The relatively clean flip side does reflect a diminutive surface impression on the "n" in "home run king" as well as a very mild toning spot near the lower right edge, with these faint flaws assumingly resulting in this card being downgraded from an SGC 8 to a PSA 5 over a decade ago. However, as most meticulous enthusiasts would attest, it's the card's extreme scarcity, breathtaking visual appeal and immortal image of the unparalleled Babe Ruth that supersedes any technical assessment. One of a paltry eight total PSA encapsulated examples with not a single public sale in the past seven years, it would be virtually impossible to estimate this world-class offering's lofty value. Yet, considering that some of Ruth's finest 1920s issues are achieving record-breaking price tags each and every day, we can only assume the final bid will appropriately represent its immense worth!

MIN BID $25,000

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