A piece of baseball history is about to hit the auction block, and it has the potential to command a price as legendary as the player it depicts. The highly sought-after 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card is set to be offered by Robert Edward Auctions (REA) in its Fall Catalog Auction.
The card, graded SGC 3 (VG), is one of only ten known copies in existence. It showcases a young 19-year-old Ruth during his minor league days with the Baltimore Orioles. What sets this card apart is not only its depiction of the future baseball icon but also its unique back, which features the team’s schedule.
This auction is significant for several reasons. First, it marks the first time in over a decade that a 1914 Baltimore News Ruth card has been made available to the public. Additionally, this particular card is celebrated as the finest specimen to grace the auction stage in over fifteen years.
Brian Dwyer, President of REA, emphasizes the card’s importance, stating, “The Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card stands as the pinnacle of baseball cards. It represents not only a rare sports memorabilia item but also a seminal piece of Americana, symbolizing the dawn of the Babe Ruth legend—a figure who is synonymous with baseball itself.”
According to the SGC Population Report, the card’s condition is top-tier within its class and is outranked only by a singular PSA 4 in the entire collectibles sphere.
The journey of this card is as storied as its image bearer. In June 2021, it entered the private collection of a passionate collector in Florida for a staggering $6 million, with fractional ownership opportunities available via the Collectable platform. However, the collective ownership was dissolved earlier this year.
The card’s provenance can be traced back to a Baltimore family, where it remained for a century before being sold earlier this decade. It was exhibited at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum for public enjoyment from 1998 until earlier this year. Fans and collectors will have the opportunity to view the card once more before the auction, as REA is organizing a public display of the card alongside a blue variant on November 15. Exclusive private viewings will also take place on the evening of November 15 and in New York City on November 29.
Collectors and fans eager to behold this rarity in person can contact REA for an invitation to these select events.
The Ruth card will be the star attraction among the 4,000 lots in the auction, which will run from November 17 to December 3. Looking back at the trajectory of sports memorabilia, it’s worth noting that in 2012, REA sold a PSA 1 example of the Ruth card for over $450,000—a sum that pales in comparison to today’s market. Recently, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card shattered records with a staggering $12.6 million sale.
Dwyer captures the allure of the Ruth card, explaining, “This is the dream card, the one that every collector aspires to hold. Its rarity is such that those who possess one of these jewels are reluctant to part with it. This might well be the only opportunity to acquire one for many years.”
Indeed, the upcoming auction presents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for collectors. The Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore News card represents more than just a valuable collectible; it signifies the genesis of an American sports legend. Its value transcends the physical card itself, serving as a tangible representation of Babe Ruth’s legacy and a bygone era of baseball that continues to captivate fans and collectors alike.
The auction of this card is not simply a transaction—it’s a historic event that celebrates the enduring impact of one of the most iconic figures in sports history. With only a few examples in existence and the market for rare sports cards reaching unparalleled heights, this auction could very well see the Babe Ruth card achieve an eight-figure selling price, setting a new benchmark in the world of sports collectibles.