The fall event at Robert Edward Auctions is set to conclude on December 3, yet an uncommon piece of baseball history featuring Babe Ruth has emerged as a highlight well before the final gavel. This isn’t about the well-documented 1914 Baltimore News card, but rather a scarce 1921 Frederick Foto card depicting the legendary baseball figure. As of Sunday evening, competitive early bids have propelled the card’s value to $110,000. The card, one of just six known to exist from the past century, holds a grade of 2 from SGC, indicating its rare vintage condition.
This particular card has seen a notable increase in value over the years, with REA having brokered its sale for $42,000 back in 2015—a fraction of its current bid. What sets the Frederick Foto card apart, even more, is its obscurity when compared to the already scarce Baltimore News card. The 1921 series, which included both major and minor league players, is shrouded in such mystery that a complete checklist remains unconfirmed. The cards in the series aren’t numbered, adding to the challenge of determining a full set, though it’s estimated to comprise over 100 cards.
The Frederick Foto Service of Sacramento, California is credited with issuing these cards, which unfortunately, were not the epitome of quality production. Player photographs were simply glued onto cardboard, displaying the player’s name, team, and the Frederick Foto brand on the front. The reverse side of these cards is blank. Their size is generally in line with tobacco cards from the era, though inconsistencies are common, likely due to crude production techniques or subsequent trimming. These variations often result in cards with disproportionately large white borders.
The exact dating of the series has been a topic of debate among collectors, with 1921 being the widely accepted year of issue, though some disagree on the precise timing.
The card of Babe Ruth from this series is particularly noteworthy, not only because it features him with the ‘N.Y.’ insignia of the Yankees but also intriguingly depicts him in a Red Sox uniform, the team he played for before his iconic tenure with the Yankees beginning in 1920. This detail adds to its rarity as one of the earliest cards showing Ruth associated with the Yankees.
A unique attribute of this card is the photograph itself; REA has recognized that this specific image of Ruth does not appear on any other card, nor can it be found in any other type of media—a singular representation of the baseball legend.
The auction for this rare slice of baseball memorabilia will wrap up on December 3, and it is already shaping up to be a noteworthy event for collectors and historians alike. The bidding war for the 1921 Frederick Foto Babe Ruth card is heating up, with early bids surpassing its previous sale price of $42,000. As one of only six known cards of its kind, this rare gem depicting the legendary Babe Ruth in a Red Sox uniform before his Yankees era is a must-have for baseball enthusiasts.
Collectors are eagerly vying for this valuable piece of history, recognizing its significance as an early representation of Ruth in a Yankees-related context. The card, graded 2 by SGC for its exceptional vintage condition, showcases Ruth’s image alongside the ‘N.Y.’ insignia of the Yankees. However, what makes this particular card even more intriguing is the fact that it captures Ruth in a Red Sox uniform, his team prior to his iconic tenure with the Yankees beginning in 1920.
The Frederick Foto cards, issued by the Frederick Foto Service of Sacramento, California, are known for their unique production style. Player photographs were simply glued onto cardboard, with the front displaying the player’s name, team, and the Frederick Foto brand. The reverse side of the cards is blank, and their size generally aligns with tobacco cards from that era. However, inconsistencies in sizing and trimming often lead to variations and disproportionately large white borders.
The 1921 Frederick Foto series remains shrouded in mystery, with no confirmed checklist and an estimated 100+ cards. This adds to the allure and challenge for collectors in completing the set. Furthermore, debates among collectors regarding the precise dating of the series further contribute to its intrigue.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this Babe Ruth card is the photograph itself. Robert Edward Auctions, recognizing its uniqueness, has noted that this specific image of Ruth does not appear on any other card or in any other type of media. Collectors and historians alike recognize the card’s singular representation of the baseball legend, adding to its desirability and value.
With the auction set to conclude on December 3, anticipation is building as collectors and enthusiasts eagerly await the final price for this rare and important baseball artifact. With early bids already surpassing its previous sale price, it is clear that this 1921 Frederick Foto Babe Ruth card will surely make waves in the world of sports memorabilia. Whether it finds a home in a private collection or a museum, this card serves as a tangible connection to a bygone era of America’s favorite pastime and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Great Bambino himself.