REA turns up uncatalogued team card with Ruth

03783.jpgRobert Edward Auctions officials recently announced a remarkable hobby find: a previously unknown team card of the 1914 Baltimore Orioles of the International League, including Babe Ruth, issued by The Baltimore News.

   The card will appear in REA’s Spring 2007 auction. This card was also accompanied by a newly discovered 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card, thought to be only the 10th example known.

   This card features Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. “When we were first contacted about the 1914 Ruth rookie card, we were naturally very excited. There is no card we’d rather be called on than a Babe Ruth rookie card” said REA president Robert Lifson.

   “It was almost as an afterthought that the family happened to mention the 1914 Baltimore News team card. We thought it sounded, well, beyond belief, and fully expected this dream card to be something completely different than what was described to us on the phone,” Lifson continued.

   “When the image of the card arrived by e-mail, our jaws dropped. This was a card-collecting miracle. We’re really not sure how much more exciting a newly discovered card could possibly be.”

    In 1914, The Baltimore News issued a set of individual player cards of the stars of the Orioles of the International League, with reverses featuring the “At Home” and “Abroad” schedules of the team. The cards from this set are quite rare, and the set is particularly noted for its inclusion of the first card ever issued of Ruth.

   According to Lifson, the team card is also from 1914, features the same players as the individual player cards, and was issued by the same company. “No 1914 Baltimore News Orioles team card has ever previously been known or even rumored to exist,” Lifson added.

   The card presents a photographic image of the ballclub in a traditional team pose. The white lettering in the foreground reads: “Compliments of Emanuel Daniel, Sporting Editor, ‘Baltimore News’.”

   Daniels, as noted in the text, was, indeed, the Sporting Editor of The Baltimore News in 1914. The photographer’s name also appears in small type in the foreground (“Leopold, Photo”). Ruth appears standing in the upper left of the back row.  Also included among the players in the team photo are Ernie Shore and Ben Egan, who along with Ruth, on July 10, 1914, were sold to the Boston Red Sox by Baltimore Orioles’ owner Jack Dunn for a reported $25,000.
   
   According to Lifson, even the image presented on the team card is previously unknown. “We have never seen it before and have shown the card to numerous Ruth scholars who have also noted that this is the first time they have ever even seen a traditional team photo of Ruth with Baltimore,” Lifson continued.

   He added that it is unknown how the card was issued. It is generally believed that the individual player cards were distributed by paper boys and given away at newsstands, and Lifson said it is likely that the team card was distributed in a similar manner. The individual cards have schedules on their backs and therefore had a utility that may have encouraged their being saved more than the team cards.

   “It is also possible that the team card was issued in a different manner, or in far lesser numbers (which would be consistent with its much more costly and elaborate quality of manufacture),” Lifson noted.

   The dimensions are 41/1/21/2-by-61/2 inches and the back is blank. The corners of the card have been clipped. It is otherwise in excellent to mint condition. The 1914 Baltimore News team card and the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth rookie card will be featured in REA’s upcoming spring auction.

tsmagnifyglass.jpgThe collection also included one other 1914 Baltimore News card, a common player which will also be featured in the auction. Both cards will be encapsulated by PSA. The Ruth card has been graded PSA 2 (downgraded from a higher level due to a very small amount of paper loss on the reverse). The team card will be encapsulated as simply “Authentic” due to its clipped corners. The 1914 Ruth rookie card and the 1914 Baltimore News team card will each have a minimum bid of $10,000.

   Robert Edward Auctions officials recently announced a remarkable hobby find: a previously unknown team card of the 1914 Baltimore Orioles of the International League, including Babe Ruth, issued by The Baltimore News.
   The card will appear in REA’s Spring 2007 auction. This card was also accompanied by a newly discovered 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card, thought to be only the 10th example known

   This card features Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. “When we were first contacted about the 1914 Ruth rookie card, we were naturally very excited. There is no card we’d rather be called on than a Babe Ruth rookie card” said REA president Robert Lifson.

   “It was almost as an afterthought that the family happened to mention the 1914 Baltimore News team card. We thought it sounded, well, beyond belief, and fully expected this dream card to be something completely different than what was described to us on the phone,” Lifson continued.

   “When the image of the card arrived by email, our jaws dropped. This was a card-collecting miracle. We’re really not sure how much more exciting a newly discovered card could possibly be.”

    In 1914, The Baltimore News issued a set of individual player cards of the stars of the Orioles of the International League, with reverses featuring the “At Home” and “Abroad” schedules of the team. The cards from this set are quite rare, and the set is particularly noted for its inclusion of the first card ever issued of Ruth.

   According to Lifson, the team card is also from 1914, features the same players as the individual player cards, and was issued by the same company. “No 1914 Baltimore News Orioles team card has ever previously been known or even rumored to exist,” Lifson added.

   The card presents a photographic image of the ballclub in a traditional team pose. The white lettering in the foreground reads: “Compliments of Emanuel Daniel, Sporting Editor, ‘Baltimore News’.”

   Emanuel Daniels, as noted in the text, was, indeed, the Sporting Editor of The Baltimore News in 1914. The photographer’s name also appears in small type in the foreground (“Leopold, Photo”). Ruth appears standing in the upper left of the back row.  Also included among the players in the team photo are Ernie Shore and Ben Egan, who along with Ruth, on July 10, 1914, were sold to the Boston Red Sox by Baltimore Orioles’ owner Jack Dunn for a reported $25,000.
   
   According to Lifson, even the image presented on the team card is previously unknown. “We have never seen it before and have shown the card to numerous Ruth scholars who have also noted that this is the first time they have ever even seen a traditional team photo of Ruth with Baltimore,” Lifson continued.

   He added that it is unknown how the card was issued. It is generally believed that the individual player cards were distributed by paper boys and given away at newsstands, and Lifson said it is likely that the team card was distributed in a similar manner. The individual cards have schedules on their backs and therefore had a utility that may have encouraged their being saved more than the team cards.

   “It is also possible that the team card was issued in a different manner, or in far lesser numbers (which would be consistent with its much more costly and elaborate quality of manufacture),” Lifson noted.

   The dimensions are 41/1/2 1/2-by-61/2 inches and the back is blank. The corners of the card have been clipped. It is otherwise in excellent to mint condition. The 1914 Baltimore News team card and the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth rookie card will be featured in REA’s upcoming spring auction.

The collection also included one other 1914 Baltimore News card, a common player which will also be featured in the auction.  The 1914 Ruth rookie card and the 1914 Baltimore News team card will be each have a minimum bid of $10,000.

These cards were saved for decades by a Providence, R.I.-area family. The grandfather was a collector. His collection included a modest sampling of cards from several eras, ranging from a few 1910 era tobacco cards to 1970s TCMA collector issues, and a little bit of everything in between.

   Though these cards were the prizes of his collection, their great significance to the card collecting world was unknown to him, Lifson explained. “The Babe Ruth rookie card was so rare during his collecting days that it was not yet formally documented, checklisted or even known to exist in the organized hobby,” said the auctioneer.

   The owner apparently had some connection to the Baltimore area and was a great fan of Ruth. It is interesting to note that he lived in Providence, which of course also has a strong connection to Babe Ruth (Ruth played for the Providence Grays of the International League late in 1914, after being sold to the Red Sox by Baltimore).

   When the grandfather died in 1985, the family put his cards away. The collection did not see the light of day until 2004, when a family member brought the Ruth card into a convention to see what it might be worth. He was offered $8,000 in cash by a dealer. The family decided to hold off on selling at that time, and the card went back into storage.

   Two years later, when a family member heard about the sale of a similar card sold by Robert Edward Auctions at auction at a much higher price level, the family contacted REA. In 2004 Robert Edward Auctions offered the first-ever PSA-graded example of the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth with a minimum bid of $10,000. That card sold for $243,000 in VG-EX condition, instantly catapulting the Babe Ruth rookie to being the second-most valuable card in the world, trailing only the T206 Honus Wagner. In 2006, a PSA 1 example was offered by REA, also with a reserve of $10,000. That example sold for $150,800.

   Lifson has long contended that the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth was actually the greatest baseball card of all time, and has for many years expressed the opinion that the 1914 Ruth may someday exceed the value of the T206 Wagner to become the most valuable card in the world. “That trend has been in motion for years, even as both cards have escalated in value over the years,” Lifson said.

   The first 1914 Baltimore Ruth to ever appear at auction (the card was previously unknown) sold in the late 1980s for $6,600 to legendary collector Jim Copeland. That card was sold with the rest of his collection at the famous Copeland auction in 1991, where it realized $18,700. Barry Halper’s example sold at the historic Halper auction in 1999 for $79,500.

   Lifson noted that the Robert Edward Auctions’ sale at $243,000 in 2005 more than tripled that record. The sale of a PSA 1 example of the red-and-white variety at $150,800 in 2006 was all the more noteworthy as this price exceeded the public auction sale price of any similarly graded Wagner card (of which there have been many).

    “We have been very lucky when it comes to this card. Actually, even we can’t believe our good fortune. Of the 10 different examples of the Babe Ruth rookie card known to exist, over the years REA has handled the sale of six of them” Lifson continued.

   For further information regarding consignments or to register for a complimentary auction catalog please contact: Robert Edward Auctions, P.O. Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069, or call (908)-226-9900 or visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com.

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