Description

    The most important baseball card on the planet?

    1916 M101-5 Blank Back Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie #151 PSA NM 7. How does one measure supremacy? For many years, when it came to Babe Ruth, the answer was as simple as an examination of his stat line. It's been said that records are made to be broken, but Ruth positively shattered them, dismissing the standards of incremental advancement for a paradigm shift that serves as the clearest evidence of the sport's transition from Dead Ball Era to Live. Some records have fallen, occasionally with help from medical science, but any argument that Ruth was not the most dominant athlete in sports history is doomed to burial beneath a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

    But we're talking trading cards here, and personal opinion offers no such handy metrics with which one might construct a consensus ranking. All we can do is make our case, which we believe to be as compelling as it is clear and simple.

    With affectionate deference to the T206 Wagner and the 1952 Topps Mantle, cards well-deserving of their placement at the ceiling of the trading card pantheon, we are inclined to assign the primary ranking criterion to the identity of the subject. In this regard, the argument for Ruth has already been made. Certainly the matters of happenstance that made the Wagner and Mantle cards the hobby's most famous short-prints remain a point of intrigue--and each card pictures a true baseball legend--but there can only be one King, and that has to be Ruth.

    From that point, we fall very much in line with the collecting dogma that has held sway over the trading card community for generations: All hail the rookie! There is only one universally recognized Babe Ruth rookie card, and this is it.

    And while some particularly obscure (and far less significant) issues may exist in smaller populations, this Ruth representation is far and away one of the rarest cards that commonly surfaces in top twenty hobby rankings. The Wagner is only marginally less familiar in a PSA slab.

    Within the population of Ruth M101-4's and 5's, this NM 7 specimen counts itself as one of only six, with only four superior (each just a grade higher). The card celebrates its centennial in stunningly fine condition, with corner touches only evident upon the closest of inspection. Centering, a common fault within the known population of M101's, is unusually strong here, the best we've seen. It's a monumentally important and desirable relic that seems undervalued at any six-figure price tag.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 8,470

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