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    Rookie-era cardboard from an ascendant icon

    1917 E135 Collins-McCarthy Babe Ruth #147 PSA FR 1.5. Heritage has recorded several six-figure prices for the various incarnations of the #151 card of the 1916 Babe Ruth rookie, most notably a $717,000 result for the M101-5 Sporting News beauty achieved in August 2016. It's a card that properly holds sway as one of the Dead Ball Era's most coveted and valuable, a function of both the enormous significance of its subject and the razor-thin population surviving the century since its production.

    The offered trading card, issued just a year later, makes that 1916 rookie issue seem downright common by comparison, one of just a dozen appearing in the PSA population listing, alone at its grade with six superior. In every other regard, it is nearly identical to its older siblings, the photograph of the young Red Sox southpaw clearly deriving from the same shoot, and the lower border text appearing in identical font and format. The image finds Ruth warming up in March 1915 spring training.

    Verso bears advertising text for "Collins-McCarthy Candy Co.," a company whose primary claim to hobby fame derives from its status as the source for the Zeenut issue dedicated to the Pacific Coast League that thrived near its San Francisco headquarters. Certainly the regional distribution of this Collins-McCarthy set is a primary factor in its rarity today.

    The majority of known exemplars from this issue are quite significantly battered and plagued by poor left/right centering, making the perfect balance found here all the more remarkable. The bulk of the handling and storage wear that accounts for the Fair rating is confined to the wide border area of the card, thus supplying an aesthetic far superior to the technical grade. This is the first Ruth example we've ever had the privilege to offer, further evidence to the scarcity that should render condition quibbles moot.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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