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    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.

    Just thirty-five examples of this blank-backed Ruth rookie reside in a PSA capsule at the time of this writing, one fewer than the population of the T206 Wagner. Bring condition into the equation and we find this magnificent specimen sharing space with two other NM 7 siblings, bested by just three NM-MT 8 examples, with none higher. In order to provide some helpful context, we'll remind you of the globally-publicized sale of a Pop-Six example of a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card for $5.2 million in January of this year, a specimen also trailing just three superior representations.

    Is that world record poised to fall? It's tough to bet against the Babe, who owns just about every hobby record on the memorabilia side of the ledger. And when we consider that this Ruth card is twice as rare as the 1952 Mantle at the second-place position of their respective PSA population rankings, the tug of critical thinking pulls us in the Babe's direction. One thing is for certain-it will be an exciting night on May 6th, perhaps a coronation and the global notoriety that it would confer.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    6th-8th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
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