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Babe Ruth's 1914 Baltimore News Card Sells for $7.2 Million in Monumental Auction

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In a landmark transaction in the realm of sports collectibles, a scarce 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card was recently auctioned for an impressive $7.2 million. This sale not only set a new standard for sports memorabilia but also placed the card in the esteemed position of being the third most valuable sports card ever exchanged. This particular card, graded 3 (VG) by SGC, had been the center of significant national attention, culminating in fifteen bids, with a notable last-day bid during the auction.

Measuring 2 5/8" x 3 5/8", the card features a young 19-year-old Babe Ruth during his time with Baltimore’s minor league team. It was originally part of a set, with player images on the front and a team schedule on the reverse, distributed alongside the newspaper. Despite high expectations, the sale fell just short of the projected $10 million mark, and the identity of the new owner remains undisclosed.

This auction was momentous as it was the first time in over a decade that such a card had been made available. It is also the highest-rated copy to have been auctioned in more than 15 years. Brian Dwyer, President of Robert Edward Auctions, remarked that this might be the only chance to purchase such a card for many years to come.

The card's significance is further bolstered by its standing as the highest-graded example on the SGC Population Report, second only to a single PSA 4 graded card in the realm of collectibles.

The card's provenance is noteworthy. In June 2021, it was bought by a private collector in Florida for $6 million. Part of the ownership was sold through the Collectable fractional shares platform, but those shares were liquidated earlier this year. The card had been a family heirloom in the Baltimore area for over a century and was exhibited at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum from 1998 until earlier this year.

Brian Dwyer expressed the significance of this event for the card, REA, and the collecting community, stating, “This was a watershed moment for the Baltimore News Babe Ruth card, for REA, and for the hobby. We are thrilled to see Babe Ruth stake his spot in the top three all-time with this record-setting result, and we are proud to have brought this incredibly significant card to auction for what may be the only time for many years to come.”

Other cards from the same set, including one of Jack Dunn, who discovered Ruth, were also auctioned but did not meet their reserve prices. Now, the Ruth card is among the most expensive sports cards, behind the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 9.5 and a T206 Honus Wagner card.

The auction also showcased other valuable items, including a 1933 R319 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth card, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, and a 1997-1998 Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems card, among others.

In this record-breaking auction for REA, a total of 93,151 bids were placed, generating over $22.1 million in sales, marking the highest in REA’s 30-year history. This event not only celebrates the rich history of sports memorabilia but also reflects the deep-seated passion and value attributed to items linked to sports legends like Babe Ruth.

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