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Lot # 18 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1921 Babe Ruth Barnstorming Advertising Card

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,088.00

Extraordinary early 1920s advertising card of Babe Ruth issued to promote one of Ruth's early post-season barnstorming tours. As Babe Ruth's fame grew to legendary proportions in the late teens and early twenties, opportunities for him to earn extra money from various promotions increased dramatically, including being able to earn big money traveling the country on postseason barnstorming tours. This card pictures a striking photo of a very thin Ruth in pinstripes, circa 1921. To his left, the card reads in white lettering "Special Tour, Babe Ruth, Carl Mays Stars," below which is the name and address of the tour promoter. A very slight miscut of the card allows us to read this name (and address) as "ss, Lynch, Savage Enterprises, 370 East 149th St., N. Y. City" (a couple of letters in the beginning are cut off due to the very slight left-to-right centering of the card). Very little has been documented about Ruth's barnstorming tours until the famous "Bustin' Babe's and Laurapin' Lou's" tours of 1927 and 1928. It is likely that this card dates from precisely 1921. Wanting to capitalize on his fame, Ruth and other Yankee players had planned to participate in an off season "barnstorming" tour to occur after the 1921 season. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis decided that it was not proper for any players on the team winning the World Series to barnstorm, and ordered the players to drop the idea. Most of the players, including star pitcher Carl Mays, backed off, but Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel actually went ahead with the tour anyway. Both players were suspended for the first six weeks of the 1922 season for not following Landis' orders. This is an outstanding rarity, the only example of this card we have ever seen, and very likely the only example in existence. Ruth cards of any type from this era are few and far between. The early 1920s were not a golden era for baseball cards, and aside from a selection of strip cards, Exhibit cards, and caramel cards, few cards of Ruth of any type were issued in the early roaring '20s, let alone of this extraordinary quality. This might very well be the premier Ruth card in terms of production quality dating from the early 1920s. The card is blank-backed, with an extremely high quality real-photo finish (no dot pattern), with just a hint of light, even corner wear, and a tiny background abrasion in the upper left (visible only when held at proper angle, of no consequence and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy), otherwise in overall Excellent condition. This is a very impressive card in many ways: this is a card with extreme rarity, an interesting story, picturing Ruth, the greatest player of all time, with an extraordinary quality of production, and quality of the image. Also of note is the fact that this image of Ruth does not appear on any other card. Dimensions: 3.25 x 5.25 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $2,088.00

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