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Lot # 8 (of 1389)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1915 Boston Red Sox Real-Photo Team Postcard with Babe Ruth (Rookie) - Newly Discovered Example!

Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $21,600

Presented is a newly discovered example of one of the great treasures of all Babe Ruth cards and all baseball postcards: the classic "American League Champions" 1915 real-photo postcard of the Boston Red Sox dating from Babe Ruth's rookie season. The postcard pictures the Boston Red Sox in a posed team photo, including Babe Ruth, who is seen standing in the back row. Each member of the club is identified in print atop his image, including Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, Joe Wood, and manager Bill Carrigan. "The Boston Red Sox - American League Champions - Season 1915" appears in white letters below. This postcard has long been recognized as one of the premier baseball postcards in the collecting world, as well as representing one of the very few cards which can truly lay claim to being Babe Ruth's rookie card. In addition to its great rarity, this may be the very first card featuring Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox in the Major Leagues. (The traditional M101-4/5 card of Ruth dates from 1916.) This card, which is one of only approximately a dozen known examples, was just recently discovered by our consignor while going through his father's advanced postcard collection. His father, who just recently passed away, was a longtime collector, so there is no telling how long this 1915 Red Sox card had been in his possession, but one thing we know for certain: it has not seen the light of day for decades and has never before been offered at public auction.

The card (5.5 x 3.5 inches) displays a few minor perimeter flaws, including a .375-inch horizontal tear along the right border, a light diagonal crease in the upper right corner, a tiny diagonal crease in the lower right corner, and a small 1.25-inch vertical crease running upwards along the right border. It should be noted that none of the aforementioned condition anomalies touch upon any of the player images and the central photo, which displays exceptional clarity, retains an Excellent to Mint overall appearance. The card has been addressed in pencil on the reverse and was mailed out of Boston. Interestingly, the postmark date, October 11, 1915, is the date of Game 3 of the World Series, which was the first game of the Series played in Boston. We had always assumed that because the card describes the Red Sox as "American League Champions" and not "World Champions," that it was issued just prior to the 1915 World Series between the Red Sox and Phillies. That assumption is supported by this card and by a previous example that we handled (Lot 227 in REA's April 2007 auction; sold for $9,400) that was postmarked October 12th, the date of Game 4 of the 1915 World Series. Although Ruth won eighteen games for the Red Sox during the regular season, his role in the 1915 “fall classic” was limited to a single pinch-hit assignment in the ninth inning of Game One (he grounded out). This is an outstanding newly discovered example of this extremely significant rarity commemorating Ruth's rookie season. SOLD FOR $21,600

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