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Circa 1922 Babe Ruth Ice Cream Wrapper - Extraordinary Rarity!
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,200
Offered here is one of the rarest Babe Ruth retail items in the hobby and one that might be a unique survivor, for we have never seen or heard of another example: an ice-cream wrapper from a Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball, produced by the Elite Chocolate Coated Base Ball Co., of El Paso, Texas. The silver-colored wrapper features a center design displaying an illustration of a baseball bearing Ruth's facsimile signature across the sweet spot. Additional lettering on the illustrated ball reads "None Genuine Without This Signature." The text above and below the ice-cream brand name reminds patrons to "Save The Wrapper." A Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball ice cream, which cost ten cents, was simply a ball of either chocolate or vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate. The only other Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball ice cream item we have ever seen was a single promotional postcard featuring two separate photos of Ruth on the front (eating the ice cream) and the product's logo on the reverse (the same blue logo displayed on the offered wrapper).
One reason for the rarity of Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball ice cream items appears to be that the company that produced them, the Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., was short-lived. In all our research, we have only found two references to the company, both dating from 1922. The first is from an entry found online in the November 1922 issue of the Creamery and Milk Plant Monthly that reads "Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., El Paso, Tex. - The Babe Ruth booth received much attention and at the same time was assured by all ice cream manufacturers who attended that they are well pleased with the proposition. A number of contracts throughout the country were closed. The wonderful sale medium that the premium department would give the local manufacturer met with great favor." The second reference to the company that we have found appears on the interior front cover of the May 1922 issue of the Ice Cream Review, a copy of which accompanies the wrapper. In the advertisement, the company reveals the "wonderful sales medium" alluded to in the aforementioned entry: "A 'Babe Ruth' Autographed Regulation League Base Ball Free." As explained in the advertisement, the Elite Chocolate Coated Baseball Co., was basically selling franchises: "There is no big expense connected with making chocolate coated ice cream baseballs, no extensive equipment needed. We furnish everything - molds, wrappers, Babe Ruth Base Balls, and all other necessary details."
One of the selling points of the ice cream was the redemption of wrappers for a Babe Ruth signed baseball: "Our premium proposition will make big money for you. It is the thing that has made big money for others and the drawing power of a 'Babe Ruth' autographed base ball has proved a winner in many leading cities." That redemption policy is probably why no other Babe Ruth Home Run Baseball Ice Cream wrappers have ever been found; they were all sent to the company for a free autographed ball. The offered lone survivor (5.5 x 5.5 inches) displays wear commensurate with its age and fragile nature, including a number of small tears throughout. In Good to Very Good condition overall. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 11.5 x 11.5 inches. This is an extraordinary find and one that will be equally desirable to both Babe Ruth and ice cream collectors alike. Total: 2 items: wrapper and magazine. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,200
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