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1933 Blue Bird Babe Ruth - Side View Batting Pose- The ONLY Known Example!
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $6,000
Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. Presented is a rarity of mythical proportions: The only known example of the extremely rare side-view variation of New York Yankees Hall of Famer Babe Ruth from the 1933 Blue Bird issue. Produced as a means of advertisement for Blue Bird soft drinks, the card measures 3-7/8 x 5-7/8 inches and features a black-and-white image of Ruth in his classic follow-through batting pose with his name printed in the bottom left corner. The reverse details a glove-and-ball redemption program, which reads: "This $3.50 Spalding Babe Ruth Professional Glove (Genuine Horse Hide and Leather-Lined) For 29 Blue Bird Bottle Caps and $1.39 - This Spalding Official League Ball (Cork Center) For 29 Blue Bird Bottle Caps and 89¢." The Blue Bird Ruths are sometimes referred to as premiums due to their size. Two variations of Ruth exist: the offered side-view and a front-view pose, which pictures Ruth head-on posed in a follow-through batting stance. In addition to differences in the angle at which the poses are shot, the side-view variation appears to capture Ruth in game action, with the outline of a batter's box at his feet and a full stadium visible in the background, while the front-view variation appears to be posed, or perhaps in an on-deck circle, as multiple players are visible in the background. The image used to produce the offered side-view example is a particularly rare Ruth image, used on only two other cards to the best of our knowledge: the 1926 Postcard-Back Exhibit and the 1929 Star Player Candy.
The Blue Bird cards were virtually unknown until the legendary discovery of a find consisting of fewer than fifty examples in 1994, comprised entirely of front-view variations, which yielded almost all of the examples known today. (Prior to that find, the only example we had previously encountered was part of the Barry Halper collection.) The side-view variation was entirely unknown and uncataloged until 1999, when card scholar and collector extraordinaire Frank Ward discovered it housed inside of an old scrapbook and was able to confirm its existence to Sports Collector's Digest, who at the time did an article on his discovery and updated the checklist in its guides. To this day, not a single additional example has ever surfaced! For reference, PSA and SGC have graded thirty front-view variation cards combined. The offered card is very pleasing in appearance, grading modestly entirely due to the presence of glue residue on the reverse from its removal from the scrapbook. The image is crisp, the corners are strong (slightly more wear in the upper left), and only a few surface wrinkles are visible under close inspection. Aside from the previously mentioned residue, the back is boldly printed and entirely intact. This is a most exceptional example of one of Babe Ruth's rarest cards (literally the only example known), dating from the prime of his career, and a remarkable rarity that would be a significant addition to even the most advanced Babe Ruth, Hall of Fame, or ultimate rarities collection. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,000
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