One of the most iconic sports cards ever produced, the legendary 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, will be headlining the Mile High Card Company October 25 – November 11, 2021 auction. Though not quite as rare as the T206 Honus Wagner card, it’s been far more elusive as several Wagner’s have seen the auction block in recent years, but a PSA 7 graded Sporting News Ruth RC hasn’t seen a public sale in well over three years. When asked if he thought the card would break into the top 10 of all sports card sales, MHCC CEO and President Brian Drent said, “Shouldn’t it?. We’ve seen a T206 Wagner top six million and cards of Luka Doncic, Pat Mahomes, and LeBron James go over four million. This is a 105 year old rookie card, one of the finest in existence, and it’s Babe Ruth.”
Unlike the above mentioned issues, the Babe Ruth rookie wasn’t part of a nationwide trading card campaign but rather the creation of independent printer Felix Mendelsson, who produced the blank-backed cards with the vision of selling them to sponsors who put advertising on the reverse and distribute them as baseball-themed business cards. Utilizing actual black and white photos instead of the colored lithographs featured on tobacco and candy cards of the era, the Mendelssohn series gave us a look at the Babe in real time; not yet a hulking home run masher for the Yankees but rather a skinny 21-year old pitcher coming off of his first full season with the Boston Red Sox. It would be a breakout year for Babe, posting a 23-12 record while leading the American League with nine shutouts and a 1.75 ERA over 323 ⅔ innings, adding a post-season win and a 0.64 ERA to help Boston to a World Series championship.
The Sporting Life Ruth RC was produced in much smaller quantities than other important cards like the 1933 Goudey #91 Babe Ruth and 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, both of which appear on the top 10 sales list at $4.2M and $5.2M respectively. “The evaluation of PSA 7 for a card of this magnitude is truly impressive but still seems conservatively graded” said Drent. One of the common problems of the M101-4 series, and the Ruth card in particular, is the presence of roller lines that impede upon the central image, but this example shows no evidence of that and projects eye appeal comparable to the few existing PSA 8 examples, which haven’t been seen in over a decade and would assuredly vault to the top of the list as the first to crack the $10 million dollar mark.
Following up the M101-4 are two of the most significant cards of the modern era; a 1993 SP Foil #279 Derek Jeter PSA 10 GEM MINT and a 2017 National Treasures Holo Silver #161 Patrick Mahomes II Rookie Jersey Patch Auto (RPA) 20/25 BGS 9 MINT AUTO 10. Even with a fantastic trio like this, you don’t want to overlook some of the other hobby icons offered like two 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle cards, graded PSA 3 and PSA 2, 1948 Leaf #8 Satchel Paige PSA 3 VG, 1948 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson PSA 5 EX, 1950-51 Toleteros Joshua Gibson PSA 4 VG-EX, 1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle PSA 6 EX/MT, 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays PSA 6.5 EX/MT+, 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle Gray Back PSA 8.5 NM/MT+, 1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson Gray Back PSA 9 MINT, 1954 Topps #128 Henry Aaron PSA 8 NM/MT, 1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell PSA 6.5 EX-MT+, 1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain PSA 8 NM/MT, 1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson PSA 8 NM/MT, 2000-01 SP Authentic Sign Of The Times Triple #KBMJMG Bryant/Jordan/Johnson 05/25 BGS, 2007 Upper Deck Premier Trios Autographs #PTJJJ Jordan Lebron Magic 12/15 PSA 8.5 NM-MT+, 2019 Panini Passing The Torch #PTTT-13 Brady/Manning/Mahomes Autograph 1/5 PSA 6 EX/MT Auto 9, 2019-20 Panini Spectra Nebula #109 Zion Williamson 1/1 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT, and 1926 Lambert & Butler Who’s Who in Sport #2 R.T. Jones PSA 9 MINT.
Collectors of unopened material with once again be very satisfied at the assortment of packs, boxes, and cases, led by a 1989 Upper Deck baseball low number unopened wax case, 1996-97 Bowman’s Best Basketball Unopened Hobby Box, 1985 Nike Promo Set Michael Jordan Unopened Pack, 2012-13 Panini Marquee Basketball Unopened Hobby Case, and 2012-13 Panini Basketball Elite Factory Sealed Unopened Hobby Case. An Exceptional Babe Ruth Autographed Home Run Ticket 8/11/1926 HR #346 PSA/DNA leads the impressive selection of memorabilia, which includes a 1919 Joe Jackson Type I Original Photograph With Fabulous Image of Jackson Batting PSA/DNA, Spectacular Babe Ruth Signed Original Studio Photograph JSA Full Letter, Rare Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons Signed OAL (Barnard) Ball JSA, Ken Griffey Jr. Signed Team Ball When He Was 14 Years Old JSA, and a rare 1979 Chicago Black Hawks/Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky NHL Debut Ticket Stub PSA 3 VG (MK).
If you’re looking for high-quality complete sets you’ll find those in the MHCC November auction as well with offerings of a 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder Complete Set – Completely PSA Graded #10 on PSA Set Registry, 1986 Fleer Complete Set With PSA 8 Jordan, 1960 Topps Football Complete Set #3 Finest on PSA Set Registry, 1971 Topps Hockey Complete Set #18 On PSA Set Registry 8.32 GPA, 1971-72 Exceptionally Scarce Bazooka Hockey Complete Set, and 1966 Batman Riddler Back Near Complete High Grade Set – Completely PSA Graded With Secret Decoder #4 Finest on PSA Set Registry, as well as complete baseball sets from 1941 Play Ball, 1953 Topps, 1955 Topps, 1956 Topps, and 1959 Fleer Ted Williams.
This museum quality piece is just the start of an incredible event that will close out the 2021 year. MHCC is presently working hard to make next year even bigger and better, and there’s still time to get your consignments in for the first auction of 2022. If you desire the maximum possible return for your prized sports cards and/or memorabilia, please call our office at (303) 840-2784 to speak with one of MHCC’s team of experts or visit www.milehighcardco.com.