Babe Ruth’s big league debut on July 11, 1914 came just after what is now the rarest, perhaps most sought after baseball card ever made: the 1914 Baltimore News promo card, which pictures him in the final days of his minor league career. You won’t find it among the most watched Babe Ruth cards on eBay. Most of the time, on the rare occasions when they’re offered, they go into major catalog auctions.
However, you can find all kinds of vintage cards of the Bambino up for grabs most any time. Some are very expensive; others surprisingly not. Make no mistake, though. The market for The Babe has never been hotter.
In 1916, Ruth would be pictured on a wide-ranging series of rectangular cards that were distributed by The Sporting News, clothing stores and other outlets looking to promote themselves via pictures of baseball players. His career lasted through one World War, the roaring 20’s and the onset of the Depression.
The Babe has been gone a long time now, but he’s definitely not forgotten by collectors who chase the most popular Babe Ruth cards with abandon. He’s the key to virtually any set he ever appeared in.
Every grade has a buyer. ‘Relic cards’ and the rare autograph cut cards are the premier prizes in any modern trading card issue.
Ruth’s earliest cards have been increasing in value at a clip that would surpass just about any investment out there. Oh, to be the owner of that earliest Ruth card who saw a six-year return of more than 100% when his card sold for over $450,000 .
From those that feature him as an ace pitcher to the mid-1930’s Goudey cards, produced as his career was winding down, everyone wants to someday own an original, vintage Ruth card. Many of the best are sold via catalog auctions. Others are in store inventories or sold in eBay auctions.
You want rare Ruth? How about plunking down $65,000 for a 1928 Sweetman?
You like high grade? Maybe a 1932 US Caramel graded SGC 88?
The market for Ruth cards is vibrant with those vintage dandies competing with some of the new chase cards. Here’s a real-time list of the current ten most watched Babe Ruth cards on eBay. You can bookmark this page and check back regularly to see what collectors and dealers are tracking: