In 1928, a small set of baseball cards featuring New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth was printed. The release was distributed by his candy company, the George Ruth Candy Company, and remains extremely popular with pre-war collectors today.
1928 George Ruth Candy Cards Overview
These uncataloged cards featured Hall of Famer Babe Ruth and were distributed with his candy products. For whatever reason, his candy company did not use his famous moniker of ‘Babe.’ Instead, the company’s formal name featured his real name – George Ruth.
A total of six cards are found in this small set. They are narrow in appearance and most of the pictures are vertical. One horizontal card is in the set – No. 3, which features Ruth seated with a small child. The cards have a small caption at the bottom as well as one of two phrases – “His Candy Helped Him” or “Babe Ruth’s Own Candy.”
Each one features Ruth in various poses. Ironically, only one features Ruth on the field in game action as Card No. 2 shows the iconic slugger swinging for the fences in the batter’s box. Others depict him on the sidelines and one, showing the Babe wearing a suit, features him off the baseball field entirely.
All six of the cards are rare and certainly desirable. However, the ones featuring Ruth in uniform are more interesting to most collectors.
Of note is that these cards are believed to have been packaged with Ruth’s Home Run candy bars in 1928. While scarce, some of these wrappers have survived and still in existence after a small collection of them are said to have been discovered in the 1980s.
The wax wrappers have a color portrait picture of Ruth against an orange backdrop. The picture of Ruth on them may be the only reason why they were even saved at all. Collectors should beware, though. Many more forgeries of the wrappers than real ones exist today.
Per this interesting thread, ones with a scratched off ‘H’ often indicates the wrapper is not authentic.
Special Redemption Program
The 1928 George Ruth candy cards are pretty rare nowadays. They aren’t impossible to find but fewer than 150 combined have been graded by PSA and SGC. It is worth noting that at least PSA no longer grades them, likely due to forgery concerns.
Part of the reason for their rarity may be due to a special redemption program advertised on the backs of the cards. Backs indicated that collectors could mail a complete set of the cards in to the company’s offices in Cleveland, Ohio and receive a baseball with a Ruth signature on it. It is possible that many of these cards were redeemed and subsequently kept or destroyed by the company to prevent their re-use. Needing only six to complete a set, it certainly would have been easier than other similar types of redemption offers involving dozens of cards.
Whatever the reason, though, the cards are certainly tough to come by these days.
Prices for the 1928 George Ruth candy cards are quite high. In mid-grade condition, you can expect to pay starting prices of around $1,000 for one, although lower grade examples are less expensive. An SGC 50 (4) recently sold for more than $1,100 at auction. There are a few graded examples on eBay as of this writing.
Those aforementioned wrappers are just as expensive as the cards and authentic ones have sold for more than $1,000.
A checklist of the six 1928 George Ruth candy cards is presented below:
- King of them all
- Knocked out 60 home runs in 1927
- The only player who broke his own record
- The popular Bambino eating his Home Run Candy
- A favorite with the kiddies
- The King of swats