The list of great hobby finds for 2019 has just gotten a little bigger and this one is a doozy.
The first known example of a 1916 Holmes to Homes Bread Babe Ruth rookie card has been uncovered and will be offered at auction next month.
Mile High Card Company has secured the Ruth card along with five other M101-5s with the scarce Holmes to Homes backs from a family in Kansas City that had inherited them many years ago and will feature the card in its catalog. All have been graded SGC 1 (poor).
Holmes to Homes was a Washington D.C. area bakery that used the cards as a promotional incentive. Of all the M101-5 card backs, Holmes to Homes has emerged as the most scarce of all. Just 80 documented examples of the 200-card series have ever been authenticated and graded by PSA, SGC or Beckett.
In addition to the Ruth rookie card, the five other subjects that will be making their introduction to the hobby are Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Napoleon Lajoie, Miller Huggins, and John McGraw. As with past finds from this elusive series, the cards are minimal grade but all are the first and only examples known with the Holmes to Homes reverse.
Previously, the biggest name star to emerge in a Holmes to Homes find was an example of Joe Jackson that received a grade of GOOD 2 and sold in 2008 for over $32,000 through Robert Edward Auctions.
So what about the Ruth?
“The sky’s the limit may be the best way to say that,” Mile High President and CEO Brian Drent told SC Daily. “I’d say it’s entirely possible that the card most likely will sell for $200,000 plus.”
The small number of Holmes to Homes cards in the market today is likely due to three factors: they were produced in a small geographic in the Mid-Atlantic states; you had to buy a larger sized product to get them; those who collected large quantities of cards sent them away to acquire the uniforms and equipment that would outfit an entire team and many of those that weren’t redeemed for prizes were likely thrown away over the years or turned over to paper drives during the wars that would follow.
In a note carried in newspapers later in the spring, the company indicated it had, in fact, given away some of the prizes, but not the uncut sheets of 200 cards.
What happened to those Holmes bread sheets remains a mystery but it’s probably safe to assume not enough kids sent their cards in and the sheets were destroyed in the months or years after the promotion ended.
The Ruth rookie will join three other iconic pre-War cards in the auction: a PSA 2 T206 Wagner, PSA 4 T206 Plank, PSA 4.5 T206 Cobb with Cobb back, PSA 4.5 1933 Goudey Lajoie and the only known 1933 Sport Kings Gum Ruth autographed card (PSA/DNA 9). Mile High has dubbed the auction “The Event.”
“In just about any other auction, this one of a kind Babe Ruth rookie card would be the number one highlight, but with the Murderer’s Row lineup that this October auction features, it’s going to have to share the spotlight with a few other heavy hitters,” said Drent.
The auction will also include the ninth best T206 set on PSA’s Registry (4.43 GPA); a 1950-51 Toleteros Joshua Gibson PSA 4 VG-EX, 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 4 VG-EX, and the earliest known dated single-signed Mickey Mantle autographed baseball, dating to his days as a young minor league player in 1949.
Bidding on the Ruth card and other items opens on Monday, September 23 and concludes on Thursday, October 10 on the Mile High Card Company website.