The market for vintage autographed cards has been heating up and two 1928 Exhibits are fanning the flames in an auction set to close next weekend.
Heritage Auctions is offering the duo—Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig—in its August auction. Both are already nearing their pre-sale estimates of $20,000 in early bidding. While the cards show wear that would be considered typical for their age, the fountain pen signatures are bold and clear—the Ruth garnering an 8 with the Gehrig rated 9. Both come with PSA/DNA and JSA authentication.
The Ruth card contains not only his autograph on the front, but several other late 1920s Yankee autographs on the back including Leo Durocher, Earl Combs and Benny Bengough.
This blue-toned novelty cards, typically sold in vending machines, were issued when Ruth was at the peak of his fame, having belted 60 home runs in 1927 as he led the Murderer’s Row Yankees to a World Series sweep. In 1928, he would again lead both leagues in homers with 54 and the powerhouse Yankees again swept to a championship.
Gehrig topped the majors with 147 RBI in 1928, hitting four homers in the Series sweep of the Cardinals.
The 1928 Exhibit set contained 64 cards measuring 3-3/8″ by 5-3/8″. The player’s name, team and league are printed in white at the bottom of the card along with “Ex. Sup. Co. CHGO. – Made in U.S.A.”
Unsigned copies of Gehrig and Ruth in lower to mid-grade typically sell for $1,000-$2,000.