Sports Collectors Daily

Storm Forces Sale of 1914 Baltimore News Ruth

One of only ten known 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth cards is coming back on the market as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

A New York collector who just purchased it in September for $325,000 in a private transaction has consigned the card to Robert Edward Auctions after a home he owned was destroyed by the massive storm that swept across the east coast last month. The auction company handed over an advance of $100,000 last Monday after receiving a call from the collector who was in need of emergency funds and decided to part with his investment.

“Ironically, he said he bought the card to put away for a rainy day,” said REA President Rob Lifson.  “A natural disaster, of course, is a very unfortunate reason to get a consignment but at the same time we’re glad to be able to provide the service, provide immediate funds requested for advance, and give him some peace of mind. He called on Sunday and we met him with the check on Monday. He was disappointed to have to put the card on the market but he just felt it was the responsible thing to do under the circumstances.”

The card, which features Ruth as a member of the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles, is graded PSA 1.  It sold at auction for $152,750 in 2009.  In September, REA sold a PSA 2 example for $575,000  in a private transaction.

Of the ten known examples of the card, three are in one major private collection and two in another according to Lifson, whose company holds an annual catalog sale of high end, rare sports cards and memorabilia every April.  One example is on loan to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore.

After flying somewhat under the radar for years, the 1914 Ruth and 1916 M101-5 Ruth have exploded.

“The minimum bid on this card will be $100,000 but we expect it will go much higher,” Lifson said.

The collector will receive the rest of the proceeds from the final selling price after the auction closes next spring.