One of what may be only two 1933 Butter Cream Babe Ruth cards has been uncovered along with another 1914 Ruth minor league "rookie" card.
Robert Edward Auctions sold a 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News card for $200,000 in its April catalog sale. Now another has been discovered. Company President Rob Lifson reports the card was saved as a keepsake by a non-collecting family in Baltimore.
In an e-mail sent Tuesday, Lifson related the story:
"The consignor’s great-grandfather was a big Baltimore Orioles baseball fan who attended many games. He apparently kept this card because it had the schedule of Baltimore Orioles (International League) home games printed on the reverse. He gave the card (along with many others, all of which, unfortunately, were thrown out many years ago) to his ten-year-old son in 1914. The son, in turn, gave the card to his son (our consignor’s father), as a memento of his grandfather. (I know, I know…all we ever got from our relatives were old family photos – never a Babe Ruth rookie card…)"
The grandson of the original owner kept the card stored in a fireproof box for thirty years. He then gave the card to his son. The family never thought that the card had any monetary value – it was a just a family keepsake that very little thought was given to. It was kept as an unusual sentimental link to the consignor’s great grandfather, and a reminder of the family’s long history in Baltimore (they still live there). Upon recently learning of the value of the card, they were naturally stunned, and carefully investigated how to proceed. In light of the extraordinary value of the card, the family has decided to sell it at auction, and we are delighted that they have chosen REA."
There are 11 known 1914 Ruth cards in existence.
Perhaps of even more interest is the discovery of a 1933 R306 Butter Cream Confectionery card. Believed to be one of two surviving examples, the Ruth card’s existence wasn’t even known until 1989. Collectors long believed the set to be complete at 29 cards before then.
The Butter Cream Ruth has been graded by PSA, the 1914 Ruth by SGC. While REA will not be attending, Lifson was attempting to make arrangements to have them on display at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.