Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons 75
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/22/2018
“In an age of conspicuous consumption, Ruth was the world’s most conspicuous consumer.”

-Ken Burns, from the documentary Baseball

Babe Ruth’s assent into American folklore could not have happened at a more perfect time. Ruth was the hero that represented what America was during the Roaring 20’s. The slugger was paid more than the President, was the most recognized human being on the planet, provided an alcohol-starved nation silent permission to be decadent and never exited the spotlight once its luminescent power surrounded him. Ruth was the world’s bigger than life symbol that the conservative morays of the Victorian era and the stiff, nose-to-the-grindstone lifestyle of the first two decades of the twentieth century were not only over, but no longer relevant.

While most readily identified for his towering drives that landed in the depths of stadiums once reserved only for peanut vendors, Ruth the pitcher, as pictured on his major league rookie card, would most certainly have been a Hall of Fame pitcher if not for his bombastic bat. As a tribute to The Bambino’s pitching prowess, the Yankees allowed Ruth to start on the mound in his final game in pinstripes. The aging superstar went the distance to beat his old team, the Red Sox, and remind the world that even in the twilight of his career, he was often nothing short of unhittable.

A Treasure From A Treasured American Department Store

From the late 1800’s until the advent of subdivisions and shopping malls, every major U.S. city featured a major department store, that served as a catalyst for fashion, style, the local economy and public pride. New York had Macy’s. In Philadelphia, it was Wannamakers. Chicago had Marshall Field’s. And in St. Louis, the fourth largest city in America when this card was printed, Famous-Barr dominated the downtown landscape with a blazing white terra cotta-faced store that encompassed a full city block and rose over 10 floors above the bustling city streets. Embellished with elaborate decorations and carvings, Famous Barr provided goods for every class of St. Louisan, from the rising middle class workers that filled the factories, the shoe manufacturers, clothing makers, and of course breweries to the millionaires that filled the mansions along the nation’s single largest public park, Forest Park. St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood, home to the world’s largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch actually boasted more than 20 breweries prior to prohibition. In baseball circles, as they related to the hapless St. Louis Browns, the Gateway To The West was “First in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League.

For youngsters shopping in the Boys Department of Famous Barr just over a century ago, a special treat awaited. With every purchase, young men received a free baseball card. And for one lucky lad, this epic Babe Ruth rookie card was the underestimated prize of the vaunted department stores baseball card set.

A Rarity Among Rarities

While values for Ruth rookie cards have skyrocketed from just over $15,000 in 2005 to well over $700,000 in 2016, the Famous Barr Ruth rookie remains among the most scarce and most coveted of all Ruth rookies, due to the rarity of this regional issue. Unlike the blank backed M101-4s or those cards issued by another St. Louis-based entity, The Sporting News, Famous Barr cards simply don’t find their way to market.

Rated A Strong Buy

For hobby veterans, you will remember the rise of the Honus Wagner, T206 and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card. Well, the Ruth rookie could possibly surpass each of those cards based on ROI and percentage of value increased basis over a ten-year period. Will the Ruth rookie surpass Mantle and Wagner in terms of top end price? Probably not. However, if you’re looking for a faster rate of return, the Ruth rookie just might outperform the big two in the short run.

A Cornerstone Acquisition

For the hobbyist or investor who demands the pinnacle of what memorabilia has to offer, this card can serve as a foundation piece, a cornerstone and a catalyst for more and even bigger acquisitions. With high grade Ruth rookies now approaching the three-quarters of a million dollar range, the entire card population will rise in value and prestige.

Truly, in baseball terms, there can be no greater prize imaginable than the first ever card issued of the game’s greatest player, most fabled slugger, and most recognizable face.

Given Goodwin & Company’s ties to St. Louis, this Famous Barr issue is particularly close to our hearts. If you need more information about the card, about Famous Barr, or would like a personal viewing, don’t hesitate to contact us. We doubt you’ll see another Famous Barr Ruth rookie any time in the near future.

The listed graph reflects the sale of 1916 Babe Ruth Rookie cards graded “Good/2” over the past 9 years (2009 – 2017). Since there are not an abundance of Babe Ruth rookies graded “Good/2”, we took the 10 pricing points over the past nine years and did a 3-year average for each. It is clearly obvious that the Ruth rookie value has increased at an incredible rate, with the “2015-2017” $127.6K average sale depicting a staggering $112.7K or 756% increase over the “2009-2011” period, and a $75K or 143% increase over the “2012-2014” period. It should also be noted that the last sale for a “Good/2” Ruth rookie recently realized a record price of $168K in a 2017 Spring auction, substantiating the notion that there appears to be no boundaries for the pricing potential of a 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card.

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1916 Famous & Barr Co. Babe Ruth Rookie #151 PSA 2 Good

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $48,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $84,332.40
Number Bids: 5
Auction closed on Friday, June 22, 2018.
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