Robert Edward Auctions is very pleased to announce one of the most remarkable and significant new card discoveries in the history of collecting: a previously unknown team card of the 1914 Baltimore Orioles of the International League, including Babe Ruth, issued by The Baltimore News. It is very rare to find any previously undiscovered baseball card of such interest and extraordinary significance that it could leave even the most advanced and knowledgeable collectors in the field stunned. The discovery of this card is one of those very rare times. The card will appear in REA's upcoming spring auction. This card was also accompanied by a newly-discovered 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card, only the tenth example known to exist in the universe, of the card many consider to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world: the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card. This card features Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. "When we were first contacted about the 1914 Ruth rookie card, we were naturally very excited. There is no card we'd rather be called on than a Babe Ruth rookie card" said REA president Robert Lifson. "It was almost as an afterthought that the family happened to mention the 1914 Baltimore News team card. We thought it sounded, well, beyond belief, and fully expected this dream card to be something completely different than what was described to us on the phone. When the image of the card arrived by email, our jaws dropped. This was a card collecting miracle. We're really not sure how much more exciting a newly discovered card could possibly be."
It is very well known that in 1914 The Baltimore News issued a set of individual player cards of the stars of the Orioles of the International League, with reverses featuring the "At Home" and "Abroad" schedules of the team. The cards from this set are legendary for their great rarity, and the set is particularly noted for its inclusion of the first card ever issued of Babe Ruth. The team card is also from 1914, features the same players as the individual player cards, and was issued by the same company. No 1914 Baltimore News Orioles team card has ever previously been known or even rumored to exist. The team card presents a photographic image of the team in a traditional team pose. The white lettering in the foreground reads: "Compliments of Emanuel Daniel, Sporting Editor, 'Baltimore News'." Emanuel Daniels, as suggested by the obverse text, was, indeed, the Sporting Editor of The Baltimore News in 1914. The photographer's name also appears in small type in the foreground ("Leopold, Photo"). Ruth appears standing in the upper left of the back row. Also included among the players in the team photo are Ernie Shore and Ben Egan, who along with Ruth, on July 10, 1914 were sold to the Boston Red Sox by Baltimore Orioles' owner Jack Dunn for a reported $25,000. When the Federal League established a major league team in Baltimore in 1914, directly across the street from the minor league Orioles, the competition hurt Orioles' attendance significantly. Some games drew as few as fifty fans in the stands. To avoid bankruptcy, Dunn was forced to sell his best players to Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin.
The team card is an extraordinarily high quality card in terms of manufacturing production values. The quality of the photograph is astounding. Every detail, from the small Piedmont signs on the steps leading to the grandstand in the background to every detail of the expression on the face of each and every ballplayer, is visible with perfect clarity. The quality of the image is unimprovable. The contrast and tones are flawless. It is fascinating to note that to the best of REA's knowledge, even the image presented on this card is previously unknown. REA has never seen it before and has shown the card to numerous Ruth scholars who have also noted that this is the first time they have ever even seen a traditional team photo of Ruth with Baltimore. It is unknown how this card was issued. It is generally believed that the individual player cards were distributed by paper boys and given away at newsstands. It is likely that the team card was distributed in a similar manner. The individual cards have schedules on their backs and therefore had a utility that may have encouraged their being saved more than the team cards. It is also possible that the team card was issued in a different manner, or in far lesser numbers (which would be consistent with its much more costly and elaborate quality of manufacture). The back is blank. The dimensions are 4.5 x 6.5 inches. The corners of the card have been clipped. It is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. The 1914 Baltimore News team card and the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card will be featured in REA's upcoming spring auction. The collection also included one other 1914 Baltimore News card, a common player which will also be featured in the auction.
These cards were saved for decades by a Providence, Road Island-area family. The grandfather was a collector. His collection included a modest sampling of cards from several eras, ranging from a few 1910 era tobacco cards to 1970s TCMA collector issues, and a little bit of everything in-between. This gentleman was a somewhat casual collector, not part of the organized hobby, simply collecting on his own for his own personal enjoyment. Though these cards were the prizes of his collection, their great significance to the card collecting world was unknown to him. The Babe Ruth rookie card was so rare during his collecting days that it was not yet formally documented, checklisted or even known to exist in the organized hobby. The owner apparently had some connection to the Baltimore area and was a great fan of Babe Ruth. It is interesting to note that he lived in Providence, which of course also has a strong connection to Babe Ruth. (Ruth played for the Providence Grays of the International League late in 1914, after being sold to the Red Sox by Baltimore). When the grandfather passed away in 1985, the family put his cards away. The collection did not see the light of day until 2004, when a family member brought the Ruth card into a convention to see what it might be worth. He was offered $8000 in cash by a dealer. Though the offer was very tempting, the family fortunately decided to hold off on selling at that time, and the card went back into storage. Two years later, when a family member happened to hear about the sale of a similar card sold by Robert Edward Auctions at auction at a much higher price level, the family contacted REA. In 2004 Robert Edward Auctions offered the first-ever PSA-graded example of the 1914 Baltimore News Ruth with a minimum bid of $10,000. That card sold for $243,000 in Vg-Ex condition, instantly catapulting the Babe Ruth rookie to being the second most valuable card in the world, trailing only the T206 Honus Wagner. In 2006, a PSA 1 example was offered by REA, also with a reserve of $10,000. That example sold for $150,800. In light of learning of its extraordinary value, which is far more than the family had ever guessed possible or previously contemplated, they are very excited and happy to offer their card at auction, as well as the team card. The 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card and the 1914 Baltimore News team card will be each have a minimum bid of $10,000.
Robert Edward Auctions' president Robert Lifson has long picked the 1914 Baltimore News of Ruth as the greatest baseball card of all time, and has for many years expressed the opinion that the 1914 Ruth may someday exceed the value of the T206 Wagner to become the most valuable card in the world. That trend has been in motion for years, even as both cards have escalated in value over the years. The first 1914 Baltimore Ruth to ever appear at auction (the card was previously unknown) sold in the late 1980s for $6,600 to legendary collector Jim Copeland. That card was sold with the rest of his collection at the famous Copeland auction in 1991, where it realized $18,700. Barry Halper's example sold at the famous Barry Halper auction in 1999 for $79,500. The Robert Edward Auctions' sale at $243,000 in 2005 more than tripled that record. The sale of a PSA 1 example of the red-and-white variety at $150,800 in 2006 was all the more noteworthy as this price exceeded the public auction sale price of any similarly graded Wagner card (of which there have been many). Because of its far greater rarity, the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie is a card that hits the market with far less frequency than the T206 Wagner. Though this is the third example to be offered by Robert Edward Auctions in as many years, it would be a great mistake to assume that others will surface in the future with the same degree of frequency. "We have been very lucky when it comes to this card. Actually, even we can't believe our good fortune. Of the ten different examples of the Babe Ruth rookie card known to exist, over the years REA has handled the sale of six of them" reports Lifson. "Like the occasional Wagner that is found in an original collection of T206s, there is always the possibility of another Babe Ruth rookie being discovered, but we don't know when, where, or if such a discovery will occur. Though, if our luck holds out, and if the past is any indication, we do expect a call!" There are very few cards which transcend the world of card collecting and whose great significance can so easily be appreciated by collectors and non-collectors alike. The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card is one of the few, and its great significance and rarity define it as one of the collecting world's greatest treasures. The 1914 Baltimore team card will no doubt take its place as another one of card collecting's most significant treasures. Both cards will be encapsulated by PSA. The Ruth card has been graded PSA 2 (downgraded from a higher level due to a very small amount of paper loss on the reverse). The team card will be encapsulated as simply "Authentic" due to its clipped corners.
Robert Edward Auctions is one of the world's leading collectibles auction companies, specializing in the rarest and most historic baseball cards and memorabilia, as well as other sport, non-sport, and Americana collectibles.
For further information regarding consignments or to register for a complimentary auction catalog please contact: Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069 or call (908)-226-9900 or visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com.