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Newly Discovered 1914 "Baltimore News" Team Card Including Babe Ruth
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $52,875.00
Presented is 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 would be hard to even think of a more unlikely and incredible new card discovery. 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. This card came from the same collection and was accompanied by the newly discovered 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card presented in this auction. The collection also included one other 1914 Baltimore News card (a common player which is presented as a separate lot elsewhere in this auction). When we were first contacted about the 1914 Ruth rookie card, it was almost as an afterthought that the family happened to mention the 1914 Baltimore News team card. We thought it sounded, very simply, 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. The set is particularly noted for its inclusion of the first card ever issued of Babe Ruth, featuring Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. This 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 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 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.
This is an extraordinarily high quality card in terms of manufacturing production values. The quality of the photograph is astounding. The continuous-tone silver print image is of the highest quality. 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 our knowledge even the image presented on this card is previously unknown. We have never seen it before and have shown the card to numerous Ruth scholars, including those at The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, who have also noted that this is the first time they have ever even this 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). One of the many interesting things about this card to us is that no one can possibly know what it is worth. One person's opinion is just as good as another's. There is nothing else like it and there is no right answer. Dimensions: 4.5 x 6.5 inches. The back is ink stamped "Photo By Harry B. Leopold, Baltimore, MD" and is otherwise blank. Condition: The corners of the card have been clipped. A hint of toning from glue can be seen in the extreme corners of the reverse, where the card was glued to a scrapbook page before being professionally removed. It is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $52,875.00
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