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Circa 1915 Babe Ruth Rookie-Era Real-Photo Postcard
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $5,875
Real-photo postcard picturing Babe Ruth in his earliest days as a major leaguer as a member of the Boston Red Sox during the club's historic 1915 to 1918 World Championship dynasty. Graded VG/EX 50 by SGC. Ruth is captured in uniform as he poses for the camera on field. Given the far-off background scene, which pictures two other players, a small wooden grandstand, and a fenced backstop, it seems reasonable to assume that this photo was taken during spring training. The only question is, when? Unfortunately, the only two precise dating qualifiers we have are the uniform Ruth is wearing, and the postcard typography on the reverse, neither of which can definitively date it to one specific year. The uniform Ruth is wearing (solid white with a striped sock) was used by the Red Sox from 1915 through 1919. However, the typography around the stamp box on the reverse of the postcard dates from 1904 through 1918. Therefore, from these two facts alone we know this postcard was produced sometime between 1915 and 1918, a period in which Ruth went from being the best left-handed pitcher in baseball to its greatest slugger. That same period also witnessed the Red Sox winning three World Championships. In this photo Ruth certainly has the same trim physique as found on his 1916 M101-4/5 Sporting News rookie card (and this postcard may predate even that rookie-card classic) though this is clearly not a scientific approach to dating and we simply cannot be certain with the information known whether this image is from 1915 or a year or two later. Regardless of its exact year of origin, this postcard holds the distinction of being the earliest known real-photo postcard picturing Ruth by himself. It is also exceedingly rare and in fact may be unique. We have never seen another example of this postcard and the image of Ruth is equally unfamiliar. Naturally, images of Ruth during his five-year tenure with the Red Sox are much scarcer than those picturing him in pinstripes, making the discovery of this postcard all the more significant. The photo displays exceptional clarity (one can almost count the laces on Ruth's cleats) and the only flaw of note on the card is a small water stain of little or no consequence near the bottom white border. The reverse is clean and bears no evidence of writing or postal use. This is a fascinating rookie-era Babe Ruth photographic piece in all respects dating from his early years with the Red Sox. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,875
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