« Back to Press and Media Coverage

Rare Babe Ruth Rookie Card Sells for $7.2 Million Becoming Most Expensive Ruth Item Ever Sold

PJ Kinsella

PJ Kinsella in Press and Media Coverage
Dec 12 — 3 mins read

It also ranks as second-highest price realized at auction for a trading card

Chester, NJ - December 4, 2023 - A 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card made history, selling for $7.2 million at Robert Edward Auctions and becoming the most expensive Babe Ruth item ever sold and the second-highest trading card sale ever at auction. The card captured the attention of the hobby from the moment it was announced as part of REA’s Fall Catalog Auction, as it was the first publicly available example in more than a decade as well as the finest condition example to appear at auction in more than fifteen years. The card features Ruth as a 19-year old on his hometown Baltimore Orioles of the International League.

The Baltimore News Ruth card is graded SGC VG 3 and is the second-highest graded example in existence with a PSA VG-EX 4 being the only example graded higher. One of only ten that exists, the card was the first trading card ever produced of the Great Bambino and represents the origin of his legendary career.

REA’s Fall Auction ran from November 17 to December 3. A total of 93,151 bids were placed by a record number of bidders, generating more than $22.1 million in sales, the highest in REA’s 30-year history.

This example of the Baltimore News Ruth rookie card is remarkable on several levels, remaining in the same Baltimore-area family for more than 100 years and serving as the resident example housed at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum from 1998 until earlier this year. Originally collected by a newspaper boy for the Baltimore News in 1914, the card was preserved alongside fourteen additional examples from the Baltimore News set.

“This auction was a watershed moment for the Baltimore News Babe Ruth card, for REA, and for the hobby. We are thrilled to see Babe Ruth stake his spot in the top three all-time with this record-setting result, and we are proud to have brought this incredibly significant card to auction for what may be the only time for many years to come,” said REA President Brian Dwyer. “This was a historic offering and a superb price realized against the backdrop of our largest auction ever.”

In addition to the Baltimore News Ruth card, REA’s Fall Auction was marked by the sales of several other notable Babe Ruth items, including:

  • 1933 R319 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth PSA NM-MT 8 - $396,000
  • Extremely Rare 1921 Frederick Foto Babe Ruth SGC GOOD 30 (One of Only Six Known) - $168,000
  • 1933 R319 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth SGC NM 7 - $168,000
  • Exceptional 1921 Babe Ruth Original News Service Photograph PSA/DNA Type I (Image Used For 1921 and 1923-1924 Exhibits) - $114,000
  • 1933 R319 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth SGC NM 7 - $108,000
  • 1933 R319 Goudey #181 Babe Ruth SGC NM+ 7.5 - $75,000

Overall, the auction featured 15 items that exceeded $100,000, including:

  • 2013 Tom Brady New England Patriots Game-Used Road Jersey (Photomatched to Four Games by Resolution and MeiGray Group) - $264,000
  • 1955 Bowman #202 Mickey Mantle PSA MINT 9 - $246,000
  • 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA NM 7 - $246,000 (a 1952 Topps Mantle PSA EX 5 sold for $168,000)
  • 1997-1998 Skybox Metal Universe Championship Precious Metal Gems Basketball #23 Michael Jordan #14/50 BGS NM-MT+ 8.5 - $240,000
  • Very Rare 1917-1920 M101-6 Felix Mendelsohn (Sporting News) Joe Jackson -$117,000
  • 1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson Rookie SGC VG 40 - $108,000
  • 1954 Topps #94 Ernie Banks Rookie SGC MINT 9 (1 of 2 - Highest Graded) - $102,000
  • 1959 Topps Complete Master Set (581): #10 PSA Set Registry (8.08 GPA) - $102,000

About Robert Edward Auctions

Robert Edward Auctions (REA) is one of the leading auction houses in the US specializing in sports and non-sports cards and memorabilia. For more than 30 years, REA has established a reputation as the industry benchmark through its unparalleled and unwavering commitment to integrity, knowledge and transparency. The Company has brokered some of the most lucrative sales and handled some of the most coveted pieces of sports memorabilia in the hobby’s history, including the record-setting sale of the extremely desirable T206 Honus Wagner card for $6.6 million in August 2021. In July 2023, the company acquired Huggins & Scott Auctions. For more information, visit https://robertedwardauctions.com/ and follow REA on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. You can also contact us and request our auction catalog by emailing [email protected].

Media Contact:

P.J. Kinsella

Communications Director

O: 908-226-9900

M: (973) 255-7153

[email protected]

Robert Edward Auctions
Robert Edward Auctions © 2020-2023 All rights reserved.

For over 30 years REA has offered an unparalleled tradition of integrity, knowledge and professionalism. We specialize in the very best in all areas of baseball collectibles, as well as other sport, non-sport, and Americana.

P.O. Box 430 Chester, NJ 07930

Join our mailing list and never miss an important auction announcement!