1915 Boston Red Sox Real-Photo Team Postcard with Babe Ruth (Rookie)

Sold For: $26,662
Year: 1915
Auction: 2013 Spring
Lot #: 8
Auction: Featured
Presented is an extraordinary example of one of the great treasures of all Babe Ruth cards and all baseball postcards: the classic "American League Champions" 1915 real-photo postcard of the Boston Red Sox dating from Babe Ruth's rookie season. The postcard captures the Boston Red Sox in a posed team photo, including Babe Ruth, who is seen standing in the back row. Each member of the club is identified in print atop his image. "The Boston Red Sox - American League Champions - Season 1915" appears in white letters below. This postcard has long been recognized as one of the premier baseball postcards in the collecting world, as well as representing one of the very few cards which can truly lay claim to being Babe Ruth's rookie card. In addition to its great rarity, this may be the very first card featuring Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox in the Major Leagues. (The traditional M101-4/5 card of Ruth dates from 1916.) This card has been consigned from the substantial collection of a longtime baseball and postcard collector from the Boston area who acquired it decades ago. Since it has been in his sole possession since that time, it is essentially new to the collecting world! The card (5.5 x 3.5 inches) has never been addressed or mailed, and far exceeds its technically accurate grade with respect to appearance! It has been graded VG 40 by SGC. Do not be fooled by its harsh technical SGC grade! Postcards in general tend to grade modestly because they are automatically assigned a low grade by SGC if they have messages written on them, were addressed, or were mailed as intended. In this case, the card has been harshly downgraded due to the faint price of "5.00" written in pencil and erased (but still easily seen if you are looking for it) in the upper left corner of the reverse. This is no doubt the original price paid at a postcard show decades ago, and writing of prices on the back of postcards in the collectible postcard world is a very common practice to this day. The back is otherwise crisp and perfectly clean. The front is also spectacular and displays perfect clarity and contrast. The corners are extremely strong with only the slightest trace of minor wear, and upon close examination there is an extremely light surface wrinkle on the right border that is only visible when viewed in the proper light and at certain angles. This is a stunning card in all respects and one that presents with a strong overall Excellent to Mint appearance. Visually, as can easily be seen, it is on par with the outstanding high-grade example that appeared as Lot 14 in our May 2012 auction and sold for $21,330. Because the card describes the Red Sox as "American League Champions" and not World Champions, logic dictates that it was issued just prior to the 1915 World Series between the Red Sox and Phillies. That assumption is supported by a previous example of this postcard that we handled (Lot 227 in REA's April 2007 auction) that was postmarked October 12th, which was the date of Game 4 of the 1915 World Series. Although Ruth won eighteen games for the Red Sox during the regular season, his role in the 1915 "fall classic" was limited to a single pinch-hit assignment in the ninth inning of Game One (he grounded out). This is an outstanding previously unseen example of this extremely significant rarity commemorating Ruth's rookie season. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $26,662.50
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