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1933 V353 World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey) Uncut Sheet with Three Babe Ruths and Lou Gehrig

  • Sold For: $32,588
  • Year: 1933
  • Auction: 2013 Fall
  • Lot #: 5
  • Auction Category: Featured

Outstanding 1933 Goudey "Triple Ruth Sheet" example. This uncut 1933 Goudey sheet (Canadian) includes three Babe Ruth cards as well as Lou Gehrig, and has an enormous significance on many counts. In addition to being an extremely rare Goudey sheet (one of only five examples known) and including three 1933 Goudey (Canadian) Babe Ruth cards (as well as Lou Gehrig), this sheet explains the story of how the 1933 Goudey set was printed and the mystery of the rarity of the famous 1933 Goudey #106 Lajoie.

Complete and extremely rare 24-card production sheet of 1933 V353 World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey) "Big League" Chewing Gum cards (featuring the twenty-four cards numbered from #73 to #94, and #55), highlighted by three Babe Ruth cards (both Ruth cards in the V353 set, plus an additional #80 Ruth, which appears on the sheet twice) and Lou Gehrig (#55). In addition to three Babe Ruths and Lou Gehrig, this sheet also includes four additional Hall of Famers: #74 Leo Durocher, 85 Jimmy Foxx, 89 Joe Sewell, and 90 Lloyd Waner. Of special note, this is a blank-backed sheet, which is particularly interesting as World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey) sheets (and cards) are usually distinguished from the American series very easily by their backs, which are numbered differently. In this case, the backs are blank and there are no numbers, so it would be a reasonable question to ask how one could even differentiate this Canadian Goudey sheet from its American counterpart. The answer is that it is not so easy! But there is a very subtle difference in printing, colors, and card stock between the two otherwise identical (from the front) Goudey issues. The fronts of Canadian Goudeys are almost indistinguishable from their American counterparts unless one is familiar with the very slight color differences.

Any uncut 1933 Goudey sheet would be a highlight in even the most advanced collection, but a sheet with three Babe Ruth cards (in addition to Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx) has a universal appeal, and can be easily appreciated as a museum-caliber display piece by any card collector or noncollector. Fewer than one hundred Goudey sheets from all baseball series are known to exist and only a small number of these include even one Babe Ruth. This sheet is especially significant in that the duplication of the full-length batting-pose card of Babe Ruth on the sheet is directly related to the great rarity of the famous #106 Lajoie in the 1933 Goudey set. The 1933 Goudey set of 240 cards was printed on ten 24-card sheets. The #106 Lajoie, of course, was left out of the 1933 printing. The #106 Lajoie card was not actually printed until 1934 when Goudey specially designed and printed the card to satisfy the demand of those loyal customers who wrote to complain that they could not complete their sets. Those who wrote received a Lajoie card directly from Goudey by mail. If the 1933 Goudey set was printed on ten sheets of 24 cards and there was no #106 Lajoie in this printing, then one card must have been double-printed. It was! This sheet shows that one card - the full-length batting pose card of Ruth - was in fact double-printed.

The 1933 Goudey set is the first of all modern gum-card issues and the most important of all Goudey issues. Uncut sheets of Goudey cards are extremely rare and among the most popular and sought-after of all baseball-card sheets. The "Triple Ruth" sheet and the 1934 Goudey sheet with #106 Lajoie are without question the most important and most desirable 1930s sheets in the entire world of card collecting. This pristine example is sharp and crisp all around, with perfect colors, just a hint of light, even wear to the corners, and an overall Excellent to Mint appearance. This sheet was ideally stored throughout its life, and is entirely crease and wrinkle-free. The sheet is professionally housed in a sealed mylar display sleeve for ideal protection and presentation, and can be easily removed should the buyer desire. We have been told by the consignor that he had the sheet professionally cleaned by Graphic Conservation (no restoration of any kind, simply a routine cleaning of surface dust and dirt when the sheet was sent in for mylar encapsulation), entirely undetectable (because there is nothing to detect). It would be impossible for us to even know it had been cleaned of surface dust and dirt if we were not told this, and we mention this fact strictly for the sake of accuracy and full disclosure. While the extremely high value and significance of the cards that are included on the sheet may have limited bearing on exactly how collectors value the sheet, it is hard not to appreciate that high-grade Ruths and Gehrigs are worth tens of thousands of dollars, and the interior card of Ruth on this sheet is essentially an absolutely perfect, flawless MINT example (albeit a blank-backed example). The last 1933 Goudey "Triple Ruth" sheet offered at auction was sold in REA's May 2011 sale (Lot 643) where it realized $32,313. Whether this sheet sells for more or less is for the market to decide. While value is subjective, it is undisputed that this is one of the greatest of all uncut Goudey sheets, one of the finest "Triple Ruth" sheets in existence, and one of the great treasures in the entire world of card collecting. The sheet measures 14.25 x 11.5 inches and is double-side framed in plexiglass, so the reverse can easily be viewed if desired, to total dimensions of 19 x 16 inches. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $20,000+. SOLD FOR $32,588

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