Lot # 35: 1921 E121 American Caramel Co. Babe Ruth (Babe Without Quotes) - SGC 45/3.5 - “1 of 2”; Only 9 SGC Examples Graded Higher!

Price: $17,500.00

Status: Available


In 1921, the American Caramel Company of Lancaster and York Pennsylvania re-ignited the baseball card market with its landmark E121 candy set. With 80 different subjects represented by fine black & white player images, and similar to the renowned 1916 Felix Mendelsohn M101 and Boston Store/Collins-McCarthy/Standard Biscuit 1917 issues, the most prestigious and sought after player in the 1921 E121 set is Babe Ruth. With that in mind, presented here is an absolutely superb 1921 E121 “Babe” Ruth specimen in an SGC 45/3.5 holder. This offering features Ruth with his hallowed BABE name without quotes, and is one of only two SGC examples at this seldom-surfacing plateau with a mere 9 SGC specimens graded higher! Aside from the aforementioned 1916 and 1917 sets, the E121 Babe Ruth resides as one of his earliest and most desirable cardboard issues. Before the 1920 season, Ruth had been traded from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees with Boston owner Harry Frazee selling Ruth for the hefty price tag of $125,000. True, Frazee loved baseball, but his first passion was producing Broadway hits and he desperately needed money to help fund his new show “No, No Nanette”. History was in the making and in his first season with the Yankees, Ruth annihilated his 1919 home run record of 29 round trippers by walloping an amazing 54 home runs. In the process, unfathomable as it may seem, Ruth belted more dingers than virtually every Major League team, establishing himself as the greatest player to ever grace a baseball diamond! The “Sultan of Swat” would continue his assault on opposing pitchers the year this renowned E121 Ruth baseball card was issued, belting 59 home runs in the 1921 season which stood as the pinnacle mark for only six seasons when Ruth broke his own record by tallying his renowned 60 mark in 1927! For these reasons alone, Ruth’s early 1920’s cards are highly sought after by elite enthusiasts since they represent an era when Ruth was in the process of revolutionizing baseball. True, if you are seeking a vintage Ruth baseball card issued during his playing days there are a countless number of 1930’s Goudey cards to choose from. However, considering the historical perspective associated with his early 1920’s cardboard subjects, even his renowned Goudey specimens easily play second fiddle to his much scarcer E121 issue. Further enticing collectors to capturing this magnificent Babe Ruth cardboard marvel is the fact that he is donning an early Red Sox uniform. In fact, this is the EXACT pose affixed to his ultra-scarce 1917 Boston Store, Collins-McCarthy, Standard Biscuit issues, and it just happens to suffice as a true 1915 rookie Ruth image, originally taken at the Red Sox 1915 Hot Springs, Arkansas spring training facility. We can only assume that since Ruth had only played a single season with the Yankees, rather than seeking out one of his first year Yankee images, the American Caramel Company took the easy way out by utilizing an already existing Red Sox pitching pose. The neat aspect of this card is that it represents Babe Ruth as a New York Yankee while still featuring him in his Boston uniform. Regarding aesthetics, the black & white image is nearly impeccable, emanating crystal clear clarity and perfect contrast as Ruth delivers another tantalizing pitch in his Red Sox uniform. Atypical for most of the Ruth photos you will come across, the Babe depicts a thin waistline since this picture was undoubtedly taken before he began his assault on the hot dog and beer industry. The bold and vivid text beneath is iconic pose portrays the BABE RUTH name without quotes around his BABE name, and the “R.F.- New York Americans” typography is likewise completely intact. The image is extremely well centered, and the corners reflect “VG/EX” quality. Only a faint diagonal wrinkle near the lower right quadrant prevents this card from achieving a higher technical assessment, and no obtrusive surface blemishes are evident. A relatively clean/lightly toned verso is the final exclamation point to one of Babe Ruth’s highly coveted issues. Undervalued for many years, only recently has this issue started to realize significant rising pricing points with a “VG/3” example fetching $22,900 earlier this year. Simply stated, this offering offers the collector an aesthetically pleasing early Ruth card depicting “VG/EX” eye appeal, a Boston Red Sox Ruth “rookie era” image, and considering the hobby’s current soaring cardboard pricing, an issue that has only begun to scratch the surface of its potential value. Babe Ruth dominated our National Pastime like no other player before or after his playing days, justifying why his obscure early baseball cards suffice as the card market’s finest collectibles and investment opportunities!

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