Babe Ruth is forever tied with the New York Yankees in people’s minds, but a baseball card from the All-Star’s rookie year with the Baltimore Orioles could set a record when it goes up for auction later this month.
Robert Edward Auctions is putting the extraordinarily rare card up for bids. The opening bid will be $2.5 million, but the company expects the card to fetch at least $10 million and perhaps well above that.
The 1914 Baltimore News card features a 19-year old Ruth in his rookie season. The red and white image shows Ruth when he was still a pitcher and hadn’t yet transitioned to the Sultan of Swat.
“Simply put, the Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card is the most significant baseball card ever produced,” said Brian Dwyer, president of REA in a statement. “This card is the genesis of Babe Ruth, a man who transcends the game of baseball. This card is not only one of the most elusive pieces of sports memorabilia, it’s one of the rarest collectibles in American history.”
The big question is whether this card will set a new record for collectible card auction prices. That currently stands at $12.6 million, which a fan paid for a 1952 mint condition Mickey Mantle card last year.
The card has been owned by the same family for over 100 years and has been on display at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum since 1998. It will go back on display there on Nov. 15, along with a blue version of the card. Another viewing will be held in New York on Nov. 29, but only for registered guests. There are only 10 known versions of this card in existence.
“This is a card that every collector dreams of owning, and with so few examples in existence, there is almost no desire to sell these cards by the few privileged enough to own them,” said Dwyer. “It is very likely to be the only example we’ll see available for purchase for years to come.”