If you’re looking to expand your baseball card collection, and want a classic from the Golden age of Baseball, look no further than the Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth.
But the question is; how much are Babe Ruth cards worth in today’s climate?
His lasting legacy has spanned the test of time, and as the world moves towards other means of collectibles like NFT’s, are Babe Ruth cards still as valuable as some of the most expensive and sought-after trading cards in the world?
The Man, The Legend
Unless you have been living under a rock, or are only just getting into the sports card collecting space, you’ll know the name Babe Ruth and why it’s such an iconic name in the world of Baseball.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jnr., commonly referred to as The Great Bambino or The Sultan of Swat, achieved much success over his 22 season career playing as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and then finding much of his fame for his slugging out fielding with the New York Yankees, with a career record of 714 home runs that wouldn’t be topped until 1974.
Also known for his life outside of Baseball, he can be considered one of the first ‘marketable’ sports stars, often seen at New York’s most famous nightlife and restaurants.
Ruth is regarded as not only one of the best Baseball players of all time, it would be a lie to say he wasn’t one of the greatest sporting heroes of American culture.
As a card collector, it’s no surprise that a lot of Baseball enthusiasts want to get their hands on a mint condition Babe Ruth card. It’s true when they say legends never die.
How Much Are Babe Ruth Cards Worth?
As there are many Babe Ruth cards, all from different years and different stages of his career as well as after he had hung up his mitts, there is no exact answer of how much a Babe Ruth card will be worth.
It will also depend on the condition of the card, and how it would be graded PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator.)
One thing is for certain; one of the only guarantees of a vintage Babe Ruth card is that the value continues to go up, especially cards that are within his career playing days.
Starting at the low end, many Babe Ruth cards are reprints of the real thing, as more fake cards are more prevalent than ever due to technology and the means to print are readily available.
A fair warning for those that find a near mint condition Babe Ruth card in the attic or under the bedsheets. Most likely it’s a fake.
However, there are plenty of affordable and legitimate Babe Ruth cards that aren’t going to break the bank.
These are typically found after the golden era of the 1930s, and you should look for cards that date around the 1950s and 1960s.
For example, the 1954 Topps Scoops Babe Ruth #41 can be found for as little as $50, although you should expect to find these in fair-to-average condition.
Another option is the 1962 Dickson Orde & Co. The Sports Countries Babe Ruth #11 from the UK showcases Babe Ruth up to bat. You can pick up a less than perfect condition card for under $200.
As we venture into the early stages of Babe Ruth’s career, you will find a variety of cards that are worth a lot of money. Although his rookie-era cards are valuable, they are not his prized possessions.
One of the most valuable editions in the early stages of Babe Ruth’s career is the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth RC #9.
This was printed in blue and red and showcases a seemingly unknown rookie from the minor leagues. This card has sold at auction for over $500,000.
Another popular entry from the 1910s is the 1917 E1135 Collins-McCarthy / H801-8 #147 Babe Ruth that showcases Babe Ruth in his pitching stance for the Boston Red Sox. A PSA 4.5 was sold for around $65,000.
As you move into the 1920s, you will find some more high-valued cards.
For example, the 1921 Frederick Foto Babe Ruth, although not considered one of the top entries as it showcases the Babe as a Yankees player in Red Sox uniform, makes it a unique collectible and will set you back over $40,000.
It’s not until you get to the 1930s that things start to skyrocket in value.
For example, a common 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey card #133 that was graded PSA 9 by the Professional Sports Authenticator was valued at over $1 million.
So you can see that there is some serious money involved.
What’s The Most Expensive Babe Ruth Card In The World?
So which one holds the title for one of the most expensive Babe Ruth cards? This honor goes to the late Dr. Thomas Newman of Tampa Bay.
He owned one of the most extraordinary sports card collections on the entire planet, that spanned over forty years and in 2021 it sold for over $21 million, with some of the memorabilia dating back as far as the late 1800s.
Within this epic collection was a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53 card that has been graded PSA 9 by the Professional Sports Authenticator.
The history of this card is a fascinating one, as it was originally sold as part of a bubble gum promotion, where the card came included in the bubble gum packaging.
Dr. Thomas Newman picked up this rare gem in the mid-1990s for $20,000 which has now sold for more than $4.2 million at auction.
It’s good to see Babe Ruth is still breaking records, even 70 years later.
There’s no denying the impact Babe Ruth has had on the old American pastime, and owning an original card is something collectors across the world are keen to be a part of.
Depending on the era, and the condition the card is in, there’s a wide margin for how much a Babe Ruth card is worth.
Some will sell for a small fortune, whilst others will cost nearly 25 times the cost of an average American house.
However, you can be sure to snap up some cheaper options that aren’t in mint condition and will be from outside of the classic eras when Babe Ruth stepped up to bat.
The more modern the card, generally speaking, the less expensive it will be. There’s truly something for everyone, so get out there and start collecting!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Pre-War Options Available To Purchase?
There aren’t many pre-war options and those that do exist cost hundreds of dollars, if not thousands regardless of the condition and PSA.
What Are Some Of Babe Ruth’s Honors?
He led the New York Yankees to seven American League pennants and four world series titles. Towards the end of his career, in 1936 Babe Ruth became one of the first five players to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
What Is The Rarest Babe Ruth Rookie Card?
The 1916 Babe Ruth Sporting News is considered one of the rarest, which sold for over $700,00 at auction in 2016.