CASTLE PINE VILLAGE – Brian Drent held the rare, well-protected 1916 Babe Ruth baseball card in his hands and talked about its value.
“We all know that coins are worth a lot of money, and so are works of art,” Drent said. “Well, why should baseball cards not be seen the same way? Especially a high quality card like this – Babe Ruth’s rookie card. I mean, he’s one of the most iconic sports figures in history, and our whole society revolves around sports “This is a piece of history. And I really think a card like this is art.”
On Thursday, Drent’s Mile High Card Company sold the card at an online auction to an anonymous buyer for $ 2.46 million, setting a record for a Ruth rookie card. The same card was sold just four years ago for $ 600,000.
So what’s so special about this particular card? It’s age and condition.
“The 105-year-old card is in almost new condition and one of the finest known of the surviving, iconic Ruth cards issued by The Sporting News magazine in 1916,” Drent said. “This was Ruth’s first major league baseball card in his legendary career.”
The map showing the 21-year-old as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox is in remarkably good shape. It is encased in a protective plastic housing. It is certified genuine and rated by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) as PSA 7 (on a rating scale of 1 to 10).
“It has excellent centering and does not have any of the ‘print-line’ defects normally seen on the few surviving Ruth, 1916 Sporting News cards,” Drent explained.
The previous record price for a 1916 Sporting News Ruth rookie card was $ 1.45 million, set last summer. It had a PSA rating of 6.
When collectors believe that a card has value, they often turn to PSA or other companies such as Beckett or the Certified Collectibles Group (SGC) to have their card assessed and rated.
PSA remains the gold standard. PSA was founded in 1991 and now has an average of more than 3 million classified cards per year.
A card encapsulated with a high PSA rating that gets a 9 or 10 on the company scale greatly increases the value of the card. Sometimes the value increases as much as 10 times. For example, an almost pristine 1952 Mickey Mantle card that got a PSA 9 was sold for $ 5.2 million in January last year.
In 2020, while the coronavirus pandemic was at its height when the sports card industry was booming, PSA received such an overwhelming number of cards to judge that it had to stop submissions for a while.
According to Sports collectors daily, PSA estimated a one-month record of 830,883 cards in September as the company continued to dig out of a backlog of millions of cards.