The 1921-22 Schapira Brothers Big Show Candy set has always been one of few details. While 20 cards were previously discovered it was generally believed that the full checklist may not have been known.
That assumption proved to be correct.
Recently, a new previously unknown card was added to the checklist and it’s a big one. A Babe Ruth card is the latest find in this rare set. That pushes the checklist to 21 and the card was recently graded by Andy Broome of Beckett Grading Services / Beckett Vintage Grading. The discovery was first noted in the latest issue of Beckett’s Vintage Collector publication.
The card received a technical grade of Very Good (3). It is now headed to auction and will be a part of Robert Edward Auctions’ spring offering. Pictured is a fairly straightforward, half-body pose of a younger Babe Ruth.
What the card might fetch in the auction is anybody’s guess but it is likely to be into the five figures based on past sales. Ty Cobb is the only comparable player in the set and a graded 2 sold for nearly $12,000 at a Heritage auction back in 2015.
The Ruth find is surprising, no doubt. But it was always possible that a Ruth would some day surface and, despite the scarcity of the set, one could even have argued it was likely. That’s because Ruth was the subject of a six-card Schapira Brothers set produced in 1921 where cards of him were printed onto candy boxes. That Schapira Brothers, a New York company, would produce a set of other major leaguers and leave out the Yankees’ biggest star just didn’t make too much sense.
From a set perspective, this addition obviously keeps the door open for future discoveries. If there was any doubt that the set could have been larger in the past, that has now vanished with the surfacing of the Ruth. It’s now abundantly clear that more Big Show Candy cards could be found.
Safe to say, however, that any new finds almost certainly won’t be to the magnitude of this Ruth card. With Cobb already know to be in the set, the only player that could challenge Ruth for supremacy if discovered would be Joe Jackson. And with his last professional season coming in 1920, his appearance here wouldn’t be likely.
New unchecklisted finds such as this one are always exciting. But when you get a player as popular as Ruth added to a set, that makes it exponentially more important.