Massive Pre-War Card Find Includes Stars … and a Rare Babe Ruth Rookie Card

The large collection includes numerous Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner cards

Pre-war card finds happen more frequently than most collectors think. But they rarely hold the kinds of treasures that a recent one does.

Sports Collectors Daily recounted a major pre-war card find that included more than 700 cards. The cards covered a variety of issues, including 19th Century Old Judge cards, T205s, T206s, T200 Fatimas, and a mix of caramel cards. Unlike some finds, this one has a boatload of big names with multiple Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner cards.

Cobb T206, Cobb T205, Wagner caramels, all four Ruth 1933 Goudeys — you name it. Many pre-war heavy hitters are here and accounted for.

M101-4 151 RuthT205 CobbBeyond that, the real prize was a complete set of M101 Famous and Barr cards, which includes Babe Ruth’s rookie card. The kicker with those cards is that, unlike many of the others, which were in lower-grade condition, these were exceptional.

The Ruth has already been graded and is a PSA 6. Heritage has an estimate of $300,000 or more on it and you can probably bet on the ‘or more’ part. Why do I say that? Because a slightly better blank back PSA 7 sold for $600,000 in an earlier auction this year by REA. This one is only a PSA 6 but looks great and should easily fetch more than half of the PSA 7 sale.

Now, Famous and Barr is surely one of the more common types of M101 cards (there are about 20 different types). The most common ones typically are Sporting News, blank backs, and Famous and Barr. There are two different Famous and Barr sets – M101-4 and M101-5. While the two are very similar, we know this one is from M101-5 as it includes the Jim Thorpe card (also in this find) while M101-4 does not.

The anonymous owner of the cards had a fully complete set of them. That might sound surprising to many who aren’t familiar with these cards but finding full M101 sets is quite possible. That’s because many of them were offered as full sets as part of promotions.

Now, full sets weren’t the only way M101 cards were offered. Successful Farming publication, one of the many M101 advertisers, offered both partial and full sets, depending on how long of a subscription readers signed up for. But we know that some collectors certainly received complete M101 sets as they are occasionally found together and fully assembled like this one was.

Next stop for the cards is the auction block where they will be offered by Heritage.

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