Babe Ruth’s Most Underrated Cards
My top picks for the most undervalued cards of the legendary slugger
Despite most of his cards being quite valuable, Hall of Famer Babe Ruth does actually have some cheaper issues. But there’s a difference in a player’s most affordable cards and his most undervalued cards.
While Ruth has some cheaper cards, not all of them are what I would consider great values. In terms of bang for the buck, here’s where I think four of Ruth’s best bargains are.
I wrote about this card recently when discussing the low value relative to Ruth’s 1933 Goudey cards. If I’m buying one Ruth card as a collector and trying to get his best card for the least amount of money, I’m probably heading to the 1935 Goudey set.
The set, commonly called ‘4-in-1’ features four players on a single card. Ruth is featured on one card along with three others, including fellow Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville.
I’m not a huge multi-player card fan but they don’t bother me personally. If you’re the same way, this card has a lot going for it.
It’s one of the few cards to feature Ruth as a member of the Boston Braves right at the end of his career and it’s also a legit gum card from one of the top producers in the pre-war era.
The card isn’t dirt cheap but it is when you compare it to his 1933 cards and starting around $900-$1,000 these days, it’s definitely gone up in value. But it’s still significantly cheaper than his 1933 Goudey cards and even with the increased price, still a nice score for one of his final cards as a player.
1932 Bulgaria Sport
I linked my earlier article about affordable Babe Ruth cards but I only selected one card from that list for this one.
The 1932 Bulgaria Sport card.
While all of the cards on the affordable Ruth list are perfectly fine in my box (and I have most of them), collectors can reasons not to buy them, either. The Sanella/Astra cards are more like small photos. The Churchman card doesn’t name him. The Film Stars cards picture him in a suit. But the Bulgaria Sport is just a great one all the way around.
Ruth is named on the card and he’s even featured in uniform before a game with legendary boxer Max Schmeling. As I wrote before, the backstory on the picture on it is kind of interesting. It’s a tobacco card instead of a less desirable type. It was printed during his playing days — it just checks all the boxes.
If there’s one card from that list that I think is undervalued, it’s probably this one. And given that you can find it in decent shape for as little as $150-$200, it’s a little puzzling why this one isn’t worth a bit more. Part of the reason for that, I imagine, is because it’s an international card that many collectors don’t know about.
W514 Strip Card
Before you hear the words ‘strip card’ and run away, give me a chance to explain here.
Strip cards aren’t for everyone. A lot of them that didn’t use real black and white photos bear no resemblance to the players in question and some are downright ugly. But some strip cards aren’t so bad and that includes the W514 set.
The W514 set is large by strip card standards, featuring 120 baseball players. Because it includes many of the Chicago Black Sox players implicated from the 1919 World Series scandal and most of the other big name stars from the day, it’s one of the most collected sets.
Ruth is one of those aforementioned stars. His visage on it isn’t a great one but the card is still interesting for several reasons. First, he’s pictured in a Red Sox uniform but stated as a member of the Yankees. These cards were also printed in 1920-21 and these are believed to be one of Ruth’s earliest Yankees card. Some, as I’ve seen elsewhere, even think it might be the first.
Ruth’s card also calls him the ‘Home Run King’ and unlike many of his other earlier cards, depicts him as a hitter instead of a pitcher.
The card, like other Ruth cards, has risen over the years. But it’s still a pretty good bargain in my eyes. Low-grade ones start around $1,000 and because these are hand cut cards, even one with a low technical grade is still seen as desirable as long as it looks presentable.
1928 George Ruth Candy
Along the way to becoming a baseball superstar, Babe Ruth also served as the face for a legitimate candy company. The company issued a six-card set of Ruth in 1928 to help promote their brand.
Like the popular Fro-Joy cards of the 1920s, there are a lot of fakes of these out there. But legitimate ones are priced somewhat low for Ruth E-Cards.
The cards feature Ruth in a variety of poses and while they aren’t always dirt cheap, you can easily find decent ones under $1,000. Some decent ones will go for as little as $500 and low-grade ones are even cheaper. That would be cheap if it was a 1930s gum card but it’s even more intriguing given that these are earlier E-cards from the late 1920s. it wouldn’t surprise me to see these rise a bit – particularly because some of Ruth’s other E-Cards have essentially priced many collectors out.
The prices tend to fluctuate a bit but with some patience, you can find one for a bargain price.