Presented is a unique color-process proof card of Babe Ruth (same image used for both card #53 and #149) from the legendary 1933 R319 Goudey Gum series. The offered proof is a blue-and-white color-process card of Ruth, with the type setting "George Herman (Babe) Ruth" along the top left. As is typically the case with color-process proof cards, it has a blank back. Collectors are used to seeing printer's proofs for relatively modern sets, but examples from classic vintage sets such as Goudey are virtually nonexistent. We are very familiar with this particular card as this is the second time we have had the privilege of offering this rarity. This card was presented as Lot #7 in REA's Summer 2019 auction (realizing $19,800), and has been consigned to this auction directly from the purchaser at that sale. This card was originally part of a complete 24-card Goudey color-process sheet discovered in the early 1980s, which at that time was professionally cut and dispersed to the four corners of the collecting world. Today these proofs rarely surface. This Babe Ruth (representing both card #53 and #149) was one of the key highlights on the proof sheet (the other two being #144 Babe Ruth and #160 Lou Gehrig). This is the only Goudey blue-and-white color-process card of Babe Ruth (#53 and #149) known to exist. Its amazing survival can be traced back to the Goudey Gum factory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where cards were produced in stages with employees checking them along the way before committing to large scale and more expensive final issue print runs. Most early stage sheets were discarded or destroyed, but miraculously, one of these early sheets survived, either direct from the company's files or at the hands of an employee, which resulted in this unique and impressive offering.
The offered proof card presents beautifully with a Near Mint overall appearance. There is a tiny corner bend in the upper right and a surface indentation on the reverse. It has been encapsulated as Authentic by SGC due to its hand-cut nature, which is typical practice of both PSA and SGC. If such cards qualified for numerical grades, this example would certainly be at the pinnacle of display value and overall aesthetics. This proof card represents an extraordinary and unique color-process card used by Goudey's printer for proofing during the production process for its classic 1933 series. Given the ever-increasing costs associated with Goudey Ruth cards in mid- to high-grade, despite a relatively plentiful supply (fifteen PSA 8 examples exist of #53 Ruth alone), it is not hard to grasp the incredible value that a piece like this presents. This is a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add this significant relic, one that would be at home in even the most advanced Babe Ruth or Goudey collection. Opening Bid $10,000. Estimate (open).