The Once Bitten 1933 Goudey Collection with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

Babe Ruth Card with Mysterious Bite Mark Leads to Fun Purchase
  • January 17, 2022

Bitten Babe Ruth

When I saw a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth card with a missing corner, I was instantly intrigued. Like you, I thought - why was The Babe missing the "ear" of the card? Expecting all cards from the collection to look like the "bitten Babe", I was astonished at what was underneath this Ruth - MORE Babe Ruth cards in good shape along with a few other surprises! Just Collect is proud to have purchased The Once Bitten 1933 Goudey Collection.

A friend of mine recently referred me to a collector interested in selling their card collection, knowing that I offer a FREE APPRAISAL on the Just Collect website. The small collection of eight cards had an interesting start; a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth card had the top right missing!  I am always interested in buying Babe Ruth cards so my heart sank a tad when I saw the "ear" of the card missing - did EVERY card in the collection have a missing piece? Typically when you see a pile of cards and the card on top has a flaw, you assume every card underneath has the same flaw - much like how each card had dates stamped on them like our Mysteriously-Stamped Play Ball collection. To my surprise, the next card in the pile was not torn - and it was another 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth!

THE ONCE BITTEN 1933 GOUDEY COLLECTION

Bitten Babe Ruth

Here it is - card # 149 in the 1933 Goudey baseball set. In total, there are four Ruth cards in in the set - numbers 53, 144, 149, and 181. Each card slightly different, Ruth still carried such clout later in his career that Goudey knew his likeness could sell their product so why not quadruple The Sultan of Swat. When I first put eyes on this Babe, I was worried that all eight cards needing an appraisal would look similar. Then - oh, then, I found THIS underneath the torn Ruth:

Yellow Babe Ruth

Is that what I think it is? Card #53, the Yellow Babe Ruth without any damage? YES! Next card in the pile:

Green Babe Ruth

Card #181, also Babe Ruth! You can see that Goudey included a few different poses and background colors in the four Ruth cards included in the 1933 set. More importantly - no torn corner! We're not done yet, though.  Below the Babe is another all-time great, Lou Gehrig! 

1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig

The Ironhorse has no missing corners and is in VG-EX condition. 

As the small pile of cards dwindled, the list of names on the front continued to be nothing but all-time greats like Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams.

In total, the eight cards consisted of:

  • 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53
  • 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #149
  • 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181
  • 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 
  • 1933 Goudey Rogers Hornsby #119
  • 1955 Topps Ted Williams #2
  • 1955 Topps Hank Aaron #47 
  • 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle #135

1956 Topps Mickey Mantle Just Collect

 

The 1955 Topps and 1956 Topps baseball designs are some of my all-time favorite and I love purchasing both sets!  If you'd like to TRADE cards as well, Just Collect may be interested, too. We recently traded a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle as part of a deal for a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card that you can read about HERE.

WHY WAS BABE BITTEN?

Like yourself, I really want to know why the red Babe Ruth card appeared to have a bite mark! Was someone that hungry they took a bite of The Babe? I have a few theories:

  • The card was torn while a kid opened up the pack of cards; perhaps more interested in the gum?
  • In the 1950's, a son took pop's Babe and put it in their bike spokes.
  • In the 1950's or 1960's that same kid used Babe in a game of FLIP.

Either way, I bet the conversation started out with "Dad, look what I can do!"

Why do YOU think Babe was bitten?

ORIGINAL OWNERS SINCE THE 1930's

I asked the owner of the collection about the torn Ruth during my appraisal and while they didn't have an answer to why the corner of the Ruth card was torn off, they did say that the entire collection of cards have remained in their family since 1933! The history of the collection is incredible.

Warren was the owner. He was born in 1919 in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He grew up in the same house his grandfather, Mathias, did. The owner I purchased the cards from, Warren's son, recalls visiting his grandparents (Warren's parents) there in the 1950's and 1960's. This family house is where Warren began his love of collecting baseball cards as a kid. The first team Warren loved was the Boston Braves.

Warren lived a very full and incredible life. By 1940 he earned Masters Degree from Northeastern and became a Chemistry teacher. While there, he met his wife, Mary. Warren and Mary then had children and made a move to Ohio during WWII where Warren worked as a chemist at the West Virginia Ordnance Works across the Ohio River supporting the war effort. Warren then garnered his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, Mary worked as the personal executive secretary to another man in the Chemistry Field - Clarence Birdseye. You may recognize the name Birds Eye frozen vegetables? Same guy! He invented the art of safely freezing veggies; my dinner plates thank him every night. Through this entire time, that collection of baseball cards stayed with Warren. While in Wisconsin, Warren would take his two songs to Milwaukee County Stadium for games to see Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn (a favorite of his; a former Boston Brave)

The cards were still with Warren when the family moved to Syosset, Long Island in the 1950's. On many weekends, Warren would take his two sons from the Long Island Railroad, transfer to the subway in the City, and stop at Yankee Stadium to see Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi, Berra, Clete Boyer, Tony Kubek, Whitey Ford, Bobby Richardson, and later Joe Pepitone and Yankee legends play ball.

Warren's sons collected cards in the 1950's as well, but like you may have done as a kid - they put the cards in their bike spokes! Thankfully Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig didn't go into the bike to make it sound like a motorcycle.

Until Warren passed away at the age of 92, this collection of cards has been with him. From Easthampton, MA in the 1930's, Madison WI in the 1950's to Long Island and over to Ossipee Lake, NH. until the 2000's. Warren always loved having those baseball cards for 75 + years. Warren's son found the cards in their original bag with old rubber bands around them; the way Warren kept them for close to eight decades.

Recently Warren's son picked up that old bag of cards and the rubber bands disintegrated. Opening the bag with his son-in-law, they just about had a heart attack - Warren had these very 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig cards.

The provenance with this collection is incredible; we know where each card came from and where they have been for the last 90 years. When these Ruth cards were originally pulled from the pack, the cost of a brand new car was only $600. Imagine - since that day we've had 16 new Presidents of the United States, landed on the Moon, and invented this wild thing called the Internet. In that entire time, this collection of cards remained in the same family. We can trace the history of a 90-year old collection back to day one. Think about that brand new car back in 1933 for $600 - or even a car today when you're shopping. You'd like to know the original owner, any accidents the car has been in, or if the oil was changed every 3,000 miles, right?  We have that with the Once Bitten 1933 Goudey Collection!

APPRAISAL AND PURCHASE

When evaluating cards you know that condition is important; there is a big difference in the value of a card graded a 1 vs. a card graded a 10 on a ten-point scale. When appraising high-end cards like well-conditioned 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth cards, moving up or down just a single point on the grading scale could alter the price by thousands of dollars.  

For example, a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53 (the yellow background) graded PSA 4 sold for $22,500 on 12/31/21. That same card graded PSA 5, just one point up on the ten-point scale, sold for $46,800 on 12/6/21! A small crease in the card, or a rounded corner that changes the condition of the card just 1 grade is a $20,000 difference!  I have a page here with information on how to grade your cards and companies that will grade your cards professionally.

It was important to me that I appraise the collection with the correct condition of the cards so that the owners could receive the most money for their collection.

The owner and I decided the best route was to use PSA and grade the best four cards - the three Babe Ruth cards and the Lou Gehrig. The "bitten" Ruth would be deemed simply as "Authentic" and not assigned a numerical grade. After the cards were graded, I could then make a fair offer for all eight cards in the collection.

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Just Collect

When the four cards returned graded from PSA, the owner and I agreed on a deal to purchase the collection, and I sent a check out via FedEx that day. When you and I agree on purchasing your collection, I'll pay you how YOU want to be paid - cash, check, money order, a steak dinner so you don't have to eat a Babe Ruth card to fill up...

I love to tell you where each collection I purchase for Just Collect comes from, like the Yonkers, NY 1930's Name Tag Collection. Not only is it a dream of mine to purchase a collection from every State, but I love showing you that I'll go above and beyond to purchase your collection - I have no problem traveling to you!  However, this collector didn't want me to point out where they live because they don't want the Paparazzi chasing them down to see if there are more never-before-seen Babe Ruth cards in their home 😎

Thank you to Warren's son for sharing this amazing story and allowing me to purchase your collection.

 

WE ARE ALWAYS BUYING

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect Buy List

We offer a FREE APPRAISAL on our website.  Just click here:

FREE APPRAISAL

We offer many more ways to appraise your collection, too!

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards for an appraisal, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, we'll ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  We can offer our FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by us. Simply contact the office to set up this option.

  • Travel to us

If you can make the trip here - we can make a deal at the office. I once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet me to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to convention

We keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want me to come to you, I'll hop on the next plane out.

 

OUR BUYING PHILOSOPHY

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.

CONTACT US ANY TIME

Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 

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