Goudey Gum Baseball Card
Boston: Goudey, 1933. 1st edition. 1933 Goudey Gum Babe Ruth baseball card, number 144 (2 3/8” X 2 7/8”). PSA authenticated, slabbed, and graded “Excellent 5” (printed 1/8” off center as most are, but all 4 white margins are showing). Item #763
The 1933 Goudey, 240 card set is properly called, consummately symbolic of card collecting. It was Goudey’s first baseball card set, and though earlier cards had been issued with tobacco, and a few with various candy or gum, this was the first baseball set designed for children, and packaged with bubblegum, and then wholly and directly marketed to them, and sold in the stores they frequented, and naturally, Ruth was, and is, the most desired player in the set.
Let’s get past price in 5 quick citations: 1. The public auction record for this exact baseball card, slabbed in this exact condition grade (“Excellent 5”), is also the most recent sale for one graded “5” and it brought $78,000 (HA, Aug. 28, 2022). Our card is less than half that price, a value not to be found elsewhere (we do this when we can and it is easier to do it in a spiritedly rising market). 2. An earlier one (also graded “5”) sold for $47,970, at Goldin Auctions, Oct. 27, 2021. 3. Another, graded 4.5, did $46,240 at Collect Auctions, Nov. 20, 2021. 4. And, for contrast, a badly worn one, graded “Good 2” (slumming), sold for $42,699 at eBay on Mar. 30, 2021 (admittedly, a crazy aberration). 5. Value increases dramatically for each point of grade and the all–time auction record for this card is $528,000, graded 9 at HA in 2019, and even that record setter was slightly off center in both directions. So, the plain math of the comparables says our price should feel cozier than an armful of sleeping puppy.
This is to booksellers: Commercial printing is our shared domain. In it these cards are getting a lot of attention and tens of millions of dollars thrown at them every year, and yet, not one praiseworthy baseball card is for sale on the A. B. A. A. website. There is plenty of money and action for all and, more important, there is much good service we could do for interested collectors with our standards. Biblioctopus should not be the only bookseller playing this game. That goes for comic books too. There is nothing devious here. We are trying to be helpful.