The 1941 R336 Play Ball #71 Joe DiMaggio card was issued during a significant period in baseball history. Joe DiMaggio, often referred to as "The Yankee Clipper," was a key figure in the New York Yankees dynasty of the 1940s and one of the most accomplished players of his time. The year 1941 was particularly memorable as DiMaggio embarked on a remarkable hitting streak, eventually setting a record with 56 consecutive games with at least one hit—a record that still stands to this day.
Issued by Gum, Inc., the 1941 Play Ball set was printed at a time when the United States was on the brink of entering World War II, and the war effort would have a significant impact on the production of baseball cards. In fact, the 1941 Play Ball set was the last major baseball card set to be issued before the war, and it would be several years before another major set by a leading manufacturer would be released. The card itself showcases DiMaggio against a bright yet conflicting purple and yellow backdrop, making the card itself unmistakable. With firm edges and corners combined with near-perfect centering, the vintage classic earned a SGC 8 grade and has attracted 55 bids to push the current price to $12,000 heading into the weekend.
Any card featuring the 'Great Bambino' is significant, but arguably none attracts attention like Goudey's 1933 release. While Ruth was already a mainstay and legend within the baseball work as these cards were rolling off the printers, the 1933 issue hit the market during one of the most successful periods of Ruth's career.
In 1933, Ruth continued to dominate the game even as his career neared its sunset. That year, Ruth hit .301 with 34 home runs and 104 RBI. He also led the league in walks as pitchers still feared the founding father of the Bronx Bombers. .
Finally, the card is rare and valuable. A mint condition 1933 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth card can sell for upwards of $1 million. The card's rarity and value are due to a number of factors, including the fact that it was issued during a time when baseball cards were not as popular as they are today, and the fact that Ruth is one of the most iconic and beloved players in baseball history.
Even through the set was issued during the Great Depression, and it still found success as a highly-sought-after collectible. The set actually played an important role in boosting the popularity of baseball cards and it is considered to be one of the most important releases in the hobby. With a murder's row of talent, the 1933 Goudey production features multiple cards of Ruth and other all-time greats such as Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Walter Johnson. With bright and crisp color illustrations that were rare for the period, the 1933 Goudey continues to be a chase card for top collectors and this particular SGC 5 graded copy has climbed to $22,000 through a whopping 77 bids.
Some cards derive their value from the player they feature, while others reach five and six-figure sale prices because of the history behind the card itself. In the case of this George Leroy "Hooks" Wiltse T206, the natural rarity of the Lenox-backed pieces of early 20th century cardstock.
For some background on the subject of the card, "Hooks" earned his nickname because of his exceptional curveball and was one of the earliest pitchers to have a curveball regarded as being much more effective than his fastball. From 1904 to 1914, he pitched for the National League's New York Giants. During that time, he combined with teammate Christy Mathewson for 435 wins, making them one of the best lefty-righty duos in history. Wiltse won five pennants with the Giants and pitched 31⁄3 innings in the 1911 World Series. On July 4, 1908, Wiltse pitched a perfect game through 26 batters until he hit Philadelphia Phillies pitcher George McQuillan on a 2–2 count in a scoreless game.
In order to complete a T206 set, collectors must navigate the perilous waters of advertisements cards. The Brown Lenox back is so rare that PSA has only graded 25 total cards combined and with that rarity comes increased valuations, regardless of the player featured.
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