June 9, 2021

How to own part of the most valuable sports card ever for just $3

[MarketWatch, Collectable]

A 1914 Babe Ruth pre-rookie minor league baseball card is being sold at a $6 million valuation

A 1914 Babe Ruth pre-rookie minor league baseball card valued at $6 million will soon be available for purchase in three-dollar increments.

This is not a contest, or a lottery — this is an authentic sports collectible being sold to thousands of buyers.

Last week, this exact Babe Ruth card broke the record for the most expensive sports card transaction in history, according to Sports memorabilia investment platform Collectable, and now its anonymous buyer is selling equity in his million-dollar card.

The buyer is offering shares of his ultra-rare 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card on Collectable for three dollars a share. The price-per-share would indicate a valuation just north of $6 million.

Collectable is a platform that allows people to buy equity in memorabilia when they may not be able to afford the piece as a whole. This concept is similar to how brokerage firms like Robinhood offer fractional shares of public companies.

For example, it may be difficult for some investors to afford a share of Amazon AMZN stock at a price of over $3,000, but a fractional share of Amazon stock is more attainable. The same premise applies to some high-priced collectibles.

“For the first time in history, via Collectable, collectors and sports fans of all income brackets will be able to co-own this record setting asset,” Ezra Levine, the CEO of Collectable, wrote to MarketWatch in an email. “We continue to see tremendous excitement for rare and exciting pieces of sports history, and we’re thrilled that today’s announcement showcases the power of fractional ownership to democratize and modernize our special industry.”

Investors in the card can sell their fractional shares at any time, and if the card is outright sold at a higher price in the future, those investors would see a profit. The price per share of the collectible only changes when the item is sold, not on perceived value change.

Only the item’s manager, aka the majority stakeholder, can decide to sell.

Owners of the Ruth card will not be able have the physical card, but only equity in it. This particular card will be displayed at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, where its new shareholders can visit it.

Normally, items that Collectable offers equity in are stored in the company’s secret vaults for safety and insurances purposes.

This Babe Ruth card is one of just 10 known in existence, and is graded a 3 out of 10 by card grading company SGC. Collectors send their sports cards to get graded for quality, centering and overall condition — so the 3 rating on this card is low, while a near perfect card would be a 10 out of 10.

The card is supremely rare because it’s a “pre-rookie” card, meaning it’s Ruth’s first card as a minor league player, two years before his major league card debuted in 1916.

The exact price the anonymous buyer paid for the Ruth card last week is unknown, but the acquisition broke the previous $5.2 million record set by a 1952 Mickey Mantle Card and a 2003 LeBron James Rookie Card, making it the most expensive purchase in sports card history, according to Collectable.

Sales of sports cards have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Auction site eBay EBAY said in February that U.S. sales of trading cards were up 142% from 2019 to 2020, and the site sold 4 million more cards in 2020 than in the previous year.

By Weston Blasi

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