Spring, 2018 Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 3/25/2018

Though the research conducted by Jefferson Burdick and the description of the W575-1 Henry A. Johnson Wholesale Confectioner issue as listed in the Standard Catalog are both admirable, the reality is that very little is known about the issue or the Alameda, California company that gave the set its name.  What we do know, after years of studying the issue, is that the cards are most definitely not the same as the W575-1 with which they share a catalog designation.  The fact that the hobby has always taken this designation for granted is a testament to the rarity of the cards themselves; it was only after a decade or so that we felt confident that the issue follows the checklist - and the production - of the E121 "Series of 80" issue.  In actuality, the Henry Johnson Confectioners cards are machine-cut, blank-backed E121s, with the Henry A. Johnson label hand stamped in distinctive purple ink on the reverse.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that very little is known about the Henry A. Johnson company, and that the hand stamp was counterfeited at some point in the 1970s, resulting in a large number of easily detectable but still confusing fakes.

Authentic cards from the issue are rare enough that it is unknown if a complete set can even be managed.  The Henry A. Johnson Confectioners cards are unquestionably among the most rare cards of their era, and certainly among the most rare of the E121 family of cards.

Presented here is the unquestionable key to the issue, that of Babe Ruth.  The card is one of just four known examples and the highest graded by PSA (the others are graded PR 1 and GOOD 2, respectively).  The fourth example is an EX 60 card graded by SGC but not easily found in their population reports.  This is an exceptionally clean specimen, graded VG-EX (MK) by PSA.  While we cannot account for the mark that gives the card its qualifier, we would be remiss not to note the slight-yet-visible water staining on the front and back of the card.  Still, the presentation is extremely strong, particularly given that higher-grade examples are simply not available.  

In terms of pure rarity, we are unaware of any Babe Ruth card that rivals this - even the Babe's heralded Baltimore News card boasts 11 known examples.  This particular specimen was purchased in 2008; just one example has sold publicly since.  A truly rare specimen, the key card from an extraordinarily rare issue about which little is known.

Impossibly Rare 1922 W575-1 Henry Johnson Confectioners Babe Ruth (HOF) - PSA VG-EX 4 (MK)Impossibly Rare 1922 W575-1 Henry Johnson Confectioners Babe Ruth (HOF) - PSA VG-EX 4 (MK)
Impossibly Rare 1922 W575-1 Henry Johnson Confectioners Babe Ruth (HOF) - PSA VG-EX 4 (MK)
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $19,200
Number Bids: 24
Auction closed on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
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