What is this Babe Ruth card?

A visitor sent us the following message:

I am curious about this card I came across in a case and wood plaque in some of my late fathers things. I cannot seem to find another one online like it. I’m not sure if it’s a fake or someone made it just for fun at some point. No company markings no MLB no date. I will attach front picture. I also have a back picture. Any insight you can provide will be greatly appreciated either way. Thank you in advance!
-Tara T.

Early 1990s Unlicensed Babe Ruth
Early 1990s Unlicensed Babe Ruth | Source: Tara T.

In the early to mid 1990s, several privately owned companies produced a variety of different sets and promotional cards without licensing permissions from MLB or MLBPA. As such, they are essentially illegal cards. Litigation eventually caused most of these outfits to be sued and shut down permanently.

However, before that happened, we got some really strange, or otherwise at least mildly interesting baseball cards that if nothing else, they make fun additions.

Due to its design characteristics, this Babe Ruth card is likely from the block of years where unlicensed cards were being made. It features similar characteristics of cards made during that era. One such giveaway is the gold sparkle text. This was a common theme on unlicensed cards toward the middle part of the 1990s. A lot of these cards don’t have any company identification or markings. Often times, their reverse has a description of the player, promotion, or print run, which is usually very high, 10,000+.

Due to their distribution, some of these unlicensed cards can be rare but that doesn’t mean they’re valuable. They’re often worth just a few bucks and aren’t considered anything more than novelty items.

To view the current eBay auctions for Babe Ruth baseball cards, click here.

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