One of only ten known examples of the ultra-scarce 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card sold for a record price of $450,300 at Robert Edward Auctions’ 2013 Spring Catalog Auction early Sunday morning. The card, graded PSA 1 (Poor) and featuring the young Babe as a pitcher with the minor league Baltimore Orioles, sold for more than twice what a PSA 2 (Good) example sold for just six years ago, continuing a remarkable growth trend for a card rapidly becoming the most popular and valuable of all-time. It was one of a number of cards selling for record prices in the REA auction, which traditionally attracts some of the most avid and determined baseball memorabilia collectors in the world.
In all, 1807 of the 1811 lots offered in the auction were sold. The auction closed after several hours of extended bidding and generated record total sales of $10,177,000. Prices include an 18.5% buyer’s premium.
Bidders participated online and by phone, placing 25,437 bids in all as they chased hundreds of rare individual cards, sets and pieces of memorabilia dating back to the 19th century. A total of 172 lots sold for at least $10,000 each.
In addition to the ultra-scarce Ruth card, collectors had the chance to bid on the instantly recognizable ‘holy grail’ of the hobby, a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner. Once owned by actor Charlie Sheen and subsequently stolen from a New York City restaurant in the 1990s, the Wagner card set a new record for its PSA 1 grade, selling for $402,900 via REA when the dust finally settled (by the way, a PSA 1 Wagner once sold by REA is now for sale on eBay with 26 offers now in front of its $435,000 asking price).
Yet another new mark was established when one of only two 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards graded PSA 8.5 (NM/MT+) sold for $272,550. The last 8.5 Mantle sold at auction for $154,700 just three years ago, illustrating again the strength of iconic cards, regardless of era.
A rare advertising piece, the only known 1912 Boston Garter uncut panel featuring Fred Clarke, Frank Chance, Hal Chase and Bob Bescher, was sold for $177,750.
A rookie card featuring one of Wagner’s late career contemporaries also captured collectors’ fancy. A 1910 Old Mill Joe Jackson, featuring the tragic baseball icon during his minor league days in New Orleans and graded SGC 30 (Good) sold for $118,500.
The auction wasn’t just old baseball cards, however. The battle for the highest graded dual-signed Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig baseball turned into quite a donnybrook. In the end, one collector emerged the winner with the PSA/DNA 8.5-graded ball realizing $343,650, a new world record price for a signed baseball. A rare and high grade single-signed Gehrig ball vaulted to $142,200.
A game-worn Sandy Koufax Dodgers flannel jersey from the 1963 season in which the Hall of Fame lefty won both the National League MVP and Cy Young Awards, still in superior condition, sold for record $201,450.
Other auction highlights included:
· T206 Eddie Plank SGC 60 $106,650
· T206 Eddie Plank PSA 4 $88,875
· T206 near set of 518 $118,500
· 1916 Ware’s/Sporting News M101-4 Babe Ruth PSA 3 $130,350
· 1911 Philadelphia Athletics World Series Press Pin $53,325
For complete results, visit RobertEdwardAuctions.com.