1935 National Chicle Nagurski Headlines Love of the Game Auction

Love of the Game Auctions, a new Internet-based sports auction house is preparing to launch its first auction, which will include the most treasured and valuable of all football cards: the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski.

The auction closing date is Saturday, Oct. 27.  Bidding will begin in early October by internet, via the Love of the Game Auctions website.  The auction will feature baseball Bronko Nagurski 1935 football cardand football memorabilia from the late 19th Century to the early 1970s, highlighted by the exceptionally high-grade National Football Nagurski (graded NEAR MINT by PSA), known throughout the trading card hobby as the most coveted and valuable football card.

The Nagurski achieved its notoriety because it is the first card of a well-known Hall of Famer and famous professional wrestler.  It also comes from the scarce high number series of what is arguably football collecting’s most important pre-World War II card set.

While the Nagurski has always been an extremely valuable card, its profile increased dramatically in 2006 when a MINT condition example sold for $240,000 in a highly-publicized private transaction.  The same card sold five years later for $350,000, again in a private transaction.  Sale prices of other Nagurski cards followed suit, with a NMT-MT copy nearly reaching $60,000 in 2006.

“We can’t imagine a higher-quality debut auction,” said LOTG Auction Director Al Crisafulli.  “The Nagurski is an outstanding card.  Every item in the auction is special.  It’s a small, curated selection of quality sports artifacts.  Each lot is interesting in some way, either because of its scarcity, its quality, or because it tells a story.  We think we’ve built an auction that will appeal to baseball and football collectors of all types.”

For more information on Love of the Game and how to become a consignor or register to bid for the October 2012 and future auctions, visit the company’s website at loveofthegameauctions.com.  Online bidder registration for the company’s inaugural auction is open now.

In addition to the Nagurski, the inaugural Love of the Game auction features a grouping of nine D304 General Baking cards, highlighted by the key card in the difficult set: Ty Cobb.  Graded VG 3 by PSA, the D304 Cobb is the key card from one of the hobby’s most rare and desirable vintage bakery issues.

Lou Gehrig signed 1933 GoudeySigned Lou Gehrig baseball cards are extremely rare but there’s one in this auction–a 1933 Goudey bearing Gehrig’s familiar script.  “We’re especially thrilled about the Gehrig,” explained Crisafulli.  “He’s got one of the most famous signatures in all of sports, and his ’33 Goudey card is instantly recognizable.  Having an autographed copy blends the best of both worlds.”

Prewar baseball rarities abound in the auction, including:

  • An 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bat card of Joseph Mulvey (graded VG-EX 50 by SGC)
  • An oversized studio photo of Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh wearing his 1906 championship medallion
  • An original Carl Horner cabinet photo of AL president E.S. Barnard
  • An N173 Old Judge cabinet of Arlie Latham
  • Two W600 Sporting Life cabinets of Hall of Famers

The hobby’s legendary T206 set, also has extensive representation in the auction.  Hall of Famers, rare backs (including Drum, Lenox, Broadleaf, Hindu, a blank back and others), high-grade singles and lower-grade lots (both graded and ungraded) are featured.

In addition to the National Chicle Nagurski, the sale features a grouping of high-grade National Chicle football cards, including a run of high numbers, all grading PSA 7 or better.  Also featured is:

  • A grouping of high-grade cards from the 1948 Leaf football set
  • A host of high-grade Hall of Famers, led by a rookie card of Roger Staubach graded MINT 9 by PSA.
  • A number of high-grade complete sets and starter lots.

The auction also features high-grade cards of Mickey Mantle, Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays,  Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson as well as some of the hobby’s most difficult card types, including 1968 Topps 3-D, 1973 Topps Pin-up, 1935 Rice Stix, 1934 Butterfinger, 1958 Bell Brand, and more.

Crisafulli’s favorite item in the auction, however, isn’t a card at all.  It’s an original news service photograph of ballplayers from a 1943 old-timer’s game at the Polo Grounds.  “The game was organized by some reporters from the New York Journal-American,” Crisafulli explained.  “It was a benefit, to sell war bonds.  At the end of the game, there was an exhibition of old-time ballplayers.  Seven of the 12 Hall of Famers alive at the time were there, including Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, and more.  Three of the guys that played went on to make the Hall of Fame later.  Babe Ruth hit a home run off Walter Johnson that day, and it was the last time Ruth ever hit a home run in a major league park.  This photo documents a long-forgotten piece of baseball history.”

The auction also includes an assortment of memorabilia including items from the Pacific Coast League, the World Football League, and bats, photographs, team-signed baseballs and vintage uncut sheets.

Love of the Game will be previewing items from its upcoming auction and accepting consignments for its next auction at The Philly Show in King of Prussia, PA from September 28 to 30. Information about the company will be located at Booth 308, and the company will be offering commission discounts for new customers’ first consignments.



  1. […] to the early 1970s, highlighted by the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski card graded PSA 7 described in these pages earlier (bidding is currently at $18,000).  Pre-War baseball cards including several General Baking cards […]