Almost Ready: REA Catalog Packed With Historic Pieces

For the last 12 months, Robert Edward Auctions has been collecting consignments for its annual blockbuster catalog event.  The company put the finishing touches on its catalog over the last several days and after printing, Sports Collectors Daily has learned it will ship April 12.  The first copy off the presses will be presented to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York for their library, as is REA’s long-running tradition.  The remaining 10,000 catalogs will be sent to collectors all over the world.

Mathewson 16 strikeout ballREA holds only one auction per year and the catalog is always filled with hundreds of items worthy of the most prestigious collections in the world, both public and private.   Bidding begins April 15 by FAX, phone, or the Internet via the REA website.  The final date of bidding will be Saturday, May 7.

Total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million.

“We try to make it a special event for everyone, to bring back the fun of collecting, and at the same time to give collectors and historians valuable reference material, and hopefully some great reading with the catalog,” says REA president Robert Lifson. “We feel our auction has a special place in the field. We’re trying to do more than just have an auction. We’re trying to create a positive event that is historic, that makes collecting fun, promotes a love of history, and that everyone can be a part of, as a bidder, a consignor, or just as an observer.”

“This year, maybe more than ever before, we’ve been a magnet for new finds,” Lifson said.  “Every time we turned around, an exciting item or previously unknown card collection seemed to turn up and find us. We’ve got an incredible lineup. AGame worn Lou Gehrig jersey T206 Wagner. Lou Gehrig’s bat. A document signed by Joe Jackson.  These are just a few of the big money items. Not everything is a fortune but we’ve got over 1,700 lots and maybe it’s just that we happen to like all the items we accepted for auction but it seems like every one is a highlight.”

Some of the top items include:

Lou Gehrig Bat and Lou Gehrig Jersey: REA is offering Lou Gehrig’s 1938 New York Yankees jersey, dating from his historic last full season.  No more than a half dozen game-used Gehrig jerseys are believed to exist today, one of which resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The jersey carries a reserve of $50,000 and is expected to sell for in excess of $100,000.  Gehrig’s circa 1927 bat is another  highlight.  The bat was a personal gift presented by Gehrig to his next-door neighbor in New Rochelle, New York. All Lou Gehrig game-used bats are rare and highly prized by collectors.   The bat has a reserve of $25,000 and is expected to sell for more than $50,000.

T206 Honus Wagner. Included in the auction is an example of the most highly sought-after and valuable baseball card in the world: the T206 Honus Wagner.  The card is one of the few that can be traced back in the hobby over forty years. “Every T206 Wagner is different and valuing them is very subjective,” notes REA’s Robert Lifson. The reserve is $25,000. “This is obviously an extremely low level but whether it receives one-hundred bids, or if it receives only one bid at $25,000, it will be sold.”

1910 Joe Jackson Old Mill Tobacco cardRare Vintage Baseball Cards Including 1910 Joe Jackson. This sale will include virtually every one of the baseball card collecting world’s most revered “Holy Grails”. In addition to the famous T206 Honus Wagner, included is another one of the greatest treasures of all tobacco cards: the 1910 T210 Old Mill tobacco card of Joe Jackson (graded VG+ by PSA; res. $25,000) featuring Jackson in the minor leagues long before stardom and the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

The T206 Eddie Plank,  Another of card collecting’s most famous rarities,the Plank card  is represented in this auction with two examples – one graded Vg-Ex (with a $10,000 reserve and an estimate of $25,000+) and one trimmed but still a very interesting example due to its extremely rare Piedmont advertising back.

Nap Lajoie 1933 Goudey PSA 8In addition, the auction also has one of the finest examples in the world of the famous 1933 #106 Nap Lajoie (graded NM-MT 8 by PSA) (res. $10,000, est. $40,000+).

Yet another legendary card on every short list of the collecting world’s most important baseball cards is a newly-discovered 1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson, offered in this auction in Excellent condition (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+).

Nineteenth Century Baseball Memorabilia. Pre-1900 baseball cards and items of great historical significance have always been a special area of interest for REA.  Among the items set for sale are a 1859 Trophy Ball commemorating a game between the Unions and the Excelsiors, the earliest Unions trophy ball known (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+);  1867 Base Ball Polka Sheet Music, one of the rarest and most highly prized of all baseball sheet musics (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+); 1859 Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion (Res.$2,000; est. 4,000+) and 1868 Chadwick’s American Game of Base Ball (Res. $1,000; est. 2,000/$3,000+) are also featured, each universally recognized as  among the most important and rare of all early baseball volumes; an 1866 Washington and Brooklyn Team Cabinet Photo with Henry Chadwick (res. $2,500); several important items related to the 1869 Reds, baseball’s first professional team, include: a 19th century baseball bat attributed to George Wright in 1869 (res. $5,000; est: open), and  two 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings team cards, one a newly-discovered CDV style example (res. $5,000) and the other a larger trade card style example with advertising for Peck & Snyder on reverse (res. $10,000; est $25,000+). Also included are a host of rare and desirable cards from a wide variety of 19th century issues.

Pre-War Card Rarities.  Among the many highlights are several original-owner collections including the George Hall Collection, featuring a complete set of all six M110 Sporting Life cabinet cards personally saved by George Hall in 1911 and consigned on the 100th anniversary of the set by his family in this auction; an original-owner collection of 1915 Cracker Jacks including a near-set (154 cards) that have also been saved in the family of the original owner since 1915. N173 Old Judge cabinet cards, seven rare 1911 T208 Cullivan’s Fireside Tobacco cards, a 1914 Boston Garter Christy Mathewson (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+), and three 1909 T204 Ramly Tobacco Square Frame cards including Jesse Burkett (graded VG-EX by SGC; res. $2,500) are all from newly discovered original-owner collections and are new to the modern collecting world.

Complete sets of many of the most classic prewar card issues include 1906 Fan Craze, two T3 Turkey Red complete sets, T205 Gold Borders, T206 White Borders, and a complete set of 1911-1914 D304 Brunners Bread Complete Set (25): #2 SGC Set Registry.

More Pre-War Card Rarities.  Included are six extraordinary 1887 New York Kalamazoo Bats tobacco cards, including four Mets players (res. $5,000 each) and two Hall of Famers (Jim O’Rourke and Roger Connor, res. $10,000 each); an 1876 Hartford Dark Blues CDV with Candy Cummings – Newly Discovered Example (res. $2,500);  a very rare 1887 N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Philadelphia BBC Team Cabinet with Harry Wright, the very first example Kalamazoo Bats Cabinet Team Card REA has ever offered (res. $2,500; est $5,000++); 1889 N526 Number 7 Cigar Complete PSA-Graded Set (15 cards; res. $5,000; est: open); 1889 A35 Goodwin Round Album – a high-grade example (res. $2,500; est. $5,000/$10,000); a newly discovered find of 37 1916 BF2 Ferguson Bakery Felt Pennant Collection Including Five Joe Jackson Examples (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+); 1910 T209 Contentnea Cigarettes Photo Series Near-Complete Set (210/224); comprehensive collections of 1909-1911 Obaks; Exhibit cards; and perhaps most extraordinary, a comprehensive collection of 1911-1938 Zeenuts, offered in sets by year with many special rarities and Hall of Famers offered individually; 1916 M101-5 Sporting News #151 Babe Ruth – Rookie (graded PSA 1; res. $2,500; est: open);  many T206 rarities including four Magie error cards (one Vg-Ex, two Vg, one “Authentic”), four Demmitt, St. Louis; five O’Hara, St. Louis, many rare backs incluT207 Louis Lowdermilk Red Cross backding Uzit and Drum, and many extremely high-grade T206 examples.

The Louisiana Find. Labeled “one of the most exciting vintage card finds in modern times” by REA, the collection includes 30 T215-1 Red Cross, four T215-2 Red Cross, 11 T213-2 Coupon, three E105 Mello Mints, and 46 T207, all rare cards in the set, among them eight with Red Cross backs. The eight T207 Red Cross backs, which are highlighted by legendary T207 tobacco card rarity Lowdermilk.  Previous to this find, a total of only five T207 Red Cross examples were even known to exist.

Post-War baseball cards are also in abundance in the auction, including several examples of the classic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (among them a gem that is believed to have originated from Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen’s historic 1952 Topps find in the 1980s); a 1952 Topps Complete Set of all 407 cards including #311 Mantle PSA EX 5 (res. $10,000; est. $20,000/$40,000); and extraordinary, high-grade examples of 1950s and 1960s cards of the era’s top stars like Mickey Mantle (including a 1954 Stahl-Meyer Franks Mickey Mantle PSA NM 7 – by far the highest-graded example, res. $2,500, est. $5,000+), Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and many more. Also included are complete or near-complete sets of virtually every major postwar issue from 1948 to 1972.

PSA-Graded Sets:  Among the highlights are: 1889/1890 E. R. Williams Base Ball Game Playing Card Complete Set (52): #1 PSA Registry (7.72 GPA; res. $5,000; est: open), a 1948-49 Leaf Gum complete set, including all rare cards, presented in several lots and highlighted by the iconic 1949 Leaf #8 Satchel Paige Rookie Card – PSA NM 7 (res. $5,000, est. $10,000+). Also included is a remarkable 1940 R335 Play Ball Complete Set (240): #2 PSA Registry! (7.35 GPA), res. $10,000; est. $20,000/$40,000);  a 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders Complete Set (50): #3 PSA Registry with a 7.77 GPA (res. $10,000; est $20,000/$30,000+). Additional graded sets: The #12 rated 1956 Topps PSA-Graded Complete Set (8.03 GPA); the third rated 1968 Topps Complete Set: (with a 9.26 GPA,the single highest-grade vintage PSA set REA has ever offered; res. $10,000; est. $20,000/40,000); the 12th rated 1954 Red Heart PSA-Graded Complete Set (8.03 GPA, res. $2,000; est. $4,000/$8,000); and many others.

1933 and 1934 Goudey Gum Uncut Sheets.  Six uncut sheets of Goudey Gum baseball cards, four dating from 1933 and two dating from 1934 will likely attract a crowd of bidders looking for something different. Each are among card collecting’s greatest sheets. Included is a Canadian Goudey sheet of the famous “Triple Ruth Sheet” which features 24 cards including three Babe Ruths and one Lou Gehrig (res. $25,000; est. $50,000+); and a 1933 Goudey sheet with #181 Ruth. Each of the two 1934 Goudey sheets includes Lou Gehrig. The reserve for each sheet is $5,000 with the exception of the “Triple Ruth” sheet which has a reserve of $10,000.

Game-Used Bats Including Babe Ruth:  REA says its upcoming auction presents “one of the finest selections of game-used bats to ever come to auction”. In addition to the circa 1927 Lou Gehrig game-used bat, included are those of baseball legends such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Mel Ott, Tris Speaker, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Rogers Hornsby, Pee Wee Reese, and Yogi Berra, among others, Willie Mays 1951 Minneapolis Millers jerseyas well as more modern stars such as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Also included is the famous 1906 “Banana Bat” belonging to Billy Sullivan, possibly the only surviving banana bat.

1951 Willie Mays Game-Used Uniform:  The  jersey is the earliest known Willie Mays professional jersey in existence and has been photo matched to Mays who can be seen wearing it in numerous photographs taken during his tenure with the Millers in the spring of 1951. Also included is 1970 Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds Game-Used Home Uniform (Jersey and Pants, res. $5,000; est $10,000+) and a 1963 Harmon Killebrew Minnesota Twins Game-Used Road Jersey from his 45 home run Season (res. $2,500, est. $5,000+).

Autographs including Joe Jackson:  In addition to autographed items from all eras, and signed letters from legends such as Babe Ruth and Cap Anson, the auction also presents particularly rare and noteworthy single-signed Hall of Fame balls, including Jimmie Foxx, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Harry Hooper, and Thurman Munson, in addition to high-grade examples of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The highlight of all autographed items in the auction is unquestionably the Joe Jackson signed document, dated in the spring of 1916. The document looks like a check but is actually a voucher that records a mortgage payment made directly on Jackson’s behalf by the Chicago White Sox.  The Jackson signed document is one of approximately five such vouchers that were purchased more than 20 years ago directly from Jackson’s sister, Gertrude.

Player Contracts Including Christy Mathewson:  A collection of 40 different signed original baseball player contracts of Hall of Famers spanning nine decades is by far the largest and most substantial collection of Hall of Fame baseball contracts to ever be offered at public auction. Included among the numerous highlights is a 1902 Christy Mathewson contract (res. $5,000; est. $10,000/$20,000), and an 1892 James O’Rourke contract that is believed to be the earliest Hall of Famer contract in private hands and was once part of “Hot Dog King” Harry M. Stevens’ personal collection (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+). Also included is the earliest-known Dizzy Dean contract (1930), a 1962 Roberto Clemente contract, Bill Dickey’s 1929 rookie contract, a 1930 Cool Papa Bell Cuban-League contract, Whitey Ford’s 1950 rookie contract, and many other highlights.

1919 Cincinnati Reds World Series Championship PinImportant Baseball Memorabilia:  A 1919 Cincinnati Reds World Series championship pin, one of only several examples known and the forerunner of the World Series ring, has been consigned directly by the family of Jake Daubert, the star Cincinnati first baseman. A Championship pin was presented to each member of the Reds. No one could take away their title, but when the scandal broke shortly after the series, the respect accorded the 1919 World’s Champions was without question diminished, giving this 1919 World Championship award both an extraordinary historical significance and a unique irony (res. $10,000).

The 1914 “Miracle Braves” World Series ring of legendary Hall of Famer Johnny Evers is only the second 1914 World Series ring to ever surface and has been consigned to auction directly by the Evers family (res. $10,000).

Other extraordinary memorabilia items include: the actual glove that in 1920 Bill Wambsganss used to make the first and only unassisted triple play in World Series history (res. $5,000); a selection of items from the Dick Hoblitzell estate including his circa 1913 Cincinnati Reds team sweater,  one of the earliest known Major League team sweaters to ever come to auction (res. $5,000); a circa 1932 Herbert Hoover single-signed ball (res. $1,000; est: open); the actual ball that Harry S. Truman used to throw out the ceremonial first-pitch to open the 1950 season, signed by President Truman (res. $2,000; est. $4,000+); and one of the most finest collections of early World Series press pins to ever come to auction.

Boxing, Football, Basketball: Sports other than baseball are also represented by a rare 1948 Leaf Boxing #50 Rocky Graziano graded EX 5 by PSA (res. $5,000; est: $10,000/$15,000); 1911 T9 Turkey Red Boxing Cabinets Complete Set (26): #5 PSA Set Registry (GPA 5.02; res. $5,000; est. $10,000+); a mint example of the classic NBA “50 Greatest Players” Signed Limited-Edition Lithograph  (res. $10,000; est. $20,000/$40,000);  1960s Cassius Clay Signed and Worn Training Gloves (res. $5,000; est: open); 1955 Topps All-American Football Near-Complete Master Set: #2 PSA Registry (8.51 GPA); 1951 Topps Ringside Boxing Complete Set (96): #5 PSA Set Registry (6.94 GPA); and 1971 Topps Football Complete Set (263): #1 PSA Set Registry (8.49 GPA; res. $5,000; est $10,000+).

Ogden's Tom Morris golf cardThe Jack Zugay Golf Card Collection. The Zugay Collection includes many of the highest-graded and rarest complete sets and single golf cards known to exist. The 600+ cards represent virtually the entire history of twentieth-century golf.  It is not surprising that in the November 2008 issue of SMR, PSA President Joe Orlando calls Zugay “The King of Golf Cards.”  Included here are ten sets that are ranked #1 on the PSA Set Registry, as well as an array of partial sets and singles, all in high grade, many the finest examples known.

The Jimmy Rubino Michael Jordan Collection:  33 lots from the personal collection of famed Philadelphia restaurateur Jimmy Rubino, known far and wide as the world’s greatest collector of Michael Jordan memorabilia. Rubino has spent much of his past 25 years in pursuit of particularly rare and unusual Jordan items. Many of his collecting coups are featured in this auction, including the actual net from Jordan’s game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA tournament that gave Dean Smith his first National Championship at North Carolina, the earliest-known Michael Jordan signed baseball, a Jordan handwritten love letter from high school, Jordan signed credit cards, and even an original Jordan signed artwork. This is one of the largest offerings of very early Michael Jordan related material ever presented at auction.

Non-Sport Cards:  Thousands of nonsport cards dating from the 1880s to the 1960s are included as well as some non-sport card artwork. Perhaps most important among them are the 1940 R145 Gum, Inc. “Superman” High-Number Uncut Sheet (#49-72) and 1940 R83 Gum, Inc. Lone Ranger Uncut Sheet (#25-48) that surfaced directly from a Gum, Inc. employee in the 1970s and have not seen the light of day since.

To review the catalog online, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, receive a complimentary copy of the catalog or inquire about consignments, visit the company’s website.   Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling their next sale.  For further information, contact Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ  07069, or call (908) 226-9900.