As we reported earlier this week, the family of the late Olympian Jim Heaney consigned a large selection of 1930's sports cards - including a staggering ten examples of the rare 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski--to auction. The headline? Money finds cards - as once again it is proven no matter the venue in the internet age dedicated collectors will undoubtedly find the goods.
While respected in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers was all but unheard of in the world of sports card and memorabilia auctions prior to this find. Feeling there might be the opportunity to get a bargain from the smaller venue, a crowd of collectors registered for the auction. However, the expanded competition, exposure on forums such as Net54, and our own article being used as the basis for a story on Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard combined to bring strong results in the auction.
Nine of the 10 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski cards were sold individually, all ranging in grade from PSA 1 to 5. While some worried that listing them all simultaneously might diminish their value, they instead sold for a respectable $34,160 when including the 18% buyer's premium charged by the auction house.
The two finest specimens in the lot, a PSA 5 and PSA 4.5, sold for $7,080 and $6,195 respectively. A visually appealing PSA 3 example brought $3,894. The first PSA 2 that sold brought $2,714, but the two that followed later in the auction quickly increased to $3,422 and $3,540 as collectors feared they were losing their chance to own one of the Nagurski cards. When the first PSA 1 sold for $1,888 it was briefly thought the lesser grade examples might be had at a discount, but a 1.5 followed at $3,304 and a 1 MK, which should have been valued lower than the 1, sold for a respectable $2,124.
Three original Goudey Sport Kings cards of legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne were sold individually as well, with two PSA 5 examples both selling for $767 and the PSA 4 example closing at $531. The remainder of the 1935 Chicle cards sold in group lots, and included the last of the Nagurski cards (a PSA 1 MK). The Chicles included mid grade and poor examples, as well as low and hi numbers, and brought $14,750.
If you missed your chance to get a Nagurski, there are two on eBay right now.
On the baseball front, a 1933 Goudey starter set with Hall of Famers sold for $3,422, a collection of 1934 Goudey cards (with both examples of Lou Gehrig) sold for $4,720, and a mixed collection of 1933 and '34 World Wide Gum cards sold for $2,596. Manufactured by the same company as the National Chicle football cards, three lots of 1934-36 Diamond Stars cards combined to bring $5,782. Three lots of 1935 Goudey 4-in-1, including a framed complete set, sold for a combined $5,900. And lastly, a 1936 Batter-Up lot closed at $2,596.
On the more eclectic front - and not believed to be directly linked to the Heaney consignments - a 1912 J=K Candy (Type 1) of Red Sox player (and later manager of the 1915 and '16 World Series champions) Bill Carrigan sold for $472, while a Type 2 example of Hall of Fame legend Honus Wagner saw spirited bidding, both at the auction and on the internet, until closing at $3,894. Finally, a selection of three Middy Bread cards, including Hall of Famer George Sisler, sold $1,416.
Despite early uncertainty, there was much to be celebrated in the affluent suburbs of Philadelphia as a successful auction has surely brought happiness to consignor, buyer, and auctioneer alike. In the aftermath it would only be appropriate to take a moment and remember the incredible life of the late Jim Heaney, who treasured his cards and loved talking about his fellow athletes even more.