Cuban, Negro League Items Top Auction

For the second straight auction, Hake’s Americana & Collectibles has seen record bidding lead to their biggest total ever.

“The catalyst was sports items from the storied Richard Merkin Collection,” said Alex Winter, General Manager of Hake’s. “15 of the top 20 items (and 32 of the top 50) were sports items, and all but one was from the Merkin Collection.”

It began with the Tuesday-closing portion of their auction. The company’s previous event, Auction #202 in February 2011, set a record for total bidding in the first session, which generally features political, sports, and other non-character collectibles.

Cuban baseball card Jose MendezNow the hammer has fallen on Auction #203, which closed June 21-23, and that statement can be made yet again.

The auction also saw a strong performance from the Thursday-closing items, which pushed the event over the finish line.

“The top item, selling for $32,890, is one of the rarest and most desirable of all Cuban baseball cards, the 1910 Punch Jose Mendez which SGC assessed as ‘Authentic,’ This was followed by a 1928 Pittsburgh Crawfords tePhoto 1928 Pittsburgh Crawfords Josh Gibsonam photo featuring a young Josh Gibson, which brought $25,255,” Winter said.

All prices include the company’s 15% buyer’s premium.

Other sports highlights included a Chicago American Giants postcard, which closed at $16,303, two other Punch card rarities — Bruce Petway, which realized $11,500 and Luis Padron, which sold for $11,243. A superb photo of Willie Foster ended at $10,150, a 1967 Topps Venezuelan Retirado SGC-certified set totaled $7,843, and a stunning Jack Johnson photo signed to Ring magazine promoter Nat Fleischer hammered at $7,653

“This is now the fifth auction we have offered items from the Merkin collection, so we are well aware of just how special these items are,” Winter said. “Their rarity is not being overlooked by our bidders. Richard was a pioneer in the arena of Cuban and Negro League baseball collecting and in many cases had acquired the only known example of these rare and historic artifacts. With each auction, our bidding audience continues to grow. As a result, so do the prices these items realize. While many in the sports hobby were surprised when we acquired the collection, there is no doubt now that Hake’s has become a leader in this field of collectibles. It signifies what we’re all about and validates our claim as America’s first and most diversified pop culture auction house.”

Political items also sold well.