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High Grade Babe Ruth Baseball Tops Bidding in $1.6 Million Memory Lane Auction

A boldly signed and well-preserved Babe Ruth autographed baseball sold for $60,617, leading the way in Memory Lane Inc.’s Winter Extravaganza Auction, which closed last Friday.

Having presumably taken care of others on their holiday list, collectors decided to use the latter part of the holiday shopping season on themselves.  Over 1,300 lots featuring rare and high grade sports cards and memorabilia were sold for a total of nearly $1.6 million.

Autographed Babe Ruth baseball graded 8 Memory Lane“The momentum from our recent I Own it Now sale really carried over to the auction,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen.  “This was a tremendous way to close out 2013.  The Ruth ball generated a lot of excitement but there was a lot of variety in this auction and collectors really responded.”

Signed in blue ink on the sweet spot, Ruth’s autograph adorned an official Ford Frick National League baseball dating to 1947 when the dying legend visited Shibe Park to speak to the American Legion All-Stars who were playing at Shibe Park.  Graded ‘8’ overall by PSA/DNA, the ball is among the best preserved Ruth signed balls in existence.

Ironically, it was a baseball card tied to the start of a current Yankee’s legendary career that drew the second highest price.Derek Jeter Upper Deck SP 1993 PSA 10  A 1993 Upper Deck SP Foil Derek Jeter Rookie Card graded PSA 10 sold for a remarkable $33,842.  Of more than 10,000 graded, this card is one of only a dozen to be awarded a ‘10’ grade.

Fans of high grade Mickey Mantle cards were drawn to two mint ‘golden era’ cards of The Mick.  A 1958 Topps graded PSA 9 sold for $18,673 while a gorgeous ’53 Bowman Mantle went for $18,040.

A near set of high grade cards from Topps’ first hockey set attracted strong bidding.  Missing only three cards with nearly all rating a PSA 8 (NM/MT) grade, the group sold for $23,192.

Collectors of the famed T206 baseball set saw numerous high grade cards offered  including PSA 8 examples of Jack Chesbro ($7,472) and Hughie Jennings (portrait/$6,173).

There were dozens of vintage rookie cards including a PSA 10 1968 Topps Johnny Bench which reached $9,339, a 1957 Topps Don Drysdale PSA 9 ($7,470) and a PSA 9 Reggie Jackson from 1969 Topps ($6,173).

4th Series 1972 Topps Baseball unopened boxUnopened product remained hot with a 1972 Topps 4th Series wax box selling for $9,025 and a 1975 Topps vending box bringing $3,201.

Fans of the Big Train, Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, saw a unique lot in this auction:  a multi-signed baseball with Johnson on the sweet spot and a famous 1924 statue completed by famous sculptor Ulric Dunbar.  Originally presented to President Calvin Signed Walter Johnson baseball statueCoolidge, a fan of Johnson and the Washington Senators, the 19” statue and ball sold for $10,273.

A rare signed ball from Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander drew numerous bids from collectors before realizing $16,982.  A ball autographed by the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers including Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and several other Hall of Famers sold for $5,603.

Memory Lane is already taking consignments for its next I Own it Now catalog sale, which will take place later this winter and also for its Spring 2014 auction.  Contact the company via their website or call 714.730.0600 to discuss consigning your high quality cards and memorabilia.

Memory Lane also conducts ongoing eBay listings.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].