Join to get Daily Sports Collecting News in your inbox!

REA Pulls Back Curtain on Annual Blockbuster Auction: Will Include T206 Wagner

A full year in the making, Robert Edward Auctions has put the finishing touches on its latest catalog auction and the thousands of collectors who look forward to the event each year will have plenty of history to bid on.

The company has announced that the massive catalogs will ship on April 20 and include more than 1,500 lots of historic, rare and valuable baseball cards and memorabilia dating from the 19th century through the modern era.  As always, 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.  The remaining 10,000 catalogs will be sent to collectors all over the world.

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

Serious baseball collectors all over the world look forward to Robert Edward’s annual spring auction. “We have been assembling material, writing, and researching since our 2012 auction closed, hoping to make this a special event for everyone.” says REA president Rob Lifson. “As always, 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.”

Honus Wagner T206 PSA 1

“Babe Ruth’s 1914 rookie card, the T206 Wagner, one of the best 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards in existence, the very first baseball card from 1863, jerseys of Koufax, Mays, and Aaron; autographs of virtually every Hall of Famer; it seems like it goes on forever,” Lifson said.  “We also have an unusually strong selection of items from other sports and an extremely impressive selection of Americana. Every time we turned around, we were offered something great in baseball memorabilia, cards, boxing, and Americana. Roger Maris’ bat.  Muhammad Ali’s shoes from the ‘Rumble In the Jungle’ fight.  A 1933 Goudey Lajoie in Near Mint to Mint condition.  We think this is one of our best auctions ever.”

Some of the items up for bid will include:

T206 Honus Wagner: The famous T206 Honus Wagner needs no introduction and is a star wherever he goes, but this auction features a particularly famous example of the most valuable card in the world. This T206 Wagner REA is offering was once owned by actor Charlie Sheen, who allowed the card to be displayed at the All Star Café in New York. In a plot worthy of a TV episode, in 1998 the card was stolen from its display case by workers at the All Star Café, and replaced with a copy! When the theft was discovered, the thieves were soon caught, and the Wagner was recovered by the FBI. This card when last sold in 2009 realized $399,500.  The T206 “All Star Café” Wagner has a reserve of $100,000.

1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth1914 Babe Ruth Rookie Card: Many consider the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world. This card, issued by the Baltimore News, features Babe Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. In addition to being one of the most important baseball cards known to exist, it is also one of the rarest. Only ten examples of the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie are known to exist in the world. The reserve is $100,000. The card is expected to sell for more than $200,000.  It was consigned by a man whose home was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

1963 Sandy Koufax Jersey: Included in the auction is an extraordinary 1963 Sandy Koufax jersey. One of the best Hall of Famer jerseys in existence, it was while wearing this very jersey in 1963 that Sandy Koufax enjoyed his breakout season, leading the league in wins (25), ERA (1.88), and strikeouts (306; first National League pitcher in history to strikeout over 300 batters). He capped the year by winning two games in the Dodgers’ sweep of the Yankees in the World Series, which was highlighted by his record-setting fifteen strikeouts in Game 1.  His extraordinary regular-season numbers led to Koufax winning both the Most Valuable Player Award and Cy Young Award at season’s end. (reserve $25,000; estimate $50,000+).

Joe Jackson 1910 Old Mill tobacco cardLegendary Card Rarities Including 1910 Joe Jackson:  The 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, and the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie,  included in the auction are two examples of the T206 Eddie Plank, one in Vg-Ex condition (res. $10,000; est. $25,000+) and one in Excellent condition (res. $25,000; est. $50,000+). The 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card (his first card as a major leaguer, not to be confused with his 1914 Baltimore News card as a minor leaguer) is another of card collecting’s most famous rarities, and is represented in this auction by an amazing three different examples ranging in grade from Poor to Vg-Ex. Each 1916 Ruth card is very different and will appeal to a different type of collector. Reserves range from $5,000 in poor condition to $10,000 for the Vg-Ex example.

Also featured is 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+). A second 1933 Goudey #106 in Very Good to Excellent condition (res. of $5,000, Est. $10,000/$15,000+) is also offered.

Yet another legendary card on every short list of the collecting world’s most important baseball cards is the 1910 T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson. In addition to being one of the very few cards of Jackson ever issued, this is the only tobacco card of ‘Shoeless Joe’. Graded Good 2 by PSA, the card features Jackson as a minor leaguer with New Orleans in 1910, long before the “Black Sox” scandal of 1919. It is believed that fewer twenty examples are known to exist (res. $25,000; est. $50,000++). The last T210 Joe Jackson sold by REA was offered in 2011 and realized a record $200,000.

Harry Wright 1863 Grand Match cardThe First Baseball Card? 1863 Harry Wright:  This card, which is also a ticket, has a remarkable significance and claim: It may be the first baseball card ever.  The 1863 Grand Match set was created to promote attendance, and the sale of admissions, to a special series of games held in September of 1863. The first two games were cricket matches. The third was a baseball game.

The significance of the 1863 Grand Match At Hoboken Benefit cards is, in short: The several benefit games of the early 1860s that were organized by Harry Wright were the very first recorded open transactions of players accepting money for playing baseball ever. The players who received the money were the very ones who sold the cards.  According to REA, the 1863 Grand Match ticket/cards represent not only the very first set of baseball cards ever produced, but their sale also represents the Birth of Professional Baseball. The auction features the only known 1863 Grand Match at Hoboken Benefit card of Harry Wright, who today is recognized as the “Father of Professional Baseball”.

Prewar Card Rarities: In addition to the rarities described above, the REA event includes numerous cards issued prior to World War II. Among the  highlights are hundreds of Old Judge baseball cards from the 1880s, 1915 Cracker Jack baseball cards, thousands of 1910 era tobacco and candy cards, and hundreds of 1930s gum cards including high grade examples of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Virtually all important baseball card sets are featured.

1912 Boston Garter Uncut Strip of Four Cards:   REA is also revealing that it will offer the only known uncut strip of 1912 Boston Garter advertising cards. One of the greatest prizes in all of card collecting, the only uncut panel of four 1912 Boston Garter cards known to exist features the following four players: Frank Chance (HOF), Fred Clarke (HOF), Hal Chase, and Bob Bescher. The 1912 Boston Garter set is universally regarded as one of the rarest and most beautiful card issues ever produced. It is believed that fewer than 25 examples of 1912 Boston Garters are known to exist in the entire collecting world.  The strip contains four original 1912 Boston Garter cards. Reserve $50,000, estimate $100,000.

Uncut strip Boston Garter 1912

Post-war baseball cards are also in abundance, including one of the finest examples in the universe of the classic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 8.5 NM-MT+ (reserve $50,000; estimate $100,000+); a 1952 Topps near-complete set (res. $2,500; est. $10,000+); and   high-grade examples of 1950s and 1960s cards of the era’s top stars like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and more. Also included are complete or near-complete sets of virtually every major postwar issue from 1948 to 1972.

Dual signed Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig baseballGame-Used Bats and Jerseys:  This year’s REA auction includes perhaps its best-ever accumulation of game-used bats and jerseys. Bats included are those of legendary Hall of Famers such as Joe DiMaggio, Brooks Robinson,  Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Ted Williams.  Even bats of the legendary Cubs’ infield of the early 20th century:  Tinkers, Evers and Chance!  Most extraordinary is a 1961 Roger Maris bat that the auction company believes may be the very bat he used to tie Babe Ruth’s home run record (reserve $10,000; estimate open). This bat was given to the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse man and is personally inscribed and dated by Maris. Game-used jerseys include 1963 Sandy Koufax (res. $25,000; est. $50,000+); 1970  Brooks Robinson (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+);  1970 Hank Aaron (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+), and 1971 Willie Mays (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+).

Autographs:  Autographs of Ruth and Cobb and Gehrig are included, as well as almost-never-seen extremely rare items signed by early Hall of Famers such as John ward, Dan Brouthers, Christy Mathewson, A. G. Spalding, and Alexander Cartwright. A 1933 American League All-Star team-signed ball complete with all eighteen players including Ruth and Gehrig is one of the finest in existence with regard to both completeness and condition (Reserve $5,000).  REA will sell what it believes is the single finest Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Signed Baseball in existence. Graded PSA/DNA NM-MT+ 8.5 (the highest grade ever recorded for such a ball), this ball has provenance directly from a priest at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The family sold the ball at auction in 2006 for $98,600, and it has remained in the possession of the original buyer until consigning it the upcoming auction.

Boxing, Football, Basketball: Sports other than baseball are also represented by several significant items including: The shoes worn by Muhammad Ali in his epic 1974 “”Rumble in the Jungle” victory over George Forman. The fight shoes were saved by Ali’s assistant trainer and friend Drew “Bundini” Brown (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+). Also included: an extraordinary 1968-1972 Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers Game-Used Road Jersey MEARS A10 (res. $10,000; est. $25,000+) and a 1961-1962 Paul Arizin Philadelphia Warriors Game-Used Road Jersey MEARS A10   (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+).

Americana:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln signed documents highlight an American section that also includes signed items from icons such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley.

Non-Sport Cards and Original Artwork:  Thousands of non-sport cards including many key sets dating from the 1880s to the 1960s are featured, highlighted by an extraordinary newly discovered find of unopened gum card boxes from the 1960s including Batman and The Monkees.

A selection of original artworks used to produce cards is also featured and includes eight 1951 Bowman “Jets, Rockets, Spacemen” paintings. Any 1962 Mars Attacks original artwork is a great prize in the nonsport and illustration art collecting worlds. The auction showcases an amazing five examples, the largest number of 1962 Mars Attacks original paintings to ever surface at auction at a single time:  Included are the original artworks for cards #11 “Destroy The City”,  #19 “Burning Flesh”, #21 “Prize Captive”, #45 “Fighting Giant Insects”, and #52 “Giant Robot”.  Each is an iconic painting by Norm Saunders and among the most desirable nonsport card artworks in existence (each res. $5,000; est. $10,000+).  Also featured and of very special note is the original cover art for EC Comic’s 1952 Shock SuspenStories #3 by legendary artist Wally Wood (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+).

The final date of bidding in this year’s auction will be Saturday, May 18.  Bidding begins April 20 by FAX, phone, or the Internet via the REA website.  Copies of the full-color premium catalog are available for free.  To review the catalog online, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, receive a complimentary copy of the catalog or inquire about consignments, visit http://www.robertedwardauctions.com.  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.

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].

Trackbacks

  1. [...] for the T206 Honus Wagner in Robert Edward Auctions' catalog is now at $310,000.  Graded PSA 1, it appears on the way to setting a new record for the grade [...]

  2. [...] PSA 1-graded Wagner will be offered by Robert Edward Auctions later this [...]