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Vintage Cards, Sports Memorabilia Blast ‘Book’ Values

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The appetite for vintage high grade sports cards and memorabilia means collectors and speculators threw away the book in one recent major auction.

The numbers have been crunched and statistics analyzed. The math equations show a record number of bidders producing over $2.7 million in realized values during Memory Lane Incorporated’s auction of vintage sports cards and memorabilia last month..

“We were amazed at the site traffic and bidding volume for this auction especially on cards,” said MLI’s Roger Cameron.

Baseball card values are often subjective and based more on supply and demand and the auction was proof of that. When it comes to vintage graded sports cards, the question ‘how much are my baseball cards worth?’ is really better answered by the latest auction results.

The hobby’s only known 1933 Goudey #92 Lou Gehrig card (Lot 1) in a PSA GEM MINT 10 grade sold in Memory Lane’s auction for $274,000, 730% more than the Sports Card Market Report’s listed value for a grade 9.

Another big auction winner was the 1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko Black Back, in a high grade PSA 8, sold for over $95,000 in realized value and exceeded SMR book value by over 245%.

Classic 50’s cards in high grade were also in big demand. Of particular interest was a 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays, his rookie card, in a PSA 8 which sold for $15,799 and a PSA 9 1954 Topps #128 Henry Aaron rookie that went for over $25,500, +42% above SMR. A third rookie card, a 1955 Topps Ernie Banks in a PSA 9 sold for $15,799, 44 above SMR.

Several high end T3 Turkey Red cabinets as well as a group of T9 cabinet boxing cards were sold as well. A #39 Rube Waddell with the checklist back (PSA 6) went for over $8600, 244% above SMR book. A Slim Sallee with a checklist reverse snagged $11,500+; exceeding the SMR book by a 522%.

Memory Lane executives indicated they were pleased with the other early vintage baseball cards including high end and scarce T205’s, T206’s, T202’s and T201’s. While many collectors chase cards to fill high grade sets, others see vintage cards as great sports memorabilia investments.

“The volume of cards being consigned to our auctions has been growing significantly," stated Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. "As people discover our expertise and ability to get results for them the word-of-mouth is spreading in the hobby and our auctions are showing it.”

Among other cards which far exceeded their ‘book values’ were:

Lot 168 1933 Delong #8 Kiki Cuyler PSA 7 — +292 % above SMR
Lot 179 1933 Goudey #26 Chalmer Cissel PSA 8 — +645%
Lot 180 1933 Goudey #36 Tommy Thevenow PSA 8 — +720%
Lot 202 1933 Tattoo Orbit Lefty Grove PSA 8 — +306%
Lot 206 1933 Tattoo Orbit Pepper Martin PSA 8 — +1163%
Lot 271 1949 Bowman #86 Johnny Pesky PSA 10 — +1143 (above PSA 9 – no 10’s listed)
Lot 301 1951 Bowman # 6 Don Newcombe PSA 9 — +300%
Lot 303 1951 Bowman #32 Duke Snider PSA 9 — +154%
Lot 346 1952 Topps #161 Bud Byerly PSA 8 — +221%
Lot 378 1953 Topps #132 Tom Morgan PSA 9 — +681%
Lot 393 1953 Topps #227 Morris Martin PSA 9 — +418%
Lot 398 1953 Topps #258 Jim Gilliam PSA 9 — +68%
Lot 411 1953 Bowman Color #113 Karl Drews PSA 8 — +351%
Lot 414 1953 Bowman Color #129 Russ Meyer PSA 8 — +833%
Lot 431 1954 Topps #25 Harvey Kuenn PSA 9 — +259%
Lot 467 1954 Topps #164 Stu Miller PSA 9 — +448%
Lot 527 1955 Topps #100 Monte Irvin PSA 8 — +578%
Lot 537 1955 Topps #191 Ed Stanky PSA 9 — +1840%
Lot 546 1956 Topps #11 Cub Team PSA 9 — +521%
Lot 550 1956 Topps #95 Braves Team PSA 9 — +545%
Lot 551 1956 Topps #100 Orioles Team PSA 9 — +1043%
Lot 585 (9) 1957 Topps #136 Jim Hegan PSA 10 – +1522% (above PSA 9 – no 10 listed)
Lot 595 1957 Topps #295 Joe Collins PSA 9 – +867%
Lot 695 1959 Topps #514 Bob Gibson PSA 9 – +123%
Lot 699 1959 Topps # 572 Billy Pierce (A-S) PSA 9 – +1399%
Lot 703 1959 Bazooka Willie Mays (Hand cut) PSA 7 – +239%
Lot 707 1960 Topps #18 Dodger Team PSA 9 – +779%
Lot 715 1960 Topps #283 John Blanchard PSA 9 – +1935%
Lot 759 1961 Topps #554 Pirates PSA 9 – +426%

Lot 837 1935 National Chicle #34 Bronko Nagurski PSA 6 – +56%
Lot 840 1935 National Chicle #8 Jim Zyntell PSA 8- +134%
Lot 841 1935 National Chicle #10 Cliff Battles PSA 8 – +134%
Lot 847 1935 National Chicle #28 Stan Kostka PSA 8 – +84%
Lot 849 1935 National Chicle #30 Ernie Caddel PSA 8 – +170%
Lot 851 1935 National Chicle #33 Ernie Smith PSA 8 – +197%
Lot 852 1935 National Chicle #35 Luke Johnson PSA 8 – +145%
Lot 906 1954 Topps Hockey #56 Edgar Laprade PSA 8 – +726%
Lot 910 1964 Topps Hockey #57 Bob Braun PSA 10 — +835% (above a 9 – no 10 listed)

“We have a very savvy collecting clientele and if you collect cards you follow the MLI auctions," stated Dan Wulkan, MLI’s nationally known autograph expert. “Now it’s starting to happen in our high-end autograph section as well.”

Among the autographed items sold:

Lot 1113 Alexander Cartwright handwritten letter realized over $1100.
Lot 1116 General Abner Doubleday 1867 signed Civil War document over $2400.
Lot 1079 Jackie Robinson PSA MINT 9 signed index card pulled in over $1300.
Lot 1074 Lou Gehrig signed postcard over $3100.
Lot 1202 Muhammad Ali signed boxing gloves over $2700.

Realized values for all of MLI’s Auction Memorabilia and Cards in the “Archived Auctions”section can be found at www.memorylaneinc.com.


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