A low-grade copy of the hobby’s most recognizable baseball card sold for $444,000 early Sunday as Robert Edward Auctions wrapped up its Spring 2016 catalog auction. The SGC 10 (poor) example, which last sold in 2008 for $227,050 via Heritage Auctions, set a new record for the grade. More recently, a PSA 1 Wagner sold for $403,664 via SCP Auctions in December of 2014.
The card sold by REA was originally purchased more than 30 years ago at a Pennsylvania show by long-time dealer David Festberg, who kept the card as part of his collection until 1993.
The auction tallied $7.95 million as 706 different buyers walked away with one item or more. The auction featured 136 items that hammered down at more than $10,000. Five items cracked six figures.
There was intense competition for classic cards in all grades, as Ruth, Mantle, Cobb, and key rookies continued to reach new heights.
“The results of this auction illustrate the great strength of the market as well as the appreciation, and increasing demand, for quality items in all areas of the hobby,” said REA President Brian Dwyer.
A trio of SGC-graded cards took the top three positions in the list of realized prices in the auction.
In addition to the Wagner, the VG-EX 1916 M101-4 Gimbel’s Babe Ruth rookie closed with a record realized price of $216,000 while an SGC 86 (NM+) 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle brought $180,000.
A PSA 6 ’52 Mantle also topped the six-figure mark, bringing $108,000 while a close cousin of the Gimbel’s Ruth, a 1916 M101-5 graded PSA 4 sold for $156,000.
One of only ten PSA 9-rated examples of the 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson high number soared to $90,000 while one of what is likely fewer than ten copies of the unissued 1977 Topps Reggie Jackson Orioles proof card sold for $60,000. Before Jackson signed with the Yankees late in 1976, Topps had this image ready but instead, replaced it with an airbrushed image showing him in a Yankees batting helmet and uniform.
All of the prices listed include REA’s 20% buyer’s premium, tacked onto the final bid.
Other highlights included:
- 1934 Exhibits 4-in-1 signed by Ruth, Gehrig, Dickey, and Gomez – $72,000
- 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle PSA 9 – $57,000
- 1927 Babe Ruth Handwritten Letter – $48,000
- 1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron RC PSA 8 – $48,000
- 1910 Reach Advertising Tin Display Sign – $45,000
- 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb Green Background SGC 70 – $39,000
Heading the memorabilia items sold was a 1916 mortgage payment voucher signed by Shoeless Joe Jackson for a newly purchased property in Savannah, GA. It brought $51,000.
A 1927 handwritten Babe Ruth letter tallied $48,000, the same price attained for a Fletcher Ransom painting entitled “Yer Out!” Sold on behalf of the Joliet, IL Elks Club, the artwork realized $48,000.
A complete list of sold items can be seen here.