The young person who collected them a century ago made sure to lightly brand most of them as his own but that simple, light pencil script on the backs didn’t deter bidders from chasing what’s believed to be the only 1917 Collins-McCarthy baseball card set ever offered at auction.
Lelands sold the complete set, issued by a San Francisco candy maker, for $107,460 early Saturday morning as its Fall Classic Auction came to a close.
Other sets and near sets have been broken up and sold individually over the years but this time collectors had the chance to snare all 200 cards at one time. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson are among those in the Collins-McCarthy set.
The auction included over 1,000 lots of vintage cards and memorabilia including items from the personal collections of Hall of Famer Jesse Haines, deadball era players Rube Oldring and Dick Hoblitzell, actor and collector Charlie Sheen and former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier.
Among the top individual attractions was a 1916 M101-5 Babe Ruth rookie card. Graded 1.5 by PSA, it sold for $80,736. Another Ruth rarity, a D350-3 1921 Standard Biscuit Ruth graded SGC 4 was a big hit with bidders, climbing to $60,659.
A circa 1909 Honus Wagner cabinet photo by Carl Horner, identical to the one used on the iconic T206 card, sold for $65,008 while a signed 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig card netted $59,098.
The top selling items from the Bleier collection included his Super Bowl XIV jersey ($20,011) and Super Bowl XIII helmet ($18,192). A decorated Vietnam veteran who overcame serious injuries to help the Steelers to multiple Super Bowl titles, Bleier stated he planned to use some of the proceeds to help Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, a charitable organization that places service canines with veterans.
A 1927 New York Yankees team signed baseball brought $59, 098, Heinie Groh’s old New York Giants sweater drew a final price of $53,725 while a mortgage voucher containing the rare signature of Shoeless Joe Jackson went for $30,326.
Oldring’s 1911 Philadelphia Athletics championship medal–a forerunner to the World Series ring–sold for $45,474 while Sheen’s cap from the hit movie Major League sold for $14,298.
Among the other top trading cards sold in the auction was a collection of over 300 1911-1936 Zeenuts cards. Consigned by a long-time collector, the lot sold for $44,876. A partial set (536/728) of 1978 Topps baseball cards, all graded PSA 10, changed hands for a whopping $25,962.
Complete results from the Lelands Fall Auction can be found here.