Packs were once 15 cents. A whole box was $5.40–retail. Little could anyone who bought some baseball cards in the spring or summer of 1976 have imagined that a complete set would one day sell for $173,066, but that’s what happened late Friday night when the Lelands Classic Auction came to a close.
Of course, this was no ordinary set.
Painstakingly pieced together by a collector chasing graded card perfection, the set was ranked #1 Finest All-Time on the PSA set registry. A total of 563 of the set’s 660 cards (85%) have been graded a perfect PSA GEM MINT 10 including the Dennis Eckersley #98 rookie. The set generated 26 bids.
It wasn’t the highest selling item in the auction, though. That honor went to a 1932 Babe Ruth model bat, perhaps the one used to hit his “called shot” home run in the World Series. The Louisville Slugger carrying Ruth’s name in the barrel realized $212,587.
A 1957 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game bat also surpassed six figures, reaching $113,924.
Lelands’ partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers put 31 vintage items on the block and collectors spent over $350,000 on 31 items including a 1984 game-worn jersey once donned by Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert which sold for $45,574. A 1974 Andy Russell gamer sold for $41,885, a Lynn Swann jersey from 1982 fetched $41,430 while jerseys worn by Ernie Holmes (1975) and Jack Ham (1982) each sold for $25,063. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.
Baseball collectors chased a 1968 Reggie Jackson rookie year game worn Oakland A’s jersey ($55,145) and a single-signed circa 1937 Babe Ruth signed baseball ($43,273).
Another high quality vintage baseball card set also generated strong interest from bidders. The fifth best All-Time set on PSA’s 1968 Topps 3-D registry soared to $53,725.
For complete results, visit Lelands.com.