It’s been quite a ride for one of the most fabulous finds in hobby history, but it’s not quite over yet.
The jaw-dropping collection of Jimmy Micioni included countless treasures from a lifetime of chasing autographs, baseball cards, photos and other memorabilia. When the 97-year-old veteran passed away in March 2020, the breadth of his decades long passion became apparent when Wheatland Auction Services began sifting through it all. There were thousands of autographed cards dating back to the 1930s, including a staggering six Babe Ruth cards, all attractive, boldly signed examples.
The collection was so big, it’s taken multiple auctions spread out over more than a year to find homes for all of it. Now, the last installment of it is part of Wheatland’s latest auction. The last–and best–Ruth card (#149) is among the items on the block. Graded PSA 4 with an autograph grade of 8, the card currently carries a high bid of over $300,000.
“People who have seen this card in person believe it’s the best of all of the signed Ruth cards in the collection,” said Wheatland’s Chuck Whisman. “The eye appeal is amazing.”
Wheatland sold two other autographed Ruth cards in October for a total of over $725,000. In August, two others sold for more than $540,000 and the first one from the “Uncle Jimmy Collection” netted $153,400 back in July. In all, nine cards signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig have generated over $2 million for Micioni’s family members. The current auction includes another Gehrig, but the signature on the front is that of his wife Eleanor, who answered fan mail at times.
“These were stored away and never exposed to sunlight,” Whisman said of the thousands of autographed cards that were owned by a collector who often kept meticulous records of his autograph quests. “When you hold them in your hand, the colors just pop.”
About half of the items in Wheatland’s online catalog are from the Uncle Jimmy Collection, including another huge stash of signed Goudey cards he obtained decades ago, usually by writing to players. More autographed cards from Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin, Leo Durocher, Ernie Lombardi, Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley, Lefty Grove, Frankie Frisch and Bill Terry are just some of those on the block this month.
The auction also includes lots made up of Uncle Jimmy’s unsigned Goudey, Diamond Stars, Play Ball, and Double Play cards, postcards and baseball photographs from George Brace and George Burke. There are high grade post-War cards and even personal items like his stamp collection and “lucky” $2 bills he collected.
Never married, Micioni’s extended family of nieces and nephews are benefitting from the auctions and Wheatland is donating a portion of its consignment profits to charities in remembrance of the long-time baseball fan who quietly built a collection is now being distributed to appreciative collectors.
The auction continues through February 21.