One of the best known examples of the 1916 M101-5 Babe Ruth rookie card sold for $220,950 early Sunday morning, leading the action in Goldin Auctions’ Fall Auction. It drew the biggest price among the items in one of two catalogs issued for the sale. The other was devoted to one of the most impressive player collections ever offered in the hobby. More than 140 items from the life and times of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were on the block, including championship rings, personal awards, game-worn uniforms and other memorabilia.
In all, the auction generated $4.6 million in sales, including $1 million from the Abdul-Jabbar collection.
The Ruth card is one of two rated 5.5 (EX+) by SGC with none higher on the company’s population report. Eleven bids were made for the card, which dates to the early portion of his Boston Red Sox career.
The second biggest price went to the original rules of basketball produced for James Naismith’s 1934 manuscript, including his hand-written notations. The lot was comprised of three typewritten pages mirroring what Naismith had created for his college students when he invented the game in 1891. The winning bid, with buyer’s premium, was $171,850.
The Abdul-Jabbar collection was paced by his 1971 NBA championship ring, earned with the Milwaukee Bucks, which sold for $153,438. His rookie season 1970 Eastern Conference All-Star Game uniform paced the game-used items in the sale, bringing $93,290. A jersey from his Bucks career and an original LeRoy Neiman painting of his famous skyhook each sold for $87,153.
Goldin also broke up the top-ranked 1957 Topps football set on PSA’s Set Registry, with bidding for a PSA 9 Johnny Unitas rookie card ending with a winner at $92,063. A Sandy Koufax rookie card, also rated 9, netted $88,380. The biggest price for a complete set went to the eleventh-ranked 1952 Bowman set on PSA’s registry which changed hands at $47,873.
Two modern trading cards combined to sell for more than $100,000. A 2009 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor Mike Trout graded BGS 9.5 (#45/50) reached $58,920 while a PGS 8.5 (10 auto) 2007-08 Kevin Durant Upper Deck Exquisite rookie auto patch (#24/35) sold for $47,873.
Six pre-war bats surpassed $20,000, including: 1914-15 Frank Baker ($34,370), 1922-23 Honus Wagner ($31,915), 1942-43 Stan Musial rookie era ($24,55), 1911-16 Ty Cobb ($23,322), 1922-23 Tris Speaker ($22,095) and 1910-11 Sam Crawford ($20,867).
“We were especially pleased with the prices realized for the pre-1950 game used vintage bats, with many setting record prices for the grade,” said Ken Goldin Founder of Goldin Auctions. “Since our sale of a Nap Lajoie bat in August for more than $100,000, our customer base searching for vintage hall of fame game-used bats has grown dramatically.”
Complete results can be found here.