It could be a long night, but it’ll be a fun one for bidders who save their money every year for the treasures inside the Robert Edward Auctions catalog. The auction closes Saturday night with a T206 Wagner, 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth and a PSA 8.5 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle among the items on the block.
The REA auction is an event in itself with thousands of rare baseball cards and memorabilia going to the highest bidders. Hobby heavyweights, baseball historians and collecting newcomers will be in on the action.
As of late Wednesday night, the Ruth card had pushed its way to $300,000—a figure that doesn’t yet include the buyer’s premium of 18.5%. One of exactly ten known to exist, the card pre-dates the Babe’s big league debut. It was consigned by a collector who needed liquidity after losing his home to Hurricane Sandy.
The Wagner card, graded PSA 1 and with some famous history on its side, stood at $330,000. Once owned by Charlie Sheen and stolen from its display case at a New York restaurant in the 1990’s, the hobby’s ‘holy grail’ seems poised to set yet another sales record.
Some of the cards sold in the auction have seen remarkable appreciation in a relatively short period of time. Post-War collectors have been watching the 1952 Topps PSA 8.5 Mickey Mantle with a keen eye. It’s the highest graded ’52 Mantle to hit the market since 2010 and the current high bid of $190,000 has already blasted past the final selling price of that example. The card being offered by REA is one of the 12 best 1952 Topps Mantles ever graded by PSA with most of the others resting in private collections and rarely offered for sale.
A one-of-a-kind Boston Garter uncut panel of four cards dating from 1912 has had the hobby’s most advanced collectors salivating for weeks. Currently at $150,000, it shows four players including Frank Chance and Fred Clarke touting the product.
A Sandy Koufax road flannel from 1963, a year in which the legendary hurler won the MVP and Cy Young Awards, stands at $130,000.
The finest known dual-signed Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig autographed baseball is in the auction, too. It currently has a high bid of $85,000.
“But at the same time there are hundreds of lots that are at far more modest levels, at least right now,” Lifson said. “Just like the thousands of collectors that enjoy following the auction, we’re looking forward to seeing what happens over the next couple of days.”