One of the best known sets of 1953 Topps baseball cards is among more than 1,000 lots in the current Memory Lane’s 2014 Winter Auction.
The set, loaded with PSA 8 (nm/mt) cards, is part of a collection consigned by collector Gary Hughes, who has spent nearly a half century working in professional baseball. Currently a special advisor to the Boston Red Sox, Hughes has also consigned sets of 1953 Red Man Tobacco and 1953 Mother’s Cookies PCL cards to the auction. The Red Man set ranks third on PSA’s Set Registry while the Mother’s Cookies set ranks as the second best set. The 1953 Topps set is being sold card-by-card while the others will be kept intact.
The auction, which launched Friday, also includes a mouth-watering group of unopened vintage material including a 1960 Topps Baseball wax box, which carries an opening bid of $15,000. The series of the 24-pack box is unknown. Rookie cards of the two biggest latter 20th century sports icons are likely resting inside two of the other boxes in the auction: a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey box containing 48 packs that tempts with potentially mint Wayne Gretzky rookie cards and a 1986-87 Fleer Basketball box that likely contains multiple Michael Jordan rookie cards and other debut examples of numerous Hall of Famers. Each carries a $10,000 opening bid. All three boxes have been authenticated and shrink-wrapped by Baseball Card Exchange.
The auction features numerous items pertaining to the king of baseball memorabilia, Babe Ruth. There are autographed Ruth baseballs, two personal checks and other signed items. Vintage card collectors will find PSA 8 examples of the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings and 1935 Goudey 4-in-1 Ruth as well as PSA 7 copies of the 1932 U.S. Caramel and 1933 Goudey Baseball issues.
Ruth also features prominently in a group of original photographs consigned to the auction by the family of the first sports agent, Christy Walsh. Images include the likes of Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, John McGraw, Dizzy Dean, Joe DiMaggio and Knute Rockne, some of which were taken during the 1924, ’29 and ’34 World Series games.
Locating any 1914 Cracker Jack cards is a challenge, but this auction contains 11 high grade examples of this ultra-scarce century old set.
Vintage baseball singles include a who’s who of Hall of Famers including a 1933 DeLong Lou Gehrig graded PSA 8 (MB $12,000), a 1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams rated NM/MT (MB $10,000), a PSA 8 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie, 1938 Goudey Joe DiMaggio, PSA 8 examples of the 1950 Bowman and 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson, one of three PSA 10 1970 Topps Hank Aaron cards and one of two Willie Mays cards from the same set. There is also a run of high-grade 1950s and 50s Mickey Mantle cards including 1953 Bowman and 1957 Topps, both PSA 8.
A collection of of 16 T206 cards with Cycle backs features Frank Chance, Clark Griffith and Rube Waddell, all in PSA 8 holders, a rare sight for tobacco card collectors. The cards will be offered on an individual basis to collectors.
There are hundreds of other single cards representing sets from the 19th through the early 20th century in the Memory Lane catalog.
Single basketball cards are represented with a 1961-62 Fleer Jerry West rookie, a 1969-70 Topps Wilt Chamberlain and 1970-71 Pete Maravich rookie, all graded PSA 9, a 1969-70 Lew Alcindor PSA 8 rookie card and a pair of Michael Jordan’s 1986-87 Fleer rookie cards, one PSA 10 and the other a 9. Among the football offerings include two 1935 National Chicle Knute Rockne cards, PSA 10 Joe Montana and Earl Campbell Topps rookie cards and several from the 1894 Mayo’s Cut Plug set.
Complete, graded sets of 1922 E120 featuring Ruth, Cobb, Walter Johnson and Tris Speaker and 1940 Play Ball with DiMaggio and Williams, will be up for grabs as well. Numerous complete sets from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s in all sports are inside, too.
Autograph collectors will see not only Ruth memorabilia, but single-signed baseballs from Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Jackie Robinson, among many other items.
There is also a full ticket to Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, the Babe Ruth ‘called shot’.
Bidding will open at noon Eastern Time on Saturday, December 20 and will close Saturday, January 10. Full color catalogs are available free and registration is now open at on the Memory Lane website or by calling 877.606.LANE (5263).
The company also has ongoing auctions and items for sale on their eBay page.