Descendants of a former Goudey employee are feeling like the person who wins a lottery two times.
The employees’ grandchildren found more than 20 high-grade Babe Ruth cards from a stash of 1933 Goudeys that were auctioned off in mid-November. Recently they struck gold again, stumbling into more than 150 Goudeys from 1933 and 1934 in two plastic cases that were hidden in an upstairs attic safe in their grandfather’s Massachusetts home.
The new haul includes two 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie cards that Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Derek Grady calls “spectacular.” There are also two more 1933 Goudey Ruth cards and three Lou Gehrig cards. Two of the Gehrig cards are from 1934, and the other is from the ’33 set.
Except for some centering variances, the cards are remarkably well preserved, having avoided the pockets of kids decades ago.
The Lajoie cards “both look like near mint,” Grady said.
The new batch of cards will be graded by SGC and will be part of Heritage’s July Sports Catalog Auction that will include “thousands” of cards and tickets in what Grady calls “a healthy catalog.” The auction will run from July 21 to July 23.
“I love great consigners and I love when they find more high-end stuff,” Grady said.
Other notable names in the find that will be coming up for auction include Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch, Dizzy Dean, Ernie Lombardi, Tris Speaker, Bill Terry, Paul Waner, Lefty Grove, Earl Averill, Mickey Cochrane, Joe Cronin, Chuck Klein, Kiki Cuyler and Leo Durocher.
Grady said the first group of Goudeys brought in more than $500,000 over Heritage’s last few auctions.
“They (consigners) were thrilled with the results,” Grady said.
This new group of cards–most appearing virtually untouched– could bring much more.
Grady said he learned about the new find from one of his colleagues at Heritage.
“He said, ‘We got a call,’ and I said, ‘Was there a problem?’”
No problem. Just a new cache of cards the family wanted to consign again.
“They knew they had some good stuff but were not sure how valuable they were,” Grady said. “This is the pinnacle of why we do this.”
That question will be resolved when the cards come back from SGC with grades.
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As avid collectors of vintage cards know, the Lajoie card has an interesting history. It was sent to frustrated collectors in 1934 who wrote Goudey and wondered by card No. 106 was not included in the set. Goudey had not produced a card with that number but created a version in 1934 and mailed it to those customers who had written to the company.
One of those cards, graded PSA 9, sold for $384,000 in Heritage’s Winter Sports Card Catalog Auction on Jan. 27. None of the Lajoie cards have ever been graded a 10 by PSA. During that same auction, a Lajoie that was an SGC 3 sold for $37,200.
Two Babe Ruth cards from the Goudey employee’s collection sold for high numbers during Heritage’s November auction.
A 1933 Goudey card of Ruth that was graded SGC 8 sold for $288,000, while an SGC 7 specimen fetched $87,000.
Grady has seen the renewed interest in vintage cards, and the spectacular rise in prices at auctions has been nothing short of amazing. Collectors sitting at home, restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, suddenly had plenty of disposable cash to invest. The results? Higher card prices at auctions — something that Goudey employee could not have anticipated when he put the cards in his safe nearly 90 years ago.
“It’s a fun hobby and it has expanded greatly,” Grady said. “It took a pandemic to make our hobby super cool again.”