One of the hobby’s most iconic and rare cards and a complete basic T206 baseball set are among the headliners as Love of the Game Auctions kicks off its Fall Auction this week.
The sale features sports and non-sports cards and memorabilia from the late 19th Century to the present, highlighted by a rare and valuable 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie, graded EX/NM+ 82 by SGC. The card, once owned by noted collector Charles Conlon, is one of the finest examples of the Goudey rarity in the hobby.
Also featured is a 1910 Tip Top Bread Honus Wagner, graded EX 60 by SGC. The card is a particularly exceptional and important example, having been once owned by hobby pioneer Lionel Carter. Known for his penchant for high-grade cards, Carter amassed an incredible collection over the years, and acquired many cards before the hobby was as condition-sensitive as it is today. The result has been an increased level of confidence among contemporary collectors that cards bearing the Carter pedigree are fresh, unaltered examples.
“This is, by far, our biggest and best auction yet,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “By increasing our growing list of consignors, we’ve been able to expand the number of quality lots, and are offering some of the most incredible pieces we’ve been fortunate enough to offer.”
An assortment of higher quality complete sets is up for bid including what’s described as a “collector grade” T206 set of 520 cards that includes
all the key variations, Southern Leaguers and various scarcities. The set, which includes 29 graded cards, does not include the “Big Four,” (the ultra-valuable Wagner, Plank, Magie and Doyle cards).
Also featured in the auction is a 1910 E93 Standard Caramel set, currently ranked #4 on the PSA Registry. “This is an incredible set,” said Crisafulli. “Most of the cards are sharp and clean, giving the appearance of mid or high-grade cards. The consignor purchased the set some time ago at auction, and then upgraded the Mathewson by adding a PSA 5 example”
The #1 rated 1954 Red Heart Dog Food set on the SGC Registry is also up for grabs. The Red Heart set, an issue that was recently featured on Sports Collectors Daily, has two-thirds of its composition rated MINT 96 by SGC, with no examples graded below NM-MT 88. Both the set’s key cards, of Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial, have graded MINT 96.
Additionally, the auction features a high-grade complete 1952 Red Man set, currently ranked #4 on the SGC Registry. Compared with all the other graded, registered sets, this is the #6 highest-graded example of the iconic set in the entire hobby, regardless of grading company.
Non-sports sets are also represented, with a 1934 National Chicle Sky Birds complete Master Set. This set, which includes each card along with the entire, scarce Series of 144 subset, is easily one of the finest in the hobby, ranking #1 on the SGC Registry. One of the most beloved non-sports sets in the hobby, the issue contains cards of American heroes and villains like Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Baron Von Richtofen (The Red Baron) and more.
Other sets featured in the auction include a rare, 1933 George C. Miller complete set, an unusual 1893 N135 Duke Cigarettes “Talk of the Diamond” set, a complete 1948 Bowman baseball set, a 1887 N28 Allen & Ginter Baseball set, currently ranked #13 on the PSA Registry, a complete 1973 O-Pee-Chee baseball set, a high-grade 1967 Philadelphia football set, and more.
Other auction highlights include:
Rare and Valuable Baseball Cards:
One of the auction’s key highlights is a 1950-51 Toleteros Josh Gibson, graded EX 60 by SGC. Considered to be the most popular and highly sought-after Negro Leagues card, the Toleteros card captures the person widely considered the greatest-ever Negro Leaguer a few years after his passing. Unquestionably rare, fewer than 30 graded examples are known and this card ranks among the best.
Also included is one of the T206 issue’s “Big Four,” the Sherry Magee “Magie” error. Graded VG 3 by PSA, this is one of the most important cards in the T206 set, widely sought-after among advanced collectors.
Rare Cuban cards of Negro Leaguers enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame are also well-represented, featuring extraordinary 1923-24 Nacionales Cigarros cards of Cristobal Torriente and Andy Cooper, along with Caramelo Deportivo cards of Ray Brown, Martin Dihigo, and Ray Dandridge.
1888 H.D. Smith & Co. Gum Cards: Long known to the hobby as 1888 “Scrapps Tobacco,” these colorful die-cut cards were never able to be positively identified. There are two ‘joined’ examples featuring Hall of Famers Sam Thompson and Ned Hanlon, and one with William Robinson and Bill Gleason. The Robinson/Gleason card contains an additional tab referencing “H.D.S. & Co.”, a Cincinnati-based gum manufacturer H.D. Smith & Co.
Memorabilia: A key highlight of the Spring auction is a catcher’s mitt purported to have been used by Bob Feller’s father to practice with during Feller’s childhood. The mitt, which was sold by Feller to noted collector Barry Halper and eventually purchased by hobbyist Seth Swirsky, comes with letters of provenance from both Feller and Halper, along with other memorabilia related to the mitt.
The auction also features a rare book entitled A History of the Boston Base Ball Club 1871-1897, by George V. Tuohey, a 242-page hardbound book describing the early history of the Boston Beaneaters, with plenty of pictures and illustrations, an original program from Opening Day at Yankee Stadium in 1923, a 1924 Kansas City Monarchs advertising poster, a framed newspaper supplement featuring Honus Wagner and the 1901-03 Pittsburgh Pirates, a Type 1 photo of Ty Cobb, a 1940s-50s Griesdieck Beer chalk scoreboard, and more.
Hall of Fame Autographs: Love of the Game is offering a signed check from Babe Ruth. Dating from 1940, the check is made out to the St. Albans Golf Club, the Queens, NY course where Ruth played so often after his retirement. Authenticated and encapsulated by PSA/DNA.
A 1979 TCMA card set “Stars of The 1950s” is also featured. While the set itself is fairly common, this example boasts 229 autographed cards of the 291, with all but 24 of the cards that were possible to have autographed at the set’s date of issue have been signed. The set has superstar Hall of Famers like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams as well as regional favorites like Chico Carrasqual, Marty Marion and Don Mossi.
The auction features more than 60 lots of autographs, including a large group of cards signed by players featured in the T206 set, a huge hoard of signed, vintage 3×5” cards, a very rare 1963 Asheville Tourists team-signed baseball featuring Hall of Famer George Sisler, a baseball featuring signatures of 24 figures from Dodgers history, a vintage Stan Musial signature alongside his 1948 Bowman rookie card and more.
Rare Card Types: Collectors will find a 1894 Betz Studios composite cabinet photo of the Baltimore Orioles, an 1894 Duke Cabinet of George Davis, a 1906 Lincoln Publishing postcard of Connie Mack (one of a number of Lincoln Publishing postcards featured in the sale), and a number of 1910 T209 Contentnea First series cards.
1914 Cracker Jack: The popular 1914 Cracker Jack issue is also well-represented, including examples of the issue’s key card, of Christy Mathewson, the rare and valuable #93 Del Pratt, along with a number of sharp Hall of Famers and stars including Joe Tinker, Eddie Collins, Johnny Evers, Chief Bender, Joe Wood, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Ed Cicotte, and many more.
Exhibit Cards: Exhibit baseball cards of all kinds are plentiful in this auction, from single cards to larger lots. Among the most rare are a number of lots containing 1928 PCL Exhibits, including single cards as well as group lots. Examples from the 32-card set are extremely difficult to locate, and our auction features a total of 13.
The auction also features a number of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb Exhibits from various years. For Ruth, offered are Exhibit cards from 1921, 1926-29 (follow-through), 1926-29 (pose), 1927, and 1935. For Gehrig, we feature both 1926-29 and 1927. For Cobb, the auction features Exhibits from 1921, 1922 and 1927.
Group lots from a number of Exhibit sets issued over the period of several decades are highlighted by a beautiful assortment of 1953 Canadian Exhibits, as well as a large group of 1947-66 Exhibits, including many tough variations, representing 61% of a complete set. The auction also features original artwork used to create the 1925-31 Harry Heilmann, 1925-31 Tris Speaker, and 1948 Willie Keeler cards.
The final date to bid in this auction is Saturday, November 1. Catalogs will mail to all registered bidders the week of October 13. To register for the auction and review the selection online, visit http://www.loveofthegameauctions.com. For more information, contact Love of the Game at [email protected] or (973) 452-9147.