2006 is over….and even though SportsCollectorsDaily didn’t debut until the halfway point of the year, there were enough big..or at least interesting..stories to fill a scrapbook.
So….until we return with the first edition of 2007 tomorrow…let’s remember some of what made news in 2006.
Collectors love "finds". No one that we know of found any old warehouses full of 50 year-old wax boxes. But old stuff no one knew about continues to enter the hobby.
There were plenty of big finds that did emerge. LA area dealer Dave Levin got a call about a stash of 19th century cards and spent some major cash to buy the collection and bring the cards to the National.
Hunt Auctions got a call from the descendants of Deacon White, offering a treasure trove of memorabilia which they consigned to the Louisville Slugger auction. Other items walked in too. But running the All Star Fan Fest Auction was a big deal, too. That’s where the ball hit by Babe Ruth for the first home run in All Star history went for over $800,000.
Robert Edward Auctions was lucky enough to latch on to two previously unknown discoveries. One was a 1914 Baltimore Orioles team photo featuring Babe Ruth that may have been part of the Baltimore Sun card issue that includes Ruth’s minor leaguer "rookie card". The other item was an original "constitution" of the 1830s Philadelphia Olympics, considered perhaps the document that documents the birth of organized baseball. Both items will see the auction block in REA’s April 2007 sale.
Late in the year, Heritage Auctions was given the task of auctioning a large group of personal effects discovered by the granddaughter of James Naismith.
You never know what will walk into a card show. In Canada, a 1960s Bobby Orr jersey surfaced ..and sold for over $80,000.
Barry Bonds’ 715th home run ball was caught by a guy waiting in line at a concession stand. It wound up on eBay with a major publicity blitz..and sold for over $220,000.
There were record setting prices for vintage cards. A high grade 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski rookie sold for $240,000 while an OPC Wayne Gretzky rookie changed hands at over $80K. More recently, Memory Lane sold a 1952 Topps PSA 9 Mickey Mantle and PSA 2 T206 Honus Wagner for well over $500,000.
Ordinary collectors can do extraordinary things…like pool their money to buy a $25,000 case of 1975 Topps minis. The transaction was definitely 21st century. The organizing was done via an internet message board and carried out at Baseball Card Exchange near Chicago.
There was no shortage of news about autographed baseballs. A group of baseballs signed "I’m Sorry I Bet on Baseball" by Pete Rose caused quite a stir. A ball signed by Babe Ruth for Ted Williams turned up in an auction. Turns out it had been stolen from the Splendid Splinter’s house quite some time ago.
On-line price guides were unveiled at the National. Two companies, CardPricer.com and VintageCardPrices.com, began seeking membership fees from collectors and dealers interested in tracking the latest auction data. Their launch could signal a new era in determining the real value of baseball and other sports cards.
Topps had its share of corporate trouble with some new blood now on the company’s Board of Directors, determined to push for changes in the company’s business plan. Meanwhile, Topps reported increased sales and it didn’t hurt when an Alex Gordon card was mistakenly issued and then pulled but not before all manner of aborted printing snuck into wax packs that seemed to eminate from Wichita, Kansas.
We can only hope for more wild and wacky in ’07.