A collection of nearly 100 historic photos from decades ago, one of the hobby’s top 20 T206 sets, some unique autographed baseballs and thousands of high-grade vintage sports cards will help kick off the holidays at Memory Lane. The Southern California-based company will open its largest auction in 20 years on December 21, with 1,360 lots up for grabs in its Winter Classic Auction.
Among the most striking pages in the soon to be released catalog is a section featuring rare and valuable photographs including a rookie era photo of Babe Ruth pitching and another of the young hurler with Boston Red Sox teammates Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard. Other photos up for bid will include one of a young Lou Gehrig taking a swing, another capturing Jackie Robinson’s famous arrival at the Brooklyn Dodgers clubhouse in April of 1947, and a rare original newspaper archive photo of the famously poignant moment when two-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluted his slain father’s casket in November of 1963.
One collector’s diligent efforts to collect the T206 set will be on the market with the offering of a nearly complete set that ranks 17th on the PSA Registry for the basic 520-card set. The collection includes 493 cards in all with 62% of them grading between VG-EX and EX-MT.
Among the other Pre-War era highlights are several rare 1904 W600 cabinet cards including a Honus Wagner, the only known Type 3 example on PSA’s Population Report. There is also a group of high-end Turkey Red cards, a 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson graded PSA 6, numerous other high-end T206s and a scarce 1924-25 Champs Cigarettes hockey set rated fifth on the PSA Registry.
The auction will also reveal a significant new hobby find: a 1921 Tip Top Bread Baltimore Orioles set including Lefty Grove. One of only four known graded examples, the card identifies the future Hall of Fame ace as “Groves.” It will be sold separately from the remainder of the set which includes three previously unknown subjects that are ”true 1/1s.”
Post-War highlights begin with multiple high-grade Mickey Mantle cards including the legendary 1952 Topps issue, a PSA 8 1952 Bowman; PSA 8.5 1953 Bowman Color; PSA 8 examples of his 1956 and ’57 Topps issues and a 1959 Bazooka.
The auction also includes cards from the break of a 1951 Bowman Baseball master set; a PSA 8 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie; runs of high-grade Joe Namath and Pete Maravich cards; a PSA 10 1976 Topps Walter Payton, PSA 10 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter and multiple 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie cards. There are also numerous vintage unopened packs and boxes.
Collectors should appreciate two fascinating autographed baseballs from the first All-Star Game in 1933. One is an official American League ball carrying the signatures of 13 members of the American League squad including Ruth and Gehrig. The ball was originally obtained by Charles Comiskey, the White Sox owner who hosted the history-making game at his south side ballpark and gave it to the consignor’s grandfather.
The second ball carries the autographs of both managers that day: John McGraw and Connie Mack and was obtained by a Kansas rancher who found himself in Chicago for the game. Passed down through the family, the well-preserved ball is the only known sphere carrying the autographs of both Hall of Fame skippers and associated with that important afternoon.
Other autograph lots include single-signed baseballs from Jimmie Foxx and Jackie Robinson and an impressive run of Hall of Fame plaques, several of which were penned decades ago.
The auction is scheduled to close January 11, 2020 at MemoryLaneInc.com. Full-color catalogs are available upon request.