Led by piles of vintage unopened boxes and Michael Jordan cards, a Mile High Card Company’s first catalog auction of 2021 took in over $5.6 million. The Colorado-based auction house is hoping the results are an indication of bigger things to come.
“A few of the real outliers have started to recede slightly, but in all, the hobby is strong and getting even stronger,” Mile High president and CEO Brian Drent said. “We saw a lot of record prices fall in this auction and we believe that we will continue to deliver throughout the summer as well.”
The biggest sellers were, predictably, items from the biggest names in the sport. Not surprisingly, Jordan led the way, as more than 200 of the 1,600 auction lots featured His Airness. A 1986 Fleer rookie card, graded PSA 10, was the top draw, selling for $421,428 after the buyer’s premium was added. A 1987 Fleer Jordan second year card, also in a PSA 10 holder, netted $31,486 while a 1997-98 Z-Force Super Rave #190 Zupermen BGS 9.5 ended at $34,714 and a 1998-99 SPX Finite Spectrum graded BGS 8.5 topped out at $22,563.
The auction included over 300 lots of unopened material including a 1975 Topps rack box with packs that had George Brett and Robin Yount rookie cards showing that went for $104,882 and a 1968 Topps Series 1 unopened wax box that netted $96,732. A 1980-81 Topps basketball unopened wax box sold for $40,530.
The vintage baseball card section was topped by a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie rated PSA 8 that soared to $209,225.
Other key cards sold included a 1933 Blue Bird Babe Ruth (front view) PSA 8 NM-MT that nearly doubled the previous record price at $16,667. A pair of 1952 Topps cards – a PSA 2 of Mickey Mantle and a PSA 9 card of Pee Wee Reese — sold for $66,027 and $62,882, respectively. A Topps 1969 Reggie Jackson rookie card graded PSA 9 also sold for $66,027, while a 1954 Henry Aaron rookie card graded PSA 8 closed at $62,455. A signed 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson with a PSA/DNA autograph grade of 8 sold for $55,172.
A near-complete set of 1951 Bowman baseball—318 out of 324 and all graded PSA 8 or higher — went for $48,140. A 1909-11 T206 portrait set, which had 129 of the 179 cards (all graded), sold as individual lots for $40,160. A 1953 Topps complete set, with every card graded, sold for $33,061.
Among the memorabilia offered by MHCC was a Babe Ruth single-signed baseball graded near mint that hammered at $78,422.
A pair of restored 1910 era Tuxedo Tobacco Trolley Car advertising signs featuring Hall of Fame pitchers Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson sold for $29,940 and $28,513, respectively.
A 1916 rookie era Type 1 Photo of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff including a young Babe Ruth went off the board at $30,240.
In football, a 1965 Topps “tall boy” rookie card of Joe Namath (PSA 8) sold for $52,985, while another Pennsylvania quarterback, Joe Montana, fetched $70,418 with a PSA 10 version of his 1981 Topps rookie card. A 1957 Topps John Unitas rookie card, graded PSA 8.5, was won with a bid of $38,273.
Jordan captured the spotlight among basketball players, but LeBron James and Kobe Bryant items also drew some interest.
A 2003 Ultimate Collection James Ultimate Signatures PSA 10 with a 10 signature sold for $53,992. Meanwhile, a 1996 Topps Chrome Bryant PSA 10 card pulled in a $33,866 winning bid.
A 1980-81 Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rookie with a PSA 9 grade, sold for $43,195. A 1971-72 Topps #100 Lew Alcindor PSA 9 went for $19,705– almost ten times the previous record price of $1,995.
In hockey, a complete master set of 1953 Parkhurst graded cards sold individually for $80,379.
You can find the complete list of lots and the winning bids here.