The 1888-89 Old Judge cabinet card of 19th century Hall of Famer Mike “King” Kelly found in an old trunk sold at auction Wednesday afternoon for $71,200.
The live sale, conducted by Saco River Auctions, located in the appropriately named town of Biddeford, ME, drew a small crowd of locals, but also several phone bidders from across the country. The card was one of several N173’s sold by the company after they were consigned by an unidentified man from Kennebunk who had purchased them with the trunk and figured they might be worth something.
The auction received limited publicity, with only our story posted late Sunday night and a couple of others in Maine media bringing the card’s existence to light.
Saco River Auctions had a seven-line phone bank set up to handle an expected rush of bidders and while it’s not known how many were in on the action, the winner was said to be a collector from the southeast. It took a few seconds for auctioneer Floyd Hartford to get an opening bid but then it was off to the races:
The N173 Old Judge cards are oversized premiums that were distributed as part of a mail in offer through the company’s tobacco products. The Kelly card was among the nicest of the group of seven cards that were found and consigned to the auction. The others sold for about $40,000 combined and included:
Joe Quinn= 55 or 4.5 VG/EX
Charlie Bennett= 60 or 5 EX
John Clarkson= 60 or 5 EX
Pop Smith+ 60 or 5 EX
Dan Brouthers= 40 or VG 3
Billy Nash=70 Ex+ 5.5