Regardless of whether they’d been naughty or nice, hundreds of collectors gave themselves the gift of trading cards over the weekend as Heritage Auctions wrapped up its massive three-day Trading Card Auction. Among the over 3,000 lots offered, four sold for six-figure prices, topped by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded 8.5 by PSA which netted $765,000 including the 20% buyer’s premium attached to all winning bids.
The card originated in the famous purchase of 1952 Topps high numbers made by Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen in 1986. It was graded only three years ago, having been consigned at the Heritage booth at the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention and graded by PSA on-site. Prior to that time, it had been held in a private collection. That find is believed to have produced most of the hobby’s highest graded examples of the iconic Mantle card. The 8.5 is one of the 14 best on PSA’s Population Report and one of only 49 that have reached 8 or better.
Heritage also sold the last 8.5 offered at auction. It went for $810,000 in August of 2018. Another 8.5 sold for over $1.3 million in 2016.
A nearly complete set of 1910-11 M116 Sporting Life baseball cards sold for $324,000. The group of 315 cards had been passed down through a Philadelphia area family since the time of issue before being consigned. The set, which immediately took over first place on the PSA Set Registry after the cards were authenticated and graded, beat the pre-sale estimate by over $100,000.
The collection included all of the top Hall of Famers in the set, the scarce “Blue Background and third series “Blank Back” variations. The cards were found with nearly 40 of the original envelopes from The Sporting Life, which distributed them by series as part of a mail-in offer.
Two modern era cards also sold for big prices. A 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James rookie patch autograph rated 9 by Beckett Grading Services netted $228,000 while a PSA 10 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter reached $138,000.
The three-day, 3,000+ lot trading card auction commanded more than $9,437,190 on the strength of dozens of record results.
“We saw great prices across all eras and genres,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions for Heritage. “The entrenched vintage collectors came out in force, and the modern market is continuing to gain strength and market share.”
Narrowly missing the six-figure club was a 1952 Topps baseball set rated #31 on the PSA Registry. Sold for $99,000, the set carries a rating of 5.63 with no card less than PSA 5 and no qualifiers.
The best example of the ‘holy grail of boxing cards’ was also on the market in the Heritage sale. A 1948 Leaf Boxing Rocky Graziano graded PSA 6.5 with a population of one and none higher reached $87,000, well short of the pre-sale estimate of $150,000.
One of the top cards from the Black Swamp Find was also offered in the auction. The 1910 E98 Honus Wagner graded PSA 10 sold for $87,000.
The sale included 136 lots of unopened material, led by a 1986-87 Fleer basketball box which soared to a record-setting $84,000 and a 1959 Topps baseball cello box which contained 36 packs from the 4th series and sold for $66,000. A 1952 Topps baseball cello pack graded 7 by PSA settled at $42,000.
Other sales included:
- 2003-04 Upper Deck LeBron James Limited Logos BGS 9 $84,000
- 1922 E121 American Caramel Babe Ruth PSA 9 $75,000
- 1911 T205 Gold Border Mordecai Brown PSA 9 – Pop One, None Higher $72,000
- 1925 Exhibit Lou Gehrig Rookie Card PSA 3 $69,000
- 1936 World Wide Gum Joe DiMaggio Rookie Card #51 PSA 6 – Pop One, None Higher $69,000
- 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb #30 PSA 8 $69,000
- 1933 Uncle Jack’s Candy Unopened Pack with Babe Ruth On Top $66,000
- 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Gold Refractor Autograph 7/50 PSA 9 $45,600
- 1916 Famous & Barr near set from St. Louis Find $43,200
- Autographed 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card $43,200
Complete results can be found here.