The amount of money being spent on high-end sports cards and memorabilia shows little sign of abating. Twenty-eight lots sold for over $100,000 through Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night catalog on Saturday, led by a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 8 which set a new record for the grade when the hammer fell at $660,000. The old record was $525,800 for a card sold in 2015. As late as 2012, a PSA 8 Mantle typically sold for under $80,000. In November, an 8.5 Mantle netted a record $1.1 million.
Another piece of Mantle memorabilia also drew strong competition from online bidders. A 1968 road jersey, given to a long-time Mantle friend and collector, soared to $486,000. The jersey was worn during a September game in which the majors’ last 30-game winner, Denny McLain, grooved a pitch to Mantle during his last appearance in Detroit. The gift to the aging slugger was his 535th and next to last career home run.
While there were numerous pieces of non-cardboard memorabilia in the sale, trading cards continued to attract the most interest. Among those changing hands:
- 1958 Topps Jim Brown rookie card PSA 9 $336,000
- 1938 Goudey Joe DiMaggio PSA 9 $288,000
- 1957 Topps Bart Starr rookie PSA 9 $288,000
- 1916 Standard Biscuit Babe Ruth rookie PSA 4 $288,000
- T206 Ty Cobb Tobacco back (Lucky 7 Find) PSA 2.5 $240,000
- 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 7.5 $228,000
- 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie PSA 9 $204,000
- T206 Christy Mathewson PSA 8.5 $168,000
- 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #149 PSA 8 $122,000
- 1893 Cy Young Cabinet with two autographs $120,000
- 1975 Topps Unopened cello case (15 24-pack boxes) $114,000
- 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie SGC 96 (9) $108,000
- 1925 Exhibit Lou Gehrig rookie PSA 6 $102,000
Ruth’s richest Yankees contract, from March of 1930, soared to $384,000. It was that pact which inspired the memorable Ruth quip about making more money than the president of the United States.
“Why not? I had a better year than he did,” Ruth said to reporters.
A vault-marked Ted Williams bat dating to the 1947 season garnered $180,000 while a Williams game-used jersey from 1960 soared to $120,000.
“Success breeds success and we continue to add significant players to our bidding clientele with each auction,” stated Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. “You need a pretty deep bench to sell so many six-figure items in a single auction, and nobody works harder than we do to match elite collectibles with elite collectors.”
The family of daredevil Evel Knievel consigned several items from his collection including the red, white and blue motorcycle leathers he famously wore in the 1970s and a walking stick that had a secret drinking compartment. The leathers went for $108,000 while the walking stick hit $78,000.
Arnold Palmer’s 1958 Masters shoes more than quadrupled its pre-auction estimate at $66,000.
Other notable items sold included a newly consigned collection of rare 1896-97 Whitehead & Hoag pinbacks featuring some of the top names of pro baseball at the time, which sold for $156,000, an ornate 1886 St. Louis Browns championship award presented to pitcher Dave Foutz, which netted $132,000, two LeRoy Nieman paintings which combined to sell for $300,000 and a Jim Brown game-used 1960s Cleveland Browns jersey which found a new home at $72,000.
The remaining items in the Platinum auction were scheduled to close Sunday night at HA.com. On Monday, the company reported weekend sales of over $12 million.