While many of today’s auction headlines center around modern era rookie cards and autographs, Memory Lane is bringing out a heavy hitter of a different sort for its 2021 Spring Auction.
Set to open in early March, the catalog will include dozens of items featuring Babe Ruth including a 1916 rookie card, an autographed 1933 Goudey and dozens of other items related to his legendary life and career.
The auction will be the largest in company history with a 440-page catalog featuring over 1,700 lots.
The auction will open with a Sporting News Ruth rookie card as Lot #1. The PSA 6 example carries a minimum bid of $100,000. Right behind it will be one of just five known autographed examples of Ruth’s 1933 Goudey #53, this one part of a well-known collection that originated with a Boston autograph seeker who chased down over 150 different players in the ’33 Goudey set not long after they were issued in packs of gum. The Ruth signed card carries a PSA autograph grade of 6 and a minimum bid of $40,000.
An autographed 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig card (#92) carries a $20,000 opener.
The catalog actually includes a special section devoted exclusively to Ruth cards and memorabilia. Collectors will see an SGC 3.5 1921 E121 American Caramel; an SGC 4 1921 E253 Oxford Confectionary; a scarce PSA 2 1921-23 E220 National Caramel; a 1922 E120 American Caramel; A PSA 2 1922 Nielsen’s Chocolate; an ultra-rare 1927 “Ruth Holding Baby Snookums” Exhibit Card with the original PSA Type 1 image; several Ruth Goudey Cards; an SGC 5 Blue Bird Ruth including 2 original Blue Bird Juice advertisement pieces and a complete PSA graded 6-card 1928 George H. Ruth Candy card set.
Rookie and high-grade vintage cards abound in the 350-page catalog and Mickey Mantle is at the forefront. Multiple copies of Mantle’s iconic 1952 Topps and 1951 Bowman rookie cards are featured with a PSA 7 ’52 Mantle at the top of the group.
A PSA 8 1953 Topps Mantle will also be a target of discriminating collectors and investors along with a 1954 Dan Dee Mantle graded PSA 9 and a remarkable collection of 27 different autographed Mantle cards ranging from 1953-1969. Eleven of the autographs have been given a perfect 10 grade by PSA.
Trading card lots range from 19th century issues through the current day. Pre-War fans will have plenty to appreciate including a W600 Honus Wagner (Type 4) graded PSA 2.5 and a rare Cy Young Pepsin Gum pin as well as a group of early 20th century postcards and the 4th rated set of Eastern Exhibit cards on the PSA Set Registry.
There are high-grade rookie cards of Wilt Chamberlain, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Pete Maravich, Joe Montana and Walter Payton that have been among the hobby’s most sought after players in a robust market. There is also a large group of modern rookie cards for various budgets including an eye-popping lot of 132 PSA 10 Mike Trout cards dating from 2010-2017.
The vintage unopened packs and boxes in the auction will have collectors drooling. In addition to rarely seen packs like a 1933 Goudey Sport Kings, 1948 Bowman basketball and 1948 Leaf Single Print Series, the auction has four 1980-81 Topps basketball boxes, a 1979-80 Topps hockey box, two 1986 Topps football boxes, multiple boxes of red hot 1980s Fleer basketball, a 1997-98 Topps Chrome basketball case and 16-box full cases of 1978-79 and ’79-80 Topps basketball.
There are numerous pages of rare Type 1 photos including several that are the work of legendary photographers Charles Conlon, Paul Thompson and George Grantham Bain. The expansive section leads off with a 3 ¾” x 5 ½” image of a young Babe Ruth, posing with fellow Red Sox pitchers Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard that carries a $5,000 opening bid.
There’s also a fresh to the hobby Joe Jackson photo by Thompson and a 1913 Jackson shot taken by Conlon that collectors will recognize as his most celebrated and valuable “batting” image. Among the notable faces on photos poised to head for new homes are Ruth, Gehrig, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Jackie Robinson and other greats across multiple sports.
Memorabilia collectors will see multiple Ruth autographed items, a “Wahoo” Sam Crawford game model bat, a stunning 1902 Cincinnati Reds silver season pass that has maintained much of its original glimmer and several early World Series programs.
The auction will run through March 20. Registration is open on Memory Lane’s website.