Babe Ruth wasn’t cast as a leadoff hitter during his playing days, but he’s taking on that role in Memory Lane’s upcoming Summer Rarities Auction. The catalog opens with a stunning collection of no less than 87 lots of rare and high-grade cards that span virtually his entire career. It may well be the largest variety of Ruth cards ever offered in a single auction.
The auction opens with one of only four known copies of Ruth’s 1917 Standard Biscuit card graded a SGC 6 EX-NM and by far the finest copy of the four that exist. The Standard Biscuit issue is also the rarest of the three known Ruth issues from that year.
The card carries a $100,000 minimum bid.
Rarer still is a Japanese issue that makes its auction debut. Newly discovered in the collection of a Japanese family where it had resided for decades, the arrival of the 1921 Asahina Sporting Good postcard brings the total population of the issue to…two copies.
The card is a Japanese issue that was acquired by an American collector during a trip to Japan.
A 1921-23 National Caramel (E220) Ruth is also on the block, with the PSA 5 copy offered by Memory Lane standing as the highest graded copy.
Only eight copies of the 1921 Koester Bread (D383) Ruth exist and this auction will have one of them. The card derives from the 52-card set issued by the New York-based baker during the World Series 102 years ago. The PSA 6 stands as far and away the best of the Ruth cards in grading company population reports.
Among the other 80+ Ruth cards in the auction are a PSA 3 1921 Series of 80; a SGC 7 NM 1922 American Caramel E121, PSA 8 copies of Ruth’s 1932 U.S. Caramel and 1933 Goudey Sport Kings, a PSA 7 1933 Goudey #144 and a group of strip cards from the 1920s. There are also Ruth signed checks, a signed letter, an autographed golf scorecard and a 1939 Baseball Hall of Fame first day cover inked by the Bambino.
Another Yankee legend is well represented with a special section of cards that crosses both decades of his career. There is a trio of Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card and two copies of the iconic 1952 Topps as well as PSA 7 and 8 copies of his 1953 Bowman card, a PSA 7 1953 Topps and an autographed copy of that card (with a PSA 8 autograph grade). The lone PSA 10 1961 Topps Mantle All-Star and dozens of other high-grade cards of The Mick appear, too.
Mantle is also featured in the breakup of the third ranked 1954 Red Heart Dog Food set that’s part of the auction, with a PSA 9 copy up for grabs.
Fans of the T205 baseball card set will see a set break play out in this auction with 145 individual cards and six group lots on the block.
Rarely do multiple complete sets of Exhibit cards come to auction but this sale has a run of no less than nine of them from the late 1920s to the late ‘30s, with each set ranking among the five best on PSA’s Set Registry.
The most familiar basketball set is well represented with a 1986-87 Fleer Basketball wax box, PSA 10 copies of Michael Jordan’s rookie card and rookie sticker, a PSA 10 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sticker, a PSA authenticated unopened pack with Jordan’s rookie card showing and dozens of other high-grade cards and stickers from the popular set.
As usual, Memory Lane’s catalog will include thousands of other sets and key rookie cards from all major sports dating from the 19th century to the modern era.
The catalog’s memorabilia category is headlined by the bat used by Hall of Famer Robin Yount to collect his 3,000th hit in September 9, 1992. The bat is signed and inscribed as such by the Milwaukee Brewers’ two-time MVP.
In all, the auction includes over 1,700 lots.
Bidding is set to open no later than August 19 with bidding continuing through September 9 on Memory Lane’s website.