Over 2,000 lots—spanning every decade from the 1870s to the present day—are now on the block as Heritage Auctions opens its Summer Sports Card Catalog event.
The rise of basketball cards means collectors will see plenty of Michael Jordan and other modern day greats in the online catalog, but seldom seen tobacco cards from the 19th and early 20th century are also expected to push bidding in a market that has not only survived, but thrived during the pandemic.
“This auction contains material that spans the full history of our card-collecting hobby, and I suspect that even the most discerning collectors will be able to find something of interest,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ Sports Auctions Director. “I am also especially proud of our team of card experts, who were able to put together such a wonderful catalog while facing unique challenges.”
Leading off the listings is a complete set of 1986-87 Fleer Basketball with stickers with all 143 pieces graded PSA Gem Mint 10. Of course, this is the set best known for card No. 57: Jordan’s official rookie offering, 20 years ago a thousand-dollar card and only a decade ago closer to $12,000 in this condition – far from its six-figure valuation in the days following The Last Dance. The complete set is expected to sell for at least $200,000 but bidding has already crossed the six-figure mark with more than two weeks left.
There are more than two dozen Jordan-related offerings in all, ranging from a PSA Gem Mint 10 from the 1986 Fleer set to a 1984-85 Star Co. rookie card graded BGS Mint 9 to an autographed 2012 Fleer Retro Buyback graded PSA NM 7.
The auction includes more than 150 unopened boxes and cases of cards from decades’ worth of baseball, basketball, football and hockey as well as a complete unopened case of 1988-89 Fleer basketball cards.
The vintage baseball listings include a 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder set ranked number one on PSA’s Set Registry, a 1909 E92 Croft’s Candy Joe Tinker (black) graded PSA 9—one of only two graded mint as well as rare Kalamazoo Bats and Old Judge Cabinets from the 1880s.
Collectors who appreciate true scarcity will appreciate 19 offerings from the Tabacalera “La Morena” collection believed to have been printed in El Salvador around 1928. Such a mystery is this collection that it’s not really known how many cards are in the series. But this much is clear: the Babe Ruth & Ty Cobb No. 105 SGC VG 3 and the Lou Gehrig & Babe Ruth No. 100 SGC Fair 1.5 are two of the only graded examples of those cards known to exist.
Dozens of the hobby’s best examples from the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings set are also up for grabs including a PSA 8.5 Babe Ruth and a PSA 9 Jim Thorpe. The highest graded example of Ty Cobb’s 1922 E121 American Caramel card is also on the block as well as a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card graded PSA 9 (only two higher).
Bidding will conclude over two days, July 30-31.