In just a few weeks, collectors will receive the hobby’s largest sports memorabilia auction catalog when Robert Edward Auctions’ spring tome lands on their doorstep with a resounding thud. While the formal press release for the auction is not yet out, the company has released an online ‘sneak peek’ of the much anticipated annual event, with photos and descriptions of some of the top items that will be available beginning on April 18. According to REA, “This is just a selection. There are many other items that are just as great that we did not put up early.”
In other words, this is the tip of the iceberg.
The preview reveals a variety of ultra-rare 19th century baseball cards, a 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card, one of the finest known 1910 Old Mill tobacco Joe Jackson cards, an 1863 photo of Harry Wright now believed to be the world’s first baseball card, a PSA 8.5 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, a high grade Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig dual signed baseball, two game-worn Sandy Koufax jerseys and numerous other pieces expected to attract the attention of serious collectors.
The sale will include a virtual who’s who of iconic vintage cards. The Ruth card, the first created of the one-time home run king, has been one of collecting’s most profitable investments in recent years. One of only ten known to have survived the 99 years since they were issued as a newspaper premium, the example being offered by REA is grade PSA 1. It first entered the hobby via REA in 2006 and then sold via the company’s 2009 catalog event for $152,750. Last September, a PSA 2 example sold privately for a record $575,000.
Other early Ruth rarities include an M101-4 1916 Ware’s Basement Sporting Goods issue, graded PSA 3. In fact, the card is the only example of this particular M101-4 sponsor that PSA has ever graded. It presents more impressively than the technical grade, given apparently because of a factory roller mark that’s visible only upon close inspection.
There is also a scarce 1917 Collins-McCarthy Ruth card graded PSA 4.5.
Other pre-World War II landmarks in the auction include several extremely scarce 19th century issues, including what may be the first baseball card ever created: an 1863 picture of Harry Wright, created and sold as an upscale ticket to one of the first professional baseball games. Extensive research melds the dawn of the pay for play games with the beginning of baseball player pictures being sold to the public. There’s a PSA 8 1888 G&B Chewing Gum Tim Keefe, an N173 Old Judge Cabinet Cap Anson and more.
Collectors of the most famous tobacco card set of all will have a chance to land one of the ‘big four’ in the T206 set–an Eddie Plank, graded SGC 60. Considered one of the finest ever offered, the Plank card is one of the seven best of its kind based on the population reports of all grading companies.
A 1910 T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson, graded SGC 30 carries a $50,000+ pre-auction estimate as one of the best known examples. It is the first tobacco card of Shoeless Joe and pictures him as a minor league player in the Southern League. Also extremely rare, it’s an immensely popular card with collectors of high end, rare cards.
The ‘missing card’ from the 1933 Goudey set, Nap Lajoie, made its way into the hands of the few who were bold enough to request it 80 seasons ago. A surviving PSA 8 (NM/MT) example of what’s considered one of the hobby’s toughest cards, will be offered in the REA catalog.
It’s a rare occasion when NM-MT and better 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards come up for bid. REA has the privilege of offering one of the 12 best-known examples of this legendary piece of bubble gum card history; a PSA 8.5. When you consider that the remaining high grade Mantles are all safely tucked away in private collections, it’s not unreasonable to think that this card could make some history when the auction concludes May 18.
The REA preview shows off the highest graded dual-signed Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig baseball. Sold for $98,600 in 2006, it returns to the auction block in a more sophisticated marketplace for high end sports memorabilia, which will almost certainly push it to new heights. The ball originated from a priest at St. Mary’s School, where the young and incorrigible Babe resided prior to being signed to play pro ball.
Having one Koufax game worn jersey in a sports memorabilia auction is considered a coup. This auction will have two: a 1960 home edition and a 1963 road grey flannel worn by the Dodger great and Hall of Famer. Game worn jerseys from Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Wilt Chamberlain are also part of the memorabilia side.
According to REA, additional highlight items will be unveiled shortly.
To see high quality images and read more about these items and others in the auction, visit Robert Edward Auctions’ website. The complete auction will be live online in April. To get a copy of the massive catalog at no charge, simply contact REA via their website.