Robert Edward Auctions opened its first auction of the year on Friday with collectors hunkered down at home diving into the first of three giant catalogs set for release this year. They weren’t shy about placing bids either. The company says it took in nearly $3 million during the first 24 hours of the auction.
The sale leads off with a newly discovered W600 Sporting Life cabinet card of Ty Cobb, which we chronicled earlier this year. Considered Cobb’s rookie card, only five examples have ever been graded. With the buyer’s premium factored in, the card has already soared to $240,000.
Not far behind is another prominent W600 cabinet, this one featuring a young Honus Wagner in streetclothes. Graded 3.5 by PSA, the rare issue was sitting at $108,000 as of Monday afternoon.
As usual, Babe Ruth has a prominent place among the listings with a quartet of offerings from early in the star’s career that have captured collectors’ attention. A 1915 Red Sox team postcard featuring the baby-faced Ruth is at $72,000 while a Type 1 photograph from the same year, featuring Ruth in a pitching motion, is at $63,000. Both are expected to crack six figures by the time the dust settles later this month. A high-grade 1916 M101-5 rookie card of Ruth moved up quickly, sitting at $156,000 while a tough-to-find Collins-McCarthy card from 1917 racked up $42,000 worth of bids.
REA President Brian Dwyer says in the first 24 hours of the auction, over 10,800 bids were placed on the 2,919 lots offered in the auction. The opening day was one of the best ever, with unique bidder participation up 20% over the same period last auction. According to Dwyer, the company closely monitored developments around the country on a daily basis, interacting frequently with clients and vendors before committing to moving forward with the auction as scheduled.
“The overwhelming feedback we received was that collectors were anxiously anticipating the auction, excited by the prospects of what we might be offering and appreciative of the sense of normalcy it would bring.”
The auction includes cards and memorabilia spanning 1865 to 2019 from every major sport. More than 200 lots of unopened material are spread throughout the auction, highlighted by an extremely rare 1967 Topps baseball cello box of 48 packs (currently at $45,000 including the buyer’s premium) and a factory sealed case of 1993 Upper Deck SP baseball ($43,200), one of the most popular modern card sets ever issued. Both items are the first of their kind to be offered at auction in a long time. In addition to the significant 1915 Ruth photo mentioned earlier, a photo from Ruth’s first appearance in a Yankees uniform in March 1920 hits the block along with Type 1 images of Cobb, Gehrig, and Mays that are expected to bring five figures each.
Bidding continues through Sunday, April 19 on the company’s website. Free catalogs are available for the asking. Dwyer says REA is already working on assembling its next auction, slated for this summer.