Each spring, collectors have anxiously anticipated the giant Robert Edward Auctions catalog. Always packed with the hobby’s finest vintage baseball cards and memorabilia– much of it uncovered from America’s attics or consigned by the most advanced collectors– the catalog itself has become a collectible. For years, many have been hoping the company would expand to offer at least one more auction per year.
The wait is officially over.
REA has announced plans for its inaugural Fall Auction, set to open this September and at least two inclusions will have jaws dropping.
The company will offer an extremely rare 1887 Old Judge Store Advertising Display Poster featuring images of some of baseball’s first stars whose images appeared on what were the first widely distributed tobacco cards. In Excellent condition and never before publicly offered, it is one of just a handful of N172 Old Judge baseball card store advertising pieces known to exist and one of the finest of all 19th century baseball display pieces.
Also up for bid will be the top-rated set of T205 Gold Border tobacco cards on PSA’s Set Registry. The Michael Wachs Collection has been in the making for more than 30 years and ranks as the Current Finest and the All-Time Finest set of these 102-year-old cards on the PSA Registry. With an overall set ranking above near mint 7, the 206 cards are a remarkable accumulation featuring early 20th century players. Due to its grade and consistency, the set will be broken up and sold card-by-card, giving pre-War card collectors a rare opportunity to add some of the finest T205s in existence to their own sets.
“The fall auction by design will be smaller than our spring auction,” said REA President Rob Lifson. “But it will also include many high quality items. The Old Judge Poster, for example, would be a highlight item worthy of Lot #1 in any REA auction. The idea of the fall auction for us is to provide an additional REA auction to better cater to the schedules of some sellers, and to be able to provide the service of breaking up very special sets if value warrants, which is something we really haven’t done before.”
Hall of Famers Tim Keefe, Jim “Orator” O’Rourke, Roger Connor, Sam Thompson, James “Pud” Galvin, and Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn are among the stars from the N172 Old Judge set featured on the poster, which hung in stores that sold tobacco and was designed to promote the cards that were inserted into packages of tobacco. It was purchased by the consignor in the early 1990s and has been stored in a safe deposit box ever since.
“This is the first N172 Old Judge poster that REA has ever offered at auction,” Lifson said. “We did sell one privately in 1991. That example was sold for $100,000.”
In addition to winning Set Registry awards each of the past several years, the Wachs T205 set has been inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for only the most extraordinary set collecting achievements. No fewer than 112 of the 206 cards in the set are the highest graded examples in PSA’s record books. Piecing together anything reasonably close to this set is virtually impossible because so few T205 cards have remained in high grade over the past century. The gold borders, while adding an ornate and attractive touch to the design, are prone to chipping.
To view the set in its entirely, including both front and back images, visit the PSA Registry listing.
Hundreds of other items will be offered in the REA Fall Auction, with more details to be announced later this summer. Consignments will be accepted through the first week of August with bidding set to close October 19. For a free catalog and to register for the auction, visit Robert Edward Auctions’ website or call (908) 226-9900.