They only produce one auction per year, but it’s a mammoth catalog full of historic baseball memorabilia from the game’s earliest days to the present. Robert Edward Auctions’ 2012 edition will ship April 16, with one copy headed for the Baseball Hall of Fame and the remaining 10,000 catalogs shipped to collectors all over the world. The final date of bidding in this year’s auction will be Saturday, May 12. Bidding begins April 16 by FAX, phone, or the Internet via the REA website at www.robertedwardauctions.com. Total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million. Items from 1839-2009 are represented in the auction. You can see a gallery of some of the best items at the bottom of the page.
“We have been assembling material, writing, and researching all year long, hoping to make this a special event for everyone. At the same time, we hope to give collectors and historians valuable reference material,” says REA president Robert Lifson. “We’re trying to do more than just have an auction. We’re trying to create a positive event that is historic, that makes collecting fun, promotes a love of history, and that everyone can be a part of, as a bidder, a consignor, or just as an observer.”
Some of the top items in the auction have already been revealed but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “We’re amazed at some of the special collections in this auction,” Lifson said. “We’ve been a magnet for vintage cards, including many incredible new finds. We also have an unusually strong boxing section and have assembled an extremely impressive selection of Americana. Every time we turned around, we were offered something great in baseball memorabilia, cards, boxing, and Americana. An incredible T206 Wagner. A Babe Ruth bat. Muhammad Ali’s trunks from the “Thrilla In Manilla” fight. A 1933 Goudey Lajoie in Mint condition. Babe Ruth’s rookie card. We have over 1,500 lots. Maybe it’s just that we happen to like all the items we accepted for auction, but to us it seems like every lot really is a highlight in some way.”
Among the highlights:
T206 Honus Wagner: The famous T206 Honus Wagner needs no introduction and is a star wherever he goes, but this auction features a particularly extraordinary example of the most valuable card in the world. The date “Oct 16 1909” is stamped in purple ink on the reverse. “This is an incredible card with or without the stamp, but the date stamp gives this card an amazing significance,” notes REA president Robert Lifson. “Not only is this the only T206 Honus Wagner card that actually dates itself – which all alone is interesting as the T206 Honus Wagner card was only issued in 1909 – October 16th is the date of the final and deciding game of the 1909 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers.” REA estimates that only approximately fifty T206 Honus Wagner cards are known to exist. The date-stamped 1909 T206 Wagner has a reserve of $100,000 and is expected to sell for more than $300,000.
1912 Ty Cobb Tobacco Tin: The finest example in existence of the Ty Cobb Tobacco tin, one of collecting’s most legendary rarities, in virtually pristine condition. The Ty Cobb Tobacco Tin is one of the most elusive of all baseball tobacco-related items. It has the same rarity as the T206 Ty Cobb card with Ty Cobb Tobacco advertising back (approximately twelve of each are known). Even the original blue tobacco tax stamp paper strip is still attached. It is the only Ty Cobb Tobacco tin on which the original tax stamp strip remains. (Res. $40,000; est. open).
1923 Babe Ruth Bat: REA says it’s “extensive research” suggests it was probably with Ruth on opening day at Yankee stadium in 1923. It is the very same style bat that factory records show were sent to Ruth one week before Opening Day, and that he is seen holding in all photos taken on Opening Day in 1923.
Vintage Baseball Card Rarities Including Babe Ruth Rookie. This sale will include virtually every one of the baseball card collecting world’s most revered “Holy Grails”. In addition to the famous T206 Honus Wagner, included are all of the others rarities of the T206 set, some with several examples.
The rare T206 “Slow Joe” Doyle, NY Nat’l, one of fewer than ten examples known to exist, is the famous Joe Pelaez Collection example. One of the greatest treasures of all tobacco cards, the only other example of the rare T206 Doyle that REA has ever offered sold for $329,000 in 2009. The rare T206 Doyle has a reserve of $100,000.
Not one but two examples of the 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card are featured, one in Ex-Mt condition and one in Vg-Ex, each with a reserve of $10,000. “The Babe Ruth rookie is never going out of style, and has been a particularly hot card in the marketplace lately,” Lifson said. “These are fresh to the collecting world examples.”
The T206 Eddie Plank, another of card collecting’s most famous rarities, is represented in this auction with an astounding four examples. Ranging in grade from Good to Ex-Mt, each card is very different and will appeal to a different type of collector, with reserves ranging from $5,000 (estimate $10,000/$20,000+) in good condition to a reserve of $25,000 (estimate $50,000+) for the Ex-Mt example.
Also featured is the finest example in the world of the famous 1933 #106 Nap Lajoie (graded MINT 9 by PSA) (res. $25,000, est. $50,000+). A second 1933 Goudey #106 Lajoie from an old-time collection is in Very Good to Excellent condition (res. of $5,000, Est. $10,000/$15,000+). Yet another legendary card on every short list of the collecting world’s most important baseball cards is the 1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson. Three examples of this iconic card are featured, including one in Vg-Ex condition (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+).
Nineteenth Century Baseball Memorabilia. Nineteenth-century baseball cards and items of great historical significance have always been a special area of interest for REA. Among those in the 2012 catalog: a book owned and signed by Alexander Joy Cartwight Jr., the “Father of Baseball”, in 1839 that may have been his inspiration to form the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club and to design the baseball field in the manner that he did (Cartwright family provenance; Reserve $5,000; the estimate is “open”).
A newly-discovered collection of 1860s baseball CDV photographs and trade cards dating from the dawn of professional baseball. Included among the eight circa 1870 team cards (many of which were issued by Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods) is the finest example known of the 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics (res. $5,000) and two 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings team cards (res. $5,000 each). Also included in the auction are over 400 1886-1890 N172 Goodwin Old Judge baseball cards, one of the largest collections to ever come to auction, including many Hall of Famers and rarities.
Prewar Card Rarities. Among the highlights are several remarkable original-owner collections including the Dawley Collection, featuring a complete near-complete set of 1916 M101-4 Herpolsheimer Clothing Company cards (194 of 200) including one of the two Babe Ruth rookie cards in the auction. The Dawley family originally lived in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the company was located, and the grandfather personally got these cards in 1916 directly from the Herpolsheimer Company. They have remained in perfect condition, untouched, as family keepsakes for almost 100 years. Thousands of 1910 era tobacco and candy cards, and 1930s gum cards, representing virtually all important baseball card sets, are featured.
More Prewar Card Rarities. A complete set of 1909 T204 Ramly Cigarettes cards (121) is one of hundreds of pre-War card highlights (Reserve $10,000. Estimate $20,000/$30,000+). There is a 1912 Boston Garter advertising card of Eddie Collins (res. $10,000; est. open) that has been locked away in a private collection and has not seen the light of day in the organized collecting world in decades. Many T206 rarities including three Magie error cards, many rare backs including Uzit and Drum, and many extremely high-grade T206 examples, in addition to several near-complete sets and original-owner T206 collections. A selection of Cracker Jack baseball cards includes the highest-grade 1914 Cracker Jack card of Ty Cobb (PSA NM-MT+ 8.5; res. $15,000/est.$30,000+) and a 1915 Cracker Jack of Ty Cobb (SGC NM/MT+ 92; res. $10,000; est $20,000+). The highest graded 1915 Cracker Jack of Christy Mathewson in the universe in mint condition (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+) is also included.
Postwar baseball cards are also in abundance, including six examples of the classic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (among an example that is believed to have originated from Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen’s historic 1952 Topps find in the 1980s); a 1952 Topps near-complete set (res. $5,000; est. $10,000/$15,000); two examples of the 1968 Topps 3D Roberto Clemente, the single most valuable card from the entire decade of the 1960s (one MINT, the other GEM MINT; each carrying a reserve of $5,000); and high-grade examples of 1950s and 1960s cards of the era’s top stars like Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and many more. Also included are complete or near-complete sets of virtually every major postwar issue from 1948 to 1972.
Game-Used Bats and Jerseys: Bats included are those of legendary Hall of Famers such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, George Sisler, Brooks Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, among others, as well as more modern stars such as Derek Jeter. Game-worn jerseys include those of stars such as Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and others, highlighted by Hank Aaron’s 1976 Milwaukee Brewers signed road uniform, the last he ever wore – with a letter of authenticity from Hank Aaron.
Autographs: Signed items from Ruth and Cobb and Gehrig are included, as well as almost-never-seen extremely rare items signed by early Hall of Famers such as James “Orator” O’Rourke, Cap Anson, Amos Rusie, and Henry Chadwick. Also of special note is an extraordinary 1933 American League All-Star Team-Signed Ball with Ruth, Gehrig and twelve other Hall of Fame players (total 20 Signatures), one of the finest in existence with regard to both completeness and condition (res. $10,000; est. open).
Player contracts include many Hall of Famers, among them Pee Wee Reese, Nellie Fox, Duke Snider, Eddie Collins, Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, and many others. But perhaps the most fascinating player contract is that of a non-Hall of Famer: 1919 “Black Sox” member Chick Gandil. This contract comes with the provenance of originating directly from the family of Bill Veeck, former owner of the White Sox who purchased the team from Charles Comiskey.
In addition to autographed items from all eras, the auction also presents particularly rare and noteworthy single-signed Hall of Fame balls, including Jimmie Foxx, Jackie Robinson, Harry Hooper, George Sisler, and Rogers Hornsby, in addition to spectacular high-grade examples of Babe Ruth, and Mel Ott. Perhaps most extraordinary is a collection of five single-signed balls representing all five first Hall of Fame inductees, including Honus Wagner (res. $1,000; est. $2,500+); Walter Johnson (res. $2,500); and extraordinary rarity Christy Mathewson (res. $10,000; est. open).
Boxing, Football, Basketball: Sports other than baseball are also represented by a significant selection of extremely high quality items, including: The trunks worn by Muhammad Ali in his epic 1975 “Thrilla in Manilla” win over Joe Frazier. The trunks were saved by Ali’s assistant trainer and friend Drew “Bundini” Brown (res. $25,000; est. open); Nate “Tiny” Archibald’s personal example of the classic NBA “50 Greatest Players” Signed Limited-Edition Lithograph (res. $10,000; est. $20,000/$40,000); the “Michigan Farmhouse” example of the “Holy Grail” of football cards: the 1894 Mayo’s Cut Plug Football Dunlop which was miraculously just recently found, beautifully preserved in a scrapbook discovered in a farmhouse being cleaned out. The reserve is only $1,000. Also included: circa 1973-1974 Jerry West Los Angeles Lakers Signed game-used road jersey (res. $2,500); Muhammad Ali Fight-Worn Robe from the 1972 Heavyweight Title Bout Against Jerry Quarry (res. $5,000/est. $10,000+); and circa 1971-1972 Joe Namath New York Jets game-used road jersey (res. $2,500; est. $10,000+).
Americana: Items signed by virtually every US president are highlighted by two George Washington and four Abraham Lincoln signed documents. Included is a 1783 George Washington Signed Military-Discharge Document (res. $2,500; est 10,000+) and a 1787 George Washington Signed Potomac Navigation Company Document (res. $1,500; est 5000+). An 1865 Abraham Lincoln Signed Military Appointment – Signed by Lincoln Just Two Months Prior to His Assassination – carries a reserve of $1,500 and an estimate of $5,000+. Al Capone’s 1929 Signed Official Police Fingerprint Booking Card (res. $10,000; est. open) may be the single most desirable Al Capone artifact that could possibly exist. Important documents signed by household names such as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Marilyn Monroe are also featured in the Americana section.
Non-Sport Cards and Original Artwork: A strong selection of nonsport cards and related items are yet another highlight section of the sale. Thousands of nonsport cards including many key sets dating from the 1880s to the 1960s are included. Perhaps most important among all non-sport card items is the only complete set in uncut sheets in existence of 1940 R145 Gum, Inc. “Superman” gum cards (res. $15,000; est. $30,000+). A selection of original artworks used to produce cards is also featured and include: two 1966 Topps “Batman” (Norm Saunders) and 15 1951 Bowman “Jets, Rockets, Spacemen” paintings. Any 1962 Mars Attacks original artwork is a great prize in the nonsport collecting world. The auction includes three examples: The 1962 Topps Mars Attacks original artworks for card # #4 “Saucers Blast Our Jets”, card # 17 “Beast And The Beauty” (The Ultimate Norm Saunders Card Artwork as Sauders is featured in the painting!), and for card #37 “Creeping Menace”. Each is an iconic painting by Norm Saunders and among the most desirable nonsport card artworks in existence (each res. $5,000; est. $10,000+).
Copies of the full-color premium catalog are available for free. To review the catalog online, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, receive a complimentary copy of the catalog or inquire about consignments, visit http://www.robertedwardauctions.com. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling their next sale. For further information, contact Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069, or call (908) 226-9900.