A restored copy of the famed T206 Honus Wagner sold for a record price of $420,000 early Sunday morning, as Memory Lane wrapped up its Holy Grail Rarities Auction. Graded ‘Authentic’ by PSA, the card’s history can be traced back some 50 years. It last sold in a public auction in 2011 for $188,000. The price attained by Memory Lane makes this copy the most expensive Authentic example ever sold. Sixty-nine bids were made between the auction opening on November 19 and the late Saturday/early Sunday night close.
The auction also included the number 2-rated 1962 Topps Baseball Master Set on PSA’s Registry. The 613 cards were sold individually for an aggregate total of $285,557. Every card offered was graded 8 or higher, with the vast majority at PSA 9 or 10. Leading the pack was the only Harmon Killebrew card ever to reach a 10 grade, which sold for $13,781.
The only signed 1928 Lou Gehrig Exhibit card on PSA’s Population Report, one carrying ‘9’ autograph grade was the second highest-selling lot in the auction, netting $76,800—a record price for any Gehrig signed card offered at public auction.
Pre-War era cards drew plenty of interest from bidders. A 1914 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson graded PSA 3 closed at $47,376, setting a record for the card in that grade.
Collectors of the M101-5 set had the rare opportunity to land one of only six known copies of the short printed Bobby Wallace card. Graded 6, it sold for a record-smashing $22,735. Wallace was replaced by Zach Wheat not long after the presses began to roll.
Ty Cobb cards again proved to be hugely popular in a strong vintage market. A PSA 5 1914 Cracker Jack hammered at $40,176, a PSA 9 from the famous Black Swamp Find ended at $37,776; a T206 Green Portrait graded PSA 5 sold for $19,780 while a PSA 5 Red Portrait reached $10,270, a record price for the grade. Other Cobb sales included a PSA 5 E90-1 ($10,615); a PSA 5 Close Candy ($14,060) and a T227 graded 4.5 which netted $11,982.
Other pre-War cards of note included a T206 PSA 7 Walter Johnson portrait ($14,337), a 1909 E102 Set of 25 Cobb graded PSA 4 ($19,913) and an 1887 Old Judge (N172) Ed Delehanty rookie graded PSA 5 ($15,734).
Numerous post-War cards rating among the best known examples were offered in the auction including a PSA 8.5 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle which set a new record for the grade at $32,976. A PSA 8 1948-49 Leaf Stan Musial rookie closed at $25,776 while a PSA 9 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra rookie changed hands for $21,576. One of the three 1965 Topps Hank Aaron cards ever to reach a 10 grade went for $19,176, while a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson rookie graded PSA 10 sold for $25,776. Football collectors gravitated toward the only PSA 10 1970 Topps Joe Namath, which rocketed to $19,135.
High-end cards of a much more recent vintage take a backseat to none in the current market and MLI’s auction had a pair of standouts. A 2009 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor Mike Trout autograph (# to 50) sold for $44,400 while a 2007-08 Exquisite Kevin Durant rookie auto reached $41,380.
For complete results and to get information on consigning to the company’s Spring Auction, visit Memory Lane’s website.