Collectors anticipating the Robert Edward Auctions Fall Auction might want to start doing a few wrist curls and some biceps work before it arrives on their doorstep. Scheduled to open for bidding October 6 and running through October 29, the catalog will include 2,800 items– the most the company has ever offered. High-end Babe Ruth cards, a huge listing of rookie cards, historic game-used bats and jerseys and rare photos will all be part of the company’s second auction of 2017.
According to REA President Brian Dwyer, the spike in consignments is attributable to several different initiatives undertaken within the last year. REA exhibits at more shows than ever before, including a weekend appearance at the Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show in Valley Forge, PA. Dwyer said his company also took in more than $1 million in consignments at the National Sports Collectors Convention during the show’s five-day run in Chicago.
“We are thrilled that REA continues to be an industry leader in bringing high-quality items to auction, and this year’s Fall Auction will be no exception, with our largest selection ever,” said Dwyer.
The auction kicks off with a 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card graded PSA 7 with a starting bid $100,0000. Ruth cards of all varieties have climbed to staggering heights, but the rookie cards continue to be the focus of many high-end collectors seeking the best of the best.
Keeping with the Ruth theme, all four of his 1933 Goudey cards in PSA 8 grade will be offered as well as a signed example of #181, authenticated by PSA/DNA. A newly discovered example of the 1915 Boston Red Sox team postcard featuring a young Ruth in the center is also available for the first time.
Back in 1931, Ruth signed and personalized a bat to the doorman at a famous New York City lounge. That piece of Louisville Slugger history is part of an array of Ruth-related memorabilia items that will be on the block. There are several signed balls and multiple Type 1 photographs, including a rookie-year composite and the first recorded image of Ruth wearing number 3.
The hobby’s fascination with rookie cards continues, and REA will be presenting more than three hundred of them from all sports. Among the highlights are a 1948 Leaf Satchell Paige (PSA 7), 1951 Toloteros Josh Gibson (PSA 7.5), 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle (PSA 8 and SGC 88), 1951 Bowman Willie Mays (PSA 8), 1951 Parkhurst Gordie Howe (SGC 96), 1954 Topps Hank Aaron (PSA 9 and SGC 88), 1958 Topps Jim Brown (PSA 8), 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain (SGC 96), 1966 Topps Bobby Orr (SGC 96), 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan (PSA 9), and 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan (PSA 10).
Classic cards from all years will also be present, including several 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards (led by a PSA 7 and SGC 80) and one of the hobby’s highest-graded T206 Eddie Plank cards (SGC 60).
REA will be breaking up several high-grade sets throughout the auction, including the number ten ranked 1952 Topps baseball set and a PSA 8 or better 1951-1952 Parkhurst hockey set. There will be numerous other complete sets, graded and ungraded, spanning the early 1900s to the present.
A large offering of authenticated wax and cello packs, boxes, and cases have been consigned from several different sources, some of which are being offered for the first time publicly. A newly discovered 1958 Topps Football wax box, complete with 24 packs, including one showing the key Jim Brown rookie card on the reverse, should have unopened collectors chomping at the bit.
Other fresh-to-the-hobby material being offered for the first time will include a new find of Turkey Reds, all of which have the extremely rare “Checklist – No Offer” reverse. Graded by SGC, auction officials say the cards “had not seen the light of day in decades.” The group includes a Near Mint SGC 84 Christy Mathewson, an EX-MT+ 82 Cy Young, and an EX 60 Ty Cobb. All cards #1-50 are present and grade from VG-EX to Near Mint. Several other original-owner collections ranging from tobacco cards to the 1950s have stories of their own that are told in the catalog.
Hundreds of non-baseball lots round out the card offerings with two notable highlights emerging from the crowd. One of the auction’s featured items will be a full set of 1932 U.S. Caramel “Presidents” complete with the legendary William rarity. Over the years, REA has sold three of the fewer than ten examples known to exist, including the Fall 2014 sale of the hobby’s highest-graded example for a record $96,000 price.
Each of the 31 cards in the set has been graded and encapsulated by SGC. The complete set is further distinguished by the fact that it is an entirely stamp cancelled set, very likely kept together for the last 85 years since having been redeemed by the manufacturer in exchange for the prize a complete set earned tenacious youngsters.
Also presented will be a PSA 5 example of the 1948 Leaf Boxing set’s legendary rarity picturing Rocky Graziano. One of only two examples graded at this level, and one of fewer than ten examples known to exist, the card has always been on many collectors’ want lists both in and out of the boxing card world.
The memorabilia offerings are led by the 1931 Ruth bat, which grades PSA GU9, but the auction also includes gamers once swung by Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, and Derek Jeter. Mantle’s bat grades PSA GU10 and features the slugger’s #7 ideally on the knob of the bat. Robinson’s bat is also significant for its iconic #42 on the knob of the bat, one of the few known with such a trait. The bat dates to 1953 and grades PSA GU9.
A 1958 Mickey Mantle jersey, one of the few 1950s flannels available from Mantle’s playing days, and a 1962 Jim Brown jersey are two of the more significant game-used jerseys available.
A large selection of Type 1 photographs, autographs, and other memorabilia dot the auction. A Lou Gehrig signed and handwritten letter, responding to a young boy’s school project questions, has been consigned from a longtime collection.
Ticket collectors will see “the largest and finest selection ever featured by REA.” Lots will include ducats to the first All-Star Game, the first and second Super Bowl, World Series games dating back to 1911, the first NFL Championship, and the NFL’s “Greatest Game Ever Played,” the 1958 NFL Championship. Many of the tickets are the highest-graded examples.
Not everything in the catalog pertains to sports or trading cards. REA will offer an Abraham Lincoln handwritten prisoner exchange order dating to 1865 as one of the more special pieces in this auction. Significant John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. letters will also be up for grabs.
The Beatles are represented with several pieces and there’s also a Marilyn Monroe document, which outlines her termination by 20th Century Fox.
Dwyer says collectors have warmed to a change in the way that REA closes its auctions. Extended bidding now starts during the day and a deadline has been established by which the auction must close to prevent it from continuing into the early hours of the morning. This change, which REA was the first to debut in 2016, is long overdue in Dwyer’s mind.
“We live in a day and age that offers us the greatest technology to follow auctions at anytime from anywhere. The days of sitting attached to a landline with catalog in hand and bidding at 4 AM are so far behind us. Collectors appreciate that REA has gone out on a limb and tried to change the way that our hobby operates. We appreciate that they recognize the importance of what we’ve done.”
First-time bidders in the auction may register online and free catalogs are available to anyone who requests them. Visit the company’s website for more information.