A remarkable find of 98-year-old baseball cards in the Midwest is coming to auction next month.
Goldin Auctions says it will offer a complete 200-card set of 1916 Sporting News M101-4 cards including Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb and other stars in its October Legends Auction. The cards had been in the same family since their acquisition nearly a century ago.
Owner Ken Goldin told Sports Collectors Daily that the set was consigned by a woman in the Midwest who first discovered them ten years ago and took them to a nearby sports card shop. The person who looked at them there believed they were reprints. Nonetheless, the family placed each card in sleeves and put them back in the original ornate tin box they had been stored in after buying some card sleeves. After seeing a report on Goldin’s Babe Ruth Centennial Auction earlier this year, they opted to have them examined again.
The consignor’s grandfather was a stamp collector as a boy, and also owned a tobacco and candy business during the 1960s and 70s. When her parents passed away, she went through their belongings, and came across her grandfather’s stamp collection. However, within that collection of stamps was the box which housed these cards. The consigner believes her grandfather would have collected the cards as a teenager when they were first issued.
“This is only the second completely PSA graded M101-4 Sporting News set ever sold at auction,” said Goldin Auctions Founder Ken Goldin. “And a world-class set of one of the most important and rarely offered of all pre-war baseball card sets. We will not be surprised if this set sells in the mid six-figures and sets a new record for such an item.”
Goldin’s company sent the set to PSA for grading and it instantly became the second best set in existence and the fourth best ever pieced together. All 200 cards have been encapsulated and graded by PSA, except for one card #11 Jack Barry, which was graded ‘authentic’ due to a unique printing error on the back of the card that reverses the image of the front of the card on the back. Few high grade runs of M101-4 cards exist today. The Jackson, Cobb and Honus Wagner cards in this set graded PSA 6 (EX/NMT) while the Ruth rated a 4 (VG). The Nap Lajoie card was graded 6 and the Walter Johnson was given a 5 (EX).
Created by Chicago based photographer and printer Felix Mendelsohn, M101-4 is one of the most significant pre-war card sets due to its tremendous photography, solid lineup of existing stars and two of the most highly regarded singles – the Ruth rookie card and the very scarce Jackson card, one of the few cards issued during his playing days. The set is commonly referred to as “The Sporting News set”, but was actually issued by more than a dozen companies with advertising for 18 regional issuers as well as with blank banks. They were extensively advertised in and sold through The Sporting News publication.
The auction will open October 6 and run through November 1 at GoldinAuctions.com.