It pays to be first.
The finest PSA-graded 1948-49 Leaf Baseball set was broken up and sold in Heritage Auctions’ latest catalog sale and it took just three cards to push the combined total realized price to over $1 million. Many of the cards in the set had either never been offered at auction before or hadn’t been available for a long time.
A PSA 8 copy of the rare Satchel Paige card, one of just five at that level, topped bidding at $432,000. Not easy to find in anything close to high-grade, the Paige is one of the hobby’s most sought after post-War cards. The last recorded sale of a PSA 8 at auction was $89,087 paid in a Goodwin & Company auction that took place in 2007. Two PSA 7 examples have sold over the last year and a half–for $84,000 and just over $108,000.
Two other cards from the set sold for six-figure prices: The Jackie Robinson rookie card, rated PSA 9 with none higher, soared to $336,000 while the Stan Musial, one of three ever graded PSA 9, sold for $264,000.
The set included 56 cards that are equal to the hobby’s best known copies and 19 that are the highest graded cards with none better. Having been perched atop the list of all-time finest sets for many years, it was only one with a weighted grade of over 8.0.
Other cards form the set included:
- Honus Wagner PSA 10 (1/1) $67,600
- Bob Feller PSA 8 (1/6 with none higher) $38,400
- Ted Williams PSA 9 (none higher) $36,000
- Warren Spahn PSA 9 (1/4 with one higher) $31,200
- Hal Newhouser PSA 8 (none higher) $22,800
Spread over two days, the auction also included ten 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards including a recently graded PSA 8 example that gave the Paige a run for its money, selling for $430,200. A PSA 7 went for $132,000, a 6 for $$60,000 and a 5 for $55,200. A half point grade can make a big difference when it comes to high dollar cards. A 1952 Topps Willie Mays graded PSA 8.5 sold for $108,000, over four times the recent average price for those graded just a shade lower at 8.
The auction also included a PSA 6 1952 Topps unopened wax pack which sold for $28,800.
One of just two 1969 Topps Mantle cards ever to land a PSA 10 grade was offered in the auction. When the dust settled, it, too, had pushed past the six-figure mark, selling for $108,000 including the buyer’s premium of 20% tacked on to all final bids.
1917 Collins-McCarthy Babe Ruth (PSA 2) sold for $66,000; a PSA 10 1965 Topps Steve Carlton rookie landed at $52,000 and a PSA 9 (none higher) 1958 Topps Ted Williams netted $46,600.
The second day of the auction included one collector’s impressive accumulation of Tom Brady rookie cards. The top bid went to one of 100 signed versions of the 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket cards which went for $60,400. One of just three 2000 Upper Deck SPx Spectrum #130 (5/25) to be graded PSA 10 sold for $28,800. Seven cards from the Brady collection topped $10,000.