The authentication, grading and marketing of one of the hobby’s most remarkable, yet quietest private collections continued in recent weeks and collectors will soon have the chance to see more of it.
The “Uncle Jimmy Collection” we wrote about last month included a wide range of baseball cards, autographs and photos collected throughout one New Jersey man’s entire life. Some of it has been sold but many of the most significant pieces will be sold at auction.
PSA has now authenticated much of it, including thousands of vintage cards, many dating to the 1933 and ‘34 Goudey baseball releases. All told, the value of the collection could be several million dollars.
The collection was brought to light by the family of Jimmy Micioni, a Morris County, New Jersey collector who died recently at age 97. “Uncle Jimmy” to his family, Micioni was an avid baseball fan who devoted countless hours to collecting, acquiring and preserving a mountain of cards, autographs, photos and other memorabilia he’d been saving since the Depression era.
The collection wasn’t widely known to exist until details emerged this spring. A treasure trove of rare baseball items, headed by six different Babe Ruth-signed 1933 Goudey cards and more than 1,000 other vintage cards in remarkable condition, it will all be sold over the remainder of 2020 via multiple online auctions hosted by Wheatland Auction Services of Lancaster, PA.
The small auction company has been working with the family for quite some time on processing items and had already sold numerous ungraded complete sets in previous auctions. The first auction that will showcase many of the PSA-authenticated and graded items begins on Sunday, June 14 and runs through Sunday, July 12.
“Like other ‘great finds’, the ‘Uncle Jimmy Collection’ will have its place in hobby history. Until now, these cards have had a single owner, and I have never seen so many signed Goudeys from one original collection,” said Kevin Keating, PSA’s principal autograph authenticator who examined the assortment. “The depth is staggering with multiple examples of Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Hornsby, and others. The condition of virtually every card and every signature is even more eye-popping. All appear to have been signed immediately after issue, likely through the mail, and then stored in a time capsule.”
Wheatland Auction Services is operated by Stacey and Chuck Whisman, who knew it would take multiple auctions to present and sell the jaw-dropping treasures Uncle Jimmy left behind.
“We’ve been fortunate to have some amazing items find their way into our auctions, but the volume of high-quality autographs and pack fresh vintage cards makes this one of the most impressive finds within our entire industry in the past decade,” said Stacey Whisman. “The provenance behind the collection is impeccable, thanks to Uncle Jimmy’s detailed and thorough record keeping, and the story and history of Uncle Jimmy is truly inspiring.”
Beyond a Babe Ruth-signed ’33 Goudey #53, which was graded PSA Very Good 3 MK with an autograph grade of PSA 6, Wheatland will be featuring some of the other items this month. Top lots include a 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson, graded PSA Near Mint-Mint 8; a 1969 Topps Super Reggie Jackson rookie card, PSA Gem-Mint 10; and a 1965 Topps #207 Pete Rose, PSA Mint 9.
“While the Ruth-signed Goudeys have received the most attention, the high quality non-signed cards are equally awesome, and his collection also included rare pennants, world series programs, signed newspaper clippings, photos, regional sets, pins, and so much more,” stated Chuck Whisman. “Personally, I like the insanely pack-fresh condition of the 1965 and 1967 Topps sets, but the 1948 Bowman and 1956 Topps sets are also nice.”
Micioni was a fanatic—not just about baseball but also about keeping track of his collecting efforts. He chronicled his autograph requests sent to players and kept them in a large binder. Nevertheless, most collectors prefer third-party authentication and Wheatland turned to PSA for that.
“Signed trading cards, especially vintage examples, have increased in popularity over the past several years. Within the genre, it is hard to imagine a more aesthetically pleasing medium than a 1933 or ‘34 Goudey baseball card,” opined Joe Orlando, president and CEO of Collectors Universe, PSA’s parent company. “The beautiful artwork and card design of each issue offers the perfect backdrop for any signature, let alone those from some of the greatest names the game has ever seen. From Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig to Jimmie Foxx and more, dozens of stars were found within this vast collection, one that is sure to grab the attention of many buyers once it starts entering the market.”
Some of the more notable cards will include a special “Uncle Jimmy Collection” pedigree on the label.
Micioni was a longtime factory worker and school custodian who spent many of his off hours either attending games or collecting baseball memorabilia. He was a man of modest means who never married and had no children. Very soon, his seven nieces and nephews, the beneficiaries of the upcoming auctions, will have newfound appreciation of their uncle’s lifelong hobby.
- Check out the most watched baseball card auctions on eBay