Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. When it comes to auctions, these three stars command the most attention.
That scenario is no different in RR Auction’s upcoming sale. The Boston-based company is offering seven Mantle items, 11 items related to Jordan and ten that include Ruth in its latest memorabilia auction, which begins Aug. 13. Other stars include Honus Wagner, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson.
Not surprisingly, a 1952 Topps card of Mantle is near the top of the list in coveted items. However, this auction has more intrigue over the Jordan items — specifically, a box of 1986-87 Fleer basketball with 36 unopened packs.
The Fleer boxes have generated some buzz recently because an unopened case of 1986-87 Fleer basketball fetched $1.8 million from Collect Auctions. Both the case and the box offered by RR Auction were sealed by Baseball Card Exchange.
While several packs of 1986-87 Fleer will be on the block, a graded one with a sticker of Jordan on the back is the standout among them. Another piece of memorabilia will be Nike Air Jordan VII sneakers attributed to the 1992 NBA season.
Other NBA footwear will be for sale, as a pair of black Converse Star Conquest sneakers worn by Larry Bird during a 1991 regular-season game will be offered.
Some of the other Mantle items offered for sale include a dual-signed Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris baseball. Two 1953 Bowman color cards of the Mick are also for sale. One is graded PSA 8.
There’s a single-signed Ruth baseball dating from the first half of his career. Another baseball, which could have been signed during the famous barnstorming tour of Japan in 1934, displays the autographs of Ruth, Gehrig and Earl Whitehill. Yet another has the signatures of Ruth and 15 other members of the 1934 barnstorming team, including Gehrig, Foxx, Mack, Whitehill, Lefty Gomez, Earl Averill, Lefty O’Doul and Moe Berg.
Ruth’s signature is also included on a baseball that also sports the autographs of fellow Hall of Famers Connie Mack, Walter Johnson and Luke Appling.
There is also a 1913 Cubs team signed baseball.
The key Wagner item in the auction is a W600 Sporting Life Cabinet card from 1905, which uses the same photograph that would famously be portrayed on the Flying Dutchman’s T206 card several years later. Some of Wagner’s batting and fielding statistics are penciled on the back of the cabinet card, which is graded SGC 1. It carries a $15,000 pre-sale estimate.
Another Wagner item, which has a low opening bid, is certainly unusual. It is a 1909 postcard photograph of the “Hans Wagner” basketball team, which includes a shot of Wagner in early hoops attire. Wagner apparently played basketball to stay in shape, and he had a barnstorming tour after the Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1909 World Series.
Several Cobb autographs are included in the auction. There is one with signatures of Cobb, Thomas Edison and Mack, accompanied by a photograph of the trio at spring training during the late 1920s. The photo was taken by noted Philadelphia photojournalist Bruce Murray. A photograph from 1955, along with a pair of canceled checks from 1931 and 1957, bear the signatures of the Georgia Peach.
For collectors who enjoy signatures from a baseball card set, a 1976 Topps set with autographs from nearly every player is up for grabs.
The auction ends Aug. 20. There will be a 25% buyer’s premium on all winning bids.