The two marquee cards in the T206 baseball card set sold for more than $1 million combined as Robert Edward Auctions wrapped up its 2012 auction early Sunday morning. A PSA 2 Honus Wagner, one of three to be sold in major auctions over the last few weeks, brought $651,750 including the buyer’s premium. The final bid was $550,000–identical to the PSA 2 example sold by Memory Lane last weekend. The winning bid was placed by a collector who outlasted other interested bidders in an auction that lasted until after 4 a.m. Eastern time as bids continued to be registered on other items in the auction.
An ultra scarce T206 “NY Nat’l” Joe Doyle, scarce because of a printing error that was quickly corrected, one of less than ten examples believed to exist, sold for $414,750 including the buyer’s premium.
A T206 Eddie Plank, another scarce key to a master set, graded PSA 6 miscut, sold for $94,800.
More than 23,000 bids were placed in the auction, which began last month via online and phone bidding. According to REA, 1631 out of the 1639 lots sold (99.51%) and 665 different winners took home at least one lot.
“This last statistic all alone is particularly significant in our eyes as the number of different winners per lot illustrates the extraordinary depth of the market and breadth of participation in the auction,” REA president Rob Lifson stated in an email. “It is also a very positive reflection of the strength of the hobby in general.”
The highest graded example of another hobby icon, the 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie, issued in 1934 to satisfy the legions of set collectors who wrote the company over a mysteriously missing number in their 1933 sets, and limited to a scant few sold for $118,500.
Bidders also flocked to a 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth. Graded relatively strong at PSA 6, the card sold for $142,200.
The hobby’s most engaged collectors usually save significant bankroll amounts to bid in the massive REA auction because of the surviving rarities that annually make their way into the catalog. Dozens of cards from pro baseball’s earliest moments were presented including a newly discovered example of the 1868 Peck & Snyder Atlantic Nine, which sold for $82,950, a record price for a CDV type team card according to REA.
A 1889 N338-2 S. F. Hess Tim Keefe brought $47,400 after a $2,000 opening bid.
“Nineteenth century cards were really strong in this auction,” said Lifson. “A lot of collectors come out of the woodwork to bid on this kind of material.”
A rare high grade Ty Cobb tobacco tin set a record for the piece, selling at $88,875.
Still, modern era memorabilia also attracted strong bidding. The boxing trunks worn by Muhammad Ali for the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ against Joe Frazier in 1975, soared to $118,500.