T206 Wagner Soars to $1.32 Million; 1916 Ruth Rookie Sets New Mark at $204,000; Countless Auction Records Shattered at REA!!!
Collectors of high-end baseball cards and memorabilia were understandably glued to Robert Edward Auctions as prices soared to astounding levels across the board during the record-setting April 25, 2015 auction. An incredible 121 lots sold for $10,000 or more. Four lots eclipsed the $100,000 mark, and the auction’s headline lot realized in excess of One Million Dollars! The total sales of $7.54 million defined the auction as one of the largest and most successful single-day baseball auctions in collecting history. REA president Robert Lifson comments, “These results speak for themselves: about the quality of the material offered, about the appreciation of the collecting world for how REA presents items and conducts auctions, about the well-deserved trust collectors have in REA, and about the strength of the market.”
Media attention surrounding the auction was at an all-time high, with the million-dollar T206 Honus Wagner garnering extensive interest far and wide. The card made appearances on ESPN and FOX Business Network, as well as several TV news programs in the New York and Pittsburgh metro areas. Major sports radio, including CBS New York, and print publications, including the New York Daily News, covered the auction. The record-setting sale captured worldwide attention, with headline stories on CNN, Yahoo!, CNBC, and ESPN, as well as Associated Press coverage in hundreds of publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in addition to international venues.
1909-1911 T206 Honus Wagner: One of the finest examples of the legendary T206 Honus Wagner card, graded PSA VG 3, led the auction and sold for $1,320,000, by far establishing a new record price for a Wagner card in this condition. The card had previously sold for $791,000 in 2008 and is now one of only a handful of baseball cards to ever sell for more than one million dollars in the history of collecting. Bidding opened at $100,000, and forty-two bids were placed by collectors from all around the world. “The interest in this card was tremendous,” said REA Consignment Director Brian Dwyer. “Bidders really appreciated the quality of the card, its great story, and the rare opportunity to own one of the most famous baseball cards in existence. We were honored to have had the privilege to include it among the items in our spring auction lineup.”
1910 T210 Old Mill Tobacco Collection: An extraordinary near-complete set of red-bordered T210 Old Mill cards, consisting of 610 out of 640 cards and offered in twelve different lots, combined to realize $243,600. The collection was highlighted by a stunning SGC VG 40 example of the key Joe Jackson card, one of fewer than twenty known to exist, which sold for $168,000, a world record price for this rarity in the assigned grade. The same card had appeared at auction only once before, originating from a freshly-discovered collection consigned to REA in 2006 by the family of the original owner, at which time it realized $116,000. The escalation in price illustrates the continuing great appreciation for one of card collecting’s rarest and most desirable cards. The collection also contained one of the highest-graded examples of Casey Stengel’s rare sixth series card (res. $5,000). Graded SGC EX 60, the card drew extremely spirited bidding before ending the night at $27,000. Cards from each of the eight series were offered in lots by series, with the two toughest series (seven and eight) split into two lots. “The T210 set has always been extremely highly regarded by advanced collectors due for its distinctive design, its scarcity compared to most other tobacco-card sets of the era, and its extremely striking photos that are unique to the set. The Joe Jackson card all alone would be a special highlight in any auction. It’s one of the best baseball cards in existence. But being offered along with almost all the other cards in the set made this a very special offering all the more appreciated by advanced collectors,” said REA president Robert Lifson.
More $100,000+ Highlights: A remarkable 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card graded PSA EX-MT 6 was hotly contested, reaching an extraordinary record-setting final price of $204,000 against a book value of $95,000 for a Ruth card in this condition. The card was entirely new to the modern collecting world and came with a tremendous hobby-related history: It was purchased in the 1980s directly from legendary dealer Larry Fritsch, who at the time was breaking up a complete M101-4 set, selling them individually. The key Babe Ruth rookie card, which cost several thousand dollars at the time, was carefully saved for nearly thirty years by the collector and his family before the decision was made to offer it at auction. REA vintage card expert Dean Faragi noted that the card was particularly strong for its grade, which no doubt contributed to its extraordinary price. “We’ve handled more than a dozen Sporting News Ruth cards over the years, and this example was by far the nicest one we’ve ever seen. The bidders definitely agreed that the technical grade didn’t tell the whole story, which is why it commanded such a premium. I predict we’ll see this card sell for a lot more someday. That said, the premium it realized is astounding. It’s one thing for a $100 card to sell for $200. It’s another thing for a $95,000 card to sell for $204,000. It’s a great card, and it was a great price. Our consignor was floored.” The hobby’s finest example of a 1933 Goudey Uncut “Triple Ruth” Sheet, featuring three Babe Ruth cards, a Lou Gehrig, and four additional Hall of Famers, lived up to its reputation, drawing tremendous interest from bidders captivated by its spectacular condition and exceptional display value. Opening at $50,000, when the dust settled it sold for $168,000, establishing a new record for any Goudey sheet ever! An extremely rare 1909-1911 T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb Back, one of only thirteen known and graded SGC GOOD 30, realized a stellar $132,000. The card originated from the historic find of five different Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back cards offered at REA in 1997, each of which realized $25,000 or less at the time.
Record Prices For Classics:
Many of card collecting’s most iconic cards continue to trend upward, realizing record prices at REA. This auction featured five 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle cards, long considered the most famous postwar card ever produced, in a variety of different grades. A stunning example graded SGC EX/NM 80, which was last sold in REA’s Fall 2014 auction for a then-record price of $41,475 and consigned by the buyer to this auction, hammered down for an even more impressive record $54,000. The equivalent SMR value in the assigned grade was $35,000. “It’s rare to see items increase in price by such a large percentage so quickly, but it does seem to happen with some degree of regularity when dealing with the most universally recognized iconic cards” notes REA Consignment Director Brian Dwyer. Four lower-grade examples, ranging in grade from Authentic to PSA GOOD 2 with qualifier, combined to sell for $27,300, led by $10,200 for a stunning PSA FAIR 1.5 card, setting a new record for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in that modest grade. Mantle’s true rookie card, the 1951 Bowman #253, also delighted bidders when a SGC VG/EX+ 55 example, which was sold for $5,700 by REA last year and was consigned after the buyer upgraded, saw spirited action and ended the night at $7,800, also a new record for the grade and multiples of its modest $1,000 opening bid. A 1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron rookie card graded PSA NM-MT 8 (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) soared to an earth-shattering $21,600, nearly doubling the previous public auction sale. A stunning 1948 Bowman Basketball #69 George Mikan rookie card, considered “the king of basketball cards,” graded PSA NM-MT 8 (res. $2,500; est. $5,000/$10,000) established a new record by a large margin, ending at a remarkable $16,800.
The Pulse of The Market: Collectors, dealers, and market watchers look to REA’s annual spring event as the key barometer of the health of the market and the most important auction event of the year. According to REA president Robert Lifson, “The market was extremely strong across the board. The auction results were staggering and exceeded our highest expectations. Most important, they exceeded our consignors’ expectations. The great prices are the result of many factors including, of course, being given the very best material in the world to offer, taking great care in cataloguing all material, having the largest circulation, extensive research and authentication, the well-deserved confidence of buyers, and an emphasis on the integrity of the auction process. Altogether, it’s a very powerful combination. The bidders appreciate what we do. And this naturally attracts consignments.” By any measure, this was one of the most successful auctions in the history of collecting. “It was also the smoothest running auction in all respects, including collecting the money. As always at Robert Edward Auctions, there were no delays in collecting money and getting it into the hands of consignors. That’s another extremely strong area for REA. In fact, this year over half the consignors had their checks in the mail within one week. Even I’m not sure how we did that. But we did.” All consignors were paid in full, 100 cents on the dollar with no adjustments due to nonpaying bidders, and in record time. “That’s the standard we strive for and achieve at REA when it comes to paying consignors. Perfection. Consignors really appreciate getting paid quickly and they really appreciate getting paid 100 cents on the dollar.”
REA Statistics: The stunning prices on all nineteenth and early twentieth century baseball cards and memorabilia totaled a staggering $7.54 million. The 1527 lots, offered on behalf of 238 different consignors, were won by an incredible 677 different bidders, illustrating the power of the marketing and auction process, and the breadth of bidder interest. Successful bidders included some of the nation’s most prestigious museums, universities, and corporate institutional collections, as well as representatives from numerous Major League teams. An incredible 18,973 bids were placed. All areas of the auction received a tremendous response and very strong prices. Nineteenth-century baseball items were unbelievable, as always, as were all early baseball cards, advertising and display pieces, graded cards, Babe Ruth items, autographs, memorabilia, non-sport cards and artwork. Thousands of bidders from all over the world participated. The average lot realized more than double the high-end estimate. An incredible 99% of the lots sold.
Nineteenth-Century Baseball Card Rarities: An outstanding newly-discovered 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Team CDV (res. $5,000), found among old family papers in a Pennsylvania home, was extremely well received by bidders. The CDV possessed exceptional visual appeal, far stronger than many of the other known examples and far better than suggested by its technical grade, and soared to an incredible final sales price of $27,000. Not bad for an old photo that the family didn’t realize they had! Another newly-discovered nineteenth-century rarity, a spectacular cabinet card featuring the 1879 Chicago White Stockings California Tour Team (res. $5,000) featuring Hall of Famer Cap Anson, tripled in price just during the extended bidding period, selling for an amazing $42,000. An 1879 Worcester Grays team-composite cabinet (res. $300; est. $1,000+), originating from the personal collection of Cleveland News sports columnist and pioneer collector Charles W. Mears and consigned directly by his family, climbed to $7,200 in spirited bidding. A collection of twenty-one N172 Old Judge Hall of Famers in various conditions, highlighted by attractive examples of Cap Anson, Bid McPhee, and Ed Delehanty, was sold individually and realized a total of $50,280. A stunning N173 Old Judge Cabinet of Mickey Welch (res. $2,500) hammered for $12,000, while a rare 1887 N693 Kalamazoo Bats Philadelphia Team Card (res. $2,500) ended at $10,200. Two exceptionally rare 1888 N338-1 S. F. Hess California League cards, one of nineteenth-century card collecting’s most elusive sample cards, combined to sell for $13,800. A graded complete set of eight 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions baseball players (res. $1,500; est. $3,000+) exceeded its book value of $5,900 and realized an impressive $10,800 after the dust settled. A near-complete set of 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug cards (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) sold for $24,000. A rarely-seen complete graded set of 1889 N526 Number 7 Cigars (res. $2,000) finished at $10,800. Scarce Hall of Famer sample cards also performed extremely well, with sales of an 1888 E223 G & B Chewing Gum Buck Ewing (res. $2,500) and Mickey Welch (res. $2,500) at $7,200 and $5,400, respectively; an 1889 N338-2 S. F. Hess Buck Ewing (res. $2,500) at $9,600; and an 1888 N403 Yum Yum Tobacco Mickey Welch (res. $2,000) at $7,800. “This was one of the strongest nineteenth-century card sections we’ve ever had. From outstanding team composites to rare sample cards to some of the game’s greatest Hall of Famers, this auction had it all,” said REA vintage card expert Dean Faragi. “The collectors really enjoyed the tremendous variety and the great opportunity to bid on these rarities.”
Vintage Card Prices STRONG At REA: REA is first and foremost a baseball card auction, so it is not surprising that the big money, as usual, was in the cards. A beautiful 1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank graded SGC GOOD+ 35 (res. $10,000) hammered for $42,000, as did a stunning 1909 T204 Ramly Tobacco Walter Johnson graded SGC NM 84 (res. $10,000), submitted by REA for a consignor who purchased it (for a song!) in the early days of the hobby long before the introduction of professional grading. An impossibly rare 1921 Frederick Foto Babe Ruth, graded SGC GOOD 30 and one of only five known examples, also ended the night at $42,000. The same card had been purchased at auction by the consignor for $11,163 just four years prior. Another Ruth item, a 1916 M101-4 Sporting News rookie card graded SGC FAIR 20 (res. $5,000), illustrated that collector demand for this iconic card is extremely strong in all grades, selling for $36,000, while Ruth’s first card as a Yankee, the 1917-1920 M101-6 Felix Mendelsohn graded SGC VG 40 (res. $5,000), sold for $24,000. A rare 1912 E300 Plow’s Candy Ty Cobb PSA EX 5 (res. $10,000) also went to a new home for $36,000 as did one of the very few known examples of Lefty Grove’s true rookie card (res. $5,000) from the incredibly rare 1921 White’s Bakery Tip Top Bread set. A 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb (res. $5,000), graded SGC EX 60, sold for $19,200, while an exceptional 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson (res. $2,500), graded SGC VG/EX 50 but presenting far better, sold for $18,000 against an SMR value of $5,750. Two unique 1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Artist’s Proofs, featuring Larry Bowa and Bernie Carbo, the first examples from this legendary set to ever appear at auction, were cause for great excitement among serious Topps collectors, selling for many times their modest $500 starting bids, at $13,200 and $14,400, respectively. In addition to the record-setting sale price of the 1933 Goudey “Triple Ruth” uncut sheet, four other uncut sheets from the 1930s sold for $57,000.
Rare-back T206 cards continue to cement their place as one of the hottest segments of the market, with countless impressive prices turned in throughout this auction. Two Ty Cobb cards saw intense competition among bidders, with a PSA VG 3 Lenox Back Cobb (res. $2,500) ending at $27,000 and a SGC VG 40 Uzit Back Cobb (res. $2,500) selling for $19,200. A Sid Smith Brown Old Mill example (res. $1,000) sold for an extremely impressive $24,000. A Broad Leaf 460 Addie Joss (res. $1,000) sold for $16,800. A complete “back run” collection featuring all fifteen backs for Hall of Famer Vic Willis’ batting pose, including Brown Lenox, Drum, and Uzit, realized $22,860. A total of thirty-seven cards depicting common players, each sold individually and featuring a rare back such as Broad Leaf, Carolina Brights, Drum, Lenox, and Uzit, combined to sell for a staggering $75,720.
Additional Vintage Card Highlights:
Complete sets were well represented throughout the auction, and, as always, collectors bid very aggressively for the right to take home these complete collections which are often the result of years of dedicated collecting. The #11 ranked PSA-graded master set of 1959 Topps (res. $10,000), with almost all cards graded NM-MT 8 or better, realized $45,000. The #3 ranked PSA-graded set of 1978 Topps baseball (res. $10,000), featuring an astounding 640 GEM MINT 10s, sold for $48,000, illustrating the enormous interest in the market for high-end sets from the 1970s. A complete SGC-graded 1941 Play Ball set (res. $10,000) sold for $33,000 as did a mixed-grade near-complete set of 1909-1911 T206 White Borders (res. $10,000), featuring 519 of 524 cards. A complete set of 1954 Topps (res. $5,000), with all 250 cards graded NM 7 by PSA, sold for $24,000, a significant premium to its SMR value of $18,090. The #4 ranked master set of 1911 T205 Gold Borders (res. $5,000), missing just four cards for completion, sold for $16,800. The #3 ranked set of 1921 E253 Oxford Confectionary (res. $2,500) sold for $14,400. A complete set of thirty 1911 E94 George Close Candy cards, entirely graded by SGC and presented in ten different lots, combined to realize an extraordinary $56,640, led by impressive sales of an SGC EX 60 Ty Cobb (res. $2,500) at $13,200 and a SGC VG/EX 50 Cy Young (res. $500) at $9,600. Three PSA-graded 1951 Topps sets, relics from the company’s first year producing mainstream baseball cards, combined to sell for $24,600 as collectors snapped up very attractive sets of Connie Mack All-Stars, Major League All-Stars, and a near-complete master set of Topps Teams. A newly-discovered set of ten 1915 Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods Pins (res. $2,500) hammered for $19,200. This set, which had been saved by a family of Midwest antiques dealers for more than fifty years, was of great significance as it expanded the checklist of known pins in the set from eight to ten, with examples of Evers and Stallings confirmed for the first time. Ungraded sets also drew extremely strong collector interest, with a collection of fourteen baseball sets spanning the years 1962 to 1975 and saved by the original owner since the year of issue, combining to realize a staggering $132,600, led by $16,800 for a near-complete 1965 Topps set (res. $1,000; est. $2,500+), $15,600 for a complete 1963 Topps set (res. $1,500; est. $3,000+), and $14,400 for a complete 1964 Topps set (res. $500; est. $1,000/$2,000), all remarkably impressive prices for ungraded sets.
Unopened Material: Vintage unopened packs and boxes are a specialty at REA and as always delivered strong prices across the board. A 1971 Topps football second-series wax box with twenty-four unopened packs (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) was hotly contested and sold for $21,600. A 1972 Topps baseball third-series wax box set a new auction record hammering down at $13,100, while a 1975 Topps baseball wax box turned in an equally strong price of $11,400. A 1971 Topps third-series vending box (res. $2,000; est. $4,000+) realized $12,000, and a 1974 Topps baseball wax box (res. $2,000; est. $4,000+) with thirty-six packs sold for $8,400. A rare 1991 Topps Desert Shield unopened wax box (res. $1,000; est. $2,500+) ended at $6,000, as did a pristine 1976 Topps baseball wax box (res. $2,000; est. $4,000+) containing thirty-six packs. In total, the thirteen high-end wax and vending boxes, each authenticated and wrapped by world-renowned unopened-material expert Steve Hart, realized a combined $101,880.
Additional Auction Highlights:
Autographs: REA’s spring auction featured a tremendous selection of autographed items, including several significant rarities. An incredible 1950 Satchel Paige barnstorming contract, signed by Paige along with J. L. Wilkinson and Oscar Charleston, two of the scarcest of all Negro League Hall of Fame signatures, realized $22,800. A new discovery to the modern collecting world, this extremely significant contract was only recently found among old business documents by the family of Jules Trumper, cousin and former business partner of legendary Negro League Philadelphia Stars owner and promoter Ed Gottlieb. An exceptional collection of 500 Home Run single-signed baseballs was presented in four lots and tallied an impressive $66,300, highlighted by individual examples of Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Jimmie Foxx, which sold for $22,800, $27,000, and $13,100, respectively. A particularly extraordinary Christy Mathewson check (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) that was all the more special because it was accompanied by a letter from Mrs. Christy Mathewson, who personally sent the check as a gift to the consignor’s husband in 1956, sold for $19,200. An exceptional signed Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig barnstorming snapshot (res. $1,000; est. $2,500+) dating to 1931 and authenticated by PSA/DNA realized an astounding $13,200. Babe Ruth items continued to be especially popular among collectors, as a Ruth-signed 1934 All-America Baseball Team Certificate presented to Hall of Famer Vernon Gomez (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) sold for $19,200, a 1929 autograph album page signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig (res. $1,000) realized $10,800, and a pair of first-edition books authored and signed by Ruth combined to sell for $9,600. An extremely rare Vic Willis handwritten note dating from 1942 and with impeccable provenance (res. $2,000) sold for $11,400. The short Vic Willis note originated from the collection of pioneer autograph collector Stephen Silagi, a very active collector in the 1940s, and was accompanied by various supporting provenance materials that were much appreciated by bidders. REA president Robert Lifson notes: “With memorabilia and autographs, time and time again, we see how well-documented provenance plays a role in delivering strong prices. It’s not always possible to have this kind of provenance, but when it’s there, it’s impossible not to notice how collectors respond.” An extremely rare “Sliding” Billy Hamilton cut signature (res. $2,000), an ideal example grading “10” on a scale of “1 to 10,” realized $9,000. A 1914 Brooklyn Robins team-signed baseball featuring Hall of Famers Wilbert Robinson, Casey Stengel, and Zach Wheat (res. $1,000) soared to $9,600. A 1970 Heinie Manush single-signed baseball (res. $1,000) realized $7,200. Signed cards continue to be one of the hottest segments of autograph collecting, with a collection of seven PSA/DNA authenticated 1933 and 1934 Goudey cards (res. $300), highlighted by Hall of Famers Chuck Klein, Lefty Grove, and Bill Terry, drawing incredible interest. After a battle involving thirty-six bids, the lot eventually ended the night selling at $8,400. A signed 1953 Topps Satchel Paige sold for fifteen times its modest $200 opening bid, realizing $3,000. Two extremely desirable signed postcards, a 1933 Mordecai Brown (res. $300) and a 1956 Al Simmons Artvue Hall of Fame Postcard (res. $1,000), each sold for $5,400. Aside from the notable baseball highlights, Muhammad Ali continued to prove he is not only one of the greatest of all-time but also one of the most popular of all-time as six lots featuring signed photos and gloves combined to realize $20,400.
Player Contracts: Player contracts have long been a specialty at REA. Collectors again showed their tremendous interest in this popular area of collecting, responding with record-setting prices. A relatively recent, but remarkably significant, 1965 Satchel Paige Kansas City Athletics contract (res. $1,000) sold for a staggering $48,000. This was Paige’s final contract and made him the oldest player ever in professional baseball, “In our opinion, this was one of the most interesting contracts we have ever offered,” said REA memorabilia expert Tom D’Alonzo. “It was great to see collectors share our enthusiasm for this gem.” An extraordinary 1919 Frank Baker New York Yankees contract (res. $2,500), the first Baker contract ever sold at REA, realized $9,600, while a 1931 Pie Traynor Pittsburgh Pirates contract (res. $1,000), also signed by Hall of Famer Barney Dreyfuss in his capacity as owner, realized $9,000. Roy Campanella’s first contract in organized baseball, a 1946 Nashua Dodgers minor league document (res. $1,500), sold for $6,600. Four rare 1940s Puerto Rican League contracts belonging to Hall of Famers Buck Leonard, Willie Wells, Leon Day, and Larry Doby, combined to sell for $9,780. A 1919 Ross Youngs New York Giants contract (res. $1,000), which was consigned directly from the Youngs family, also resonated with bidders, receiving forty-four bids and ending the night at $33,000.
1958 Grammy Award for Tequila: John Reznikoff wins a Grammy! (Editor’s note: We couldn’t resist including this line about Mr. Reznikoff who, of course, was the winning bidder, not the original recipient of the award.) One of the most interesting and significant items ever to cross the auction block at REA, the original 1958 Grammy Award for “Best Rhythm and Blues Performance” presented for the iconic song Tequila was hammered down at $30,000. The award, treasured for the past fifty-seven years and personally consigned directly by The Champs band leader Dave Burgess, was presented to Mr. Burgess at the first-ever Grammy Award ceremony held in Hollywood in 1959. From this auspicious beginning, the Grammys, as we know them today, have become the biggest and most important celebration of the music industry and the Grammy award is universally recognized as the most prestigious honor of its artists. Over the years, Tequila has been featured in countless television shows, movies, and advertisements, and is instantly recognizable to generations of music lovers. The important award was, as noted, purchased by John Reznikoff, President of Connecticut-based University Archives, one of the world’s leading authorities on historically significant artifacts. Mr. Reznikoff cannot play any instrument or sing but is no stranger when it comes to winning iconic historic artifacts at REA (which is why we enjoy having a little fun at his expense). Reznikoff made national headlines in 2010 when he purchased the 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee previously owned by President Barack Obama that was offered at REA on behalf of a consignor who had bought the car used when Obama was still Senator of Illinois. (The vehicle, which when auctioned was actually still being driven around Illinois by the consignor, who was using it as an everyday vehicle, realized eight times its used-car book value, more than enough to buy a new car!) The fact that the Tequila Grammy Award dates from the very first year of the award, and was issued to honor one of the most famous instrumentals in music history, distinguishes it as one of the most significant awards in music history, and one that would be equally at home in either the Smithsonian Institute or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Game-Used Jerseys and Bats: Collectors are often driven towards memorabilia issued to specific players, and REA’s selection of game-used jerseys was particularly well-received by bidders. An exceptional 1970 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves Game-Used Home Jersey graded MEARS A10 (res. $10,000; est. $20,000+) sold for $66,000. An impeccable 1979 Thurman Munson New York Yankees Game-Used Home Uniform (res. $25,000), complete with jersey and pants, representing one of the final uniforms ever worn by the popular Yankees captain before his untimely death, sold for $54,000. The uniform, which originated years prior directly from Munson’s widow, Diana, had the distinction of being one of only two surviving complete Munson uniforms known. A pristine 1971 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants Game-Used Home Jersey (res. $10,000), which originated from a former member of the Giants’ AAA affiliate who was assigned the jersey as a minor leaguer, hammered at $27,000. A 1970 Brooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles Game-Used Road Jersey (res. $10,000) was also highly prized by bidders, and after a flurry of bidding ended the auction at an impressive $30,000. A highly-desirable 1950 Philadelphia Athletics Game-Used Home Jersey, a style used by the team for only one year, was consigned by the original purchaser from REA’s 2005 auction (where the jersey realized $4,930). The rare jersey nearly doubled in price during the last decade, going to the winner in 2015 for $9,000. Another single-year Philadelphia Athletics jersey (res. $300; est. $1,000+), this one from 1954 and belonging to pitcher Carl Scheib, realized $3,600, as did a 1989 Barry Bonds Pittsburgh Pirates Road Jersey (res. $500), complete with matching pants from the prior season. The auction also featured several pro-model baseball bats belonging to Hall of Famers, highlighted by a rare 1908-1911 Frank Chance bat (res. $5,000), accompanied by a PSA/DNA letter of authenticity, which sold for $13,200.
1899-1900 Brooklyn Dodgers Financial Record Book (Plus REWARD for missing pages 177-178!): A most extraordinary and unique 1899-1900 Brooklyn Dodgers Financial Record Book (res. $2,500), which provided a complete accounting of the team’s day-to-day financial operations at the turn of the century and was penned in the hand of owner Charles Ebbets and another team official, saw tremendous interest from historians, institutions and collectors, generating extremely spirited action. When the dust settled, the financial ledger realized $48,000. How this historic ledger book survived is in itself fascinating story. It was literally saved from the dumpster during the dismantling of Ebbets Field following the club’s move to Los Angeles in 1959. A friend of the consignor was part of the labor crew working at Ebbets Field at the time, and he asked his boss if he could take home any of the items that were being thrown in the trash. His boss said he could help himself, and this ledger was one of the items he thought looked interesting enough to save. A year or two later, the friend gave it to our consignor as a gift due to his great interest in baseball. This was back in the early 1960s, when the ledger (and almost all baseball memorabilia) had little monetary value. Our consignor’s interest in baseball and Brooklyn history was most sincere. He was the ideal caretaker for this extraordinary volume that captures the heart and soul of the Brooklyn Dodgers during an era from which so little exists that documents the inner workings of the Brooklyn Club or any other Major League franchise. This ledger book documents virtually everything!
While our consignor, former Bishop Ford High School board member, Robert Dunn of Brooklyn, was the only owner of the ledger since that time, unfortunately, it has not remained in his sole possession. In the mid-1990s, he loaned the ledger to a third party, allegedly for museum display purposes. In 1997, the third party represented the ledger (and other items belonging to our consignor) as his own, obtained funds using the items as collateral, and did not honor our consignor’s requests to have the ledger and other items returned. Ultimately, in 2005, our consignor had to retain an attorney to secure the return of the items, including the ledger, which were finally recovered in 2006. Unfortunately, it appears as though one leaf of the ledger book (pages numbered 177 and 178) was removed during the decade-long “loan” period, and those two pages are, we believe, the Brooklyn Dodgers financial ledger pages in Ebbets’ hand that surfaced in 2000 when they were offered as lot 1104 in Hunt Auctions’ February sale. We have no way of knowing who won the sheet in that auction, or where it is today, but our consignor has authorized Robert Edward Auctions to offer a $1,000 reward for the return of the missing sheet to reunite it with and complete the 1899-1900 ledger book. The reward stands indefinitely, and the page, if returned, will be sent to the winning bidder to be reunited with the rest of the ledger. So be on the lookout!
More Memorabilia Highlights:
Memorabilia takes many forms, and all were very well received at REA! Championship rings continued to be a popular attraction for collectors: A 1980 Kansas City Royals American League Championship ring presented to Ken Brett (res. $1,000), which had been offered for sale on eBay for $6,000 just six months earlier, soared to an astounding $33,000. A 2009 New York Yankees World Series ring (res. $5,000), issued to a front office staff employee (as opposed to a player) sold for $16,800. Two other Yankees World Series rings, one from 1949 and one from 1953 (issued to pitcher Bill Miller), combined to realize $15,600, while a 1955 Roger Craig Brooklyn Dodgers Championship wristwatch, issued to players as an additional gift from the team when they received their World Series rings, sold for $5,100. An extremely rare 1999 Augusta National Golf Club Green Jacket (res. $2,000), similar to the iconic jackets awarded to Masters Champions but instead issued to a club member, is now at home with a golf enthusiast who paid $16,800 for the privilege. Very few of these famous Green Jackets are permitted to leave the hallowed grounds of Augusta. A fascinating library of fourteen 1905-1921 National Commission Annual Reports (res. $2,000), once belonging to Chairman August Hermann, sold for $15,600. The volumes had been purchased by the extremely pleased consignor from another auction years earlier for just $3,980. “With extremely rare or unique items, values are hard to pin down,” notes REA president Robert Lifson. “This is just one of dozens of examples where it’s just impossible to predict true market value, which can change a great deal over the years, and only the auction process provides clarity.” It took more than peanuts to land the 1913 Barnum & Bailey “Famous Elephant Base-Ball Team” Circus Poster, featuring elephants playing the National Game. A longtime favorite among both baseball and circus collectors, and selling for $12,000, this was a particularly special example in that it was the only large-format example of this classic poster that REA has ever seen anywhere, let alone offered. “It may be a long time before we see another example,” comments Tom D’Alonzo. “In fact, this is a rare case where I don’t think we’ll ever see another in this larger size.” A rare 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers Usher Cap (res. $500), which was purchased by the consignor in the 1970s at a Brooklyn-area secondhand store for just $20, sold for an astounding $10,200. Fortunately he recognized what it was at the time and bought it, but not because he thought it was so valuable, but because it fit in his collection. Nothing could have prepared him for the enthusiasm of modern-day Brooklyn Dodgers collectors. A collection of six 1913 to 1920 World Series Press Pins, sold individually, combined to sell for $16,260. Other rare pinbacks, as always, sold at very strong levels, including two 1961 Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris classics: a rare “61 in ’61 or Bust” (res. $800) picturing both sluggers, which hammered at $3,600, and a pair of “I’m For Maris” and “I’m For Mantle” Stadium Pins (res. $1,000), which realized $4,800. A ticket and program to the 1923 Opening Game at Yankee Stadium, saved in the consignor’s family for decades, were sold individually and carried a combined reserve of $2,000. The souvenirs to the christening of “The House That Ruth Built” realized $13,500.
1934-1957 “Three Stooges” Poster Collection: The third and final installment of the finest and most advanced collection of original “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards to ever come to auction was, as expected, a huge hit with collectors. All “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards are extremely rare and have long been recognized as “blue chips” by advanced collectors in the movie poster world as well as among “Three Stooges” collectors. The offering of just a few lobby cards and posters is a rare collecting event. This auction featured 55 lots selling for a total of $251,580. Nine one-sheet posters, each featuring Larry, Moe, and Curly, alone sold for $126,600, paced by an amazing $51,000 for the 1934 Woman Haters poster (res. $10,000), possibly the only known surviving example from the first Stooges short made for Columbia Pictures. A collection of seventy-eight one-sheet posters, consisting of nearly every “Three Stooges” one-sheet poster issued featuring the team of Moe, Larry, and Shemp, hammered for $30,000 (res. $10,000). Fifty-four “Three Stooges” lobby cards sold for a total of $94,980, highlighted by $12,000 for a 1934 Punch Drunks lobby card (res. $2,000). Interesting note: this lobby card had the amazing provenance of having originated years ago directly from Moe Howard’s daughter. This entire collection of movie posters and lobby cards represented an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime collection that quite possibly will never be duplicated again.
Non-Sports Cards (1886-1969): While REA is primarily known for baseball cards and memorabilia, non-sport cards and card artwork from all eras have always also been an area of specialty. The results of the auction once again illustrate that the big money is not reserved only for baseball cards: Five original “Mars Attacks” artworks, each offered individually, tallied a combined $53,600. The #8 ranked 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” set (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+), with all fifty-five cards graded NM-MT 8 by PSA and with an SMR value of $20,950, realized an impressive $27,000. The #1 ranked 1933-1934 National Chicle “Sky Birds” set (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) hammered for $19,200. The #1 ranked 1960 Fleer “Spins & Needles” set (res. $1,000), which included forty-nine PSA GEM MINT 10s, realized $8,400. The #11 ranked 1959 Fleer “Three Stooges” complete set (res. $10,000) sold for $27,000. A rare complete set of 1930s R109 “Pirates Pictures” (res. $500; est. $1,000+), consisting of seventy-two cards and ranked second on the PSA Set Registry, soared to $6,000. A near-complete set of 1967 Wacky Packages Die-Cuts (res. $2,000; est. $4,000+), missing only three rarities for completion, sold for $11,400, while a PSA EX 5 example of the rare “Cracked Animals” card from the same series (res. $1,000) hammered for $3,000. An entirely graded 1888 N2 Allen & Ginter “American Indian Chiefs” set (res. $1,000; est. $2,000+) soared to $7,200. Four different 1962 Topps “Civil War News” original artworks, each offered individually, sold for a collective $17,100, while three different 1965 Topps “Battle” original artworks offered as their own lots realized a combined $10,200. Perhaps most amazingly, an ultra high-grade 1959 Fleer “Three Stooges” complete master set broken up and sold in a total of twenty-five different lots sold for an astonishing combined total of $91,680, led by a record-setting $16,800 for a PSA MINT 9 example of #2 Moe, a price that shattered the previous highest recorded public auction price by more than $10,000.
Many other auction records were shattered for pre-1948 baseball cards, nineteenth-century baseball cards and memorabilia, non-sport cards, and Americana. Further information and complete auction results are available online at www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com
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T206 Wagner Soars to $1.32 Million; 1916 Ruth Rookie Sets New Mark at $204,000; Countless Auction Records Shattered at REA!!!