How much is a Gem Mint 10 Warren Spahn 1950 Bowman worth? This one went for $11,891
How much is a Gem Mint 10 Warren Spahn 1950 Bowman worth? This one went for $11,891

Several cards with GEM MINT PSA 10 status reached impressive dollar figures in the recent Superior Sports Auctions sale. Consider Jerry Coleman's 1951 Bowman, for example. The bidding for the ex-Yankee's card started at the minimum $150 and ended at $3,795. This is Jerry Coleman, folks!

Perhaps more predictable results were Robin Roberts' 1949 Bowman card, which fetched $10,235; Warren Spahn's 1950 Bowman card at $11,891; Phil Rizzuto's 1949 Bowman card at $4,255; and Whitey Ford's 1955 Bowman card at $2,415. These figures represented hammer prices plus a 15 percent buyer's premium. The value of these cards greatly exceeded prices for cards that graded one notch below.

Chris Porter, president of Superior Auctions, attributed the robust prices to demand from individuals pursuing complete sets. "Set building has returned in full force as collectors are increasingly honing in on specific years to build the finest sets," Porter said. He added that the "hottest" years are the 1951 and 1952 Bowman sets; and the 1952 and 1957 Topps sets. "We've seen evidence of collectors paying any price necessary to fill any hole in their set," he said.

Porter added that the price levels suggest a "full strength" return of collecting confidence. Of course, he added, collectors are gravitating to quality, meaning high grade cards. "Most demand was shown for PSA-graded GEM or MINT condition cards from the 1950s," he said.

The entire auction featured 1,074 lots, including Americana items. The cards alone grossed just under $1 million.

Among other notable items, noted chronologically, in the Superior auction:

  • An 1888 N162 Goodwin Champs card of Cap Anson (PSA 7 NM) sold for $10,350;
  • A 1915 Cracker Jack card of Christy Mathewson (PSA 8 NM-MT) sold for $12,075;
  • A 1934 Goudey card of Dizzy Dean (PSA MINT 9) sold for $14,588;
  • Roy Campanella's 1949 Bowman card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $5,635;
  • Mantle's 1952 Bowman card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $15,013;
  • Willie Mays' 1952 Bowman card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $11,213;
  • Ernie Banks 1954 Topps card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $12,650;
  • Jackie Robinson's 1954 Topps card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $4,715;
  • Sandy Koufax's 1955 Topps card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $14,663;
  • Mickey Mantle's 1957 Topps card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $12,075;
  • Bobby Hull's1958 Topps card (PSA MINT 9) sold for for $13,340; and
  • Hank Aaron's 1962 Topps All Star Card (PSA MINT 9) sold for $3,450.

Superior's next auctions will be held June 20 and Sept. 21. For more information contact Chris Porter at (231) 922-9862.

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Anyone can appreciate a little spring-cleaning, but when hockey's Harry Howell and legendary sportswriter Furman Bisher clean up it's time to take notice.

Howell's Norris Trophy from the 1966-'67 season sold for a hammer price of $15,950 during an auction conducted by Sports Collectors Ltd. of Orland Park, Ill. His Campbell Bowl trophy sold for $4,800 and his NHL Miles Award, signifying 1,000 games in the league, sold for $4,875. The puck representing Howell's first NHL goal sold for $1,750; his New York Rangers jacket from 1959 sold for $1,650; and his jersey with the San Diego Mariners of the World Hockey Association, from 1974-'75, sold for $3,600.

Bisher logged miles and miles of copy for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Most prominent among the items in the sale were team-signed footballs by All-America teams from the '60s. Actually, many of them failed to meet reserve prices. One that did was the 1961 All-America team ball signed by 28 players, including Ernie Davis, Merlin Olsen, Jim Saxton, Bobby Bell, Gary Collins, Roman Gabriel, John Hadl, among others. It sold for $2,700.

A program from the 34th Annual Downtown Athletic Club Heisman Trophy Award ceremony sold for the minimum of $50. The cover sported award-winner O.J. Simpson. The Juice's stock among collectors has plummeted. No kidding.

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Speaking of punks, word is out, thanks to Sports Illustrated, that an Ohio youngster named LeBron James is the next Michael Jordan. Being the SI coverboy is a heavy responsibility, and it took no time for the high school junior's mailbox to start filling up with copies for his signature.

The Akron high school doesn't want to be a party to its star athlete's celebrity. A local autograph hound hustled the youngster for an autograph on the Feb. 18 issue, slapped it on the Internet and netted a cool $203.51. Other signed copies of the SI issue initially sold in the neighborhood of $250. In the ensuing weeks prices for the signed publication have dipped below $100. Copies of game film, programs, and sports newscasts are also part of the auction action.

Sounds like a high school fundraiser waiting to happen. Goodness, the kid's only 17. One hopes he'll place some value in his high school diploma. No doubt high school seniors for the Class of 2003 will order extra yearbooks. Sure, the memories are one thing, but think of the students who'll sell the yearbooks for a little college money. It will happen.

Speaking of kids, Sarah Hughes, the 16-year-old gold medal figure skater, who was sizzling on ice in Salt Lake City, donated one of her skates for a charity auction. The item sold for $4,102. Hughes signed the skate and under it noted: "Gold 2002."

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A rare 1929 American League pocket schedule, signed by Lou Gehrig, sold for $2,904 in an auction organized by Odyssey Auctions of Corona, Cal. A check signed G.H. Ruth and framed with a copy of Nat Fein's famous shot of the Babe on Babe Ruth Day sold for $2,128.

A few autographed pin flags attracted considerable bidding. A 1999 U.S. Open flag signed by Payne Stewart sold for $1,783; a 1997 Skins Game flag signed by Tiger Woods, Mark O'Meara, David Duval and Tom Lehman sold cheap for $460; and a 2001 Master's flag signed by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player sold for $604.

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Tiger Woods is the rage among golf collectibles. After the initial mania, prices are settling down. Bobby Jones had a similar impact on the world long before television. Golf collectors showed their zeal for Jones' achievements during a recent auction organized by Lew Lipset of Carefree, Ariz. ('Gotta love the name of that town.)

An array of admission pins drew handsome bids, starting with a 1926 U.S. Open three-day ticket at Scioto in Columbus, OH, which sold for $3,137. Jones won the event, as he did the 1928 U.S. National Amateur tournament at Brae Burn. A ticket to that tournament sold for $1,948.

Jones won the U.S. National Amateur at Merion in 1930 and in the same year the U.S. Open. Admission tickets to the amateur sold for $2,852; to the Open for $1,947.

The Master's badge in 1961 was the first year it was produced in metal. This badge sold for $1,398 during the Lipset sale. A lot of three Masters badges, from 1964 to '66 sold for $1,428. Arnold Palmer won his fourth and final green jacket in 1964. The Nicklaus era of mastery at Augusta began with victories in '65 and '66.

One collector paid $2,143 for a collection of 31 Master's badges dating from 1968 to 1999. During this time only the 1998 badge was missing. Of course, Tiger notched his first Master's win in 1997.

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Curtis Joseph's Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens locker sold for $2,200 in a recent auction organized by Frozen Pond. Cujo used the locker during his first five months in the NHL as goalie for the Maple Leafs. A Cujo-autographed mask brought a winning bid of $900.

Meanwhile, a Patrick Roy game-used Colorado Avalanche goalie stick sold for $620.

A scarce 15-inch dagger from the inaugural season of the Buffalo Sabres in 1970 sold for a hammer price of $1,530.

The sale primarily offered hockey items, although a game-worn Roberto Alomar jersey from the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 sold for $1,950; and a David Cone jersey from the 1992 World Series team sold for $1,350.

Among other items:

  • A game-used bat from Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez sold for $920;
  • A pair of Pedro Martinez game-worn cleats, signed with a Cy Young Award notation, sold for $660;
  • A "Boys of Boston" signed photo, featuring Bobby Orr, Ted Williams and Larry Bird, sold for $1,550;
  • A signed American League ball by Mark McGwire sold for $470;
  • The visitor's bench from Maple Leafs Gardens sold for $1,500;
  • Rob Blake's first Colorado Avalanche jersey sold for jersey for $2,500;
  • A Wayne Gretzky hand-painted stick from the Canada Cup sold for $1,351;
  • A game-used Mark Messier stick sold for $520;
  • A photo display of signed photos of Gretzky and Mario Lemieux playing in the 1987 Canada Cup sold for $1,030.

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Just like Dan Marino to pile up the numbers. In a matchup of sorts with Joe Montana -- well, as much as an auction can be a matchup -- Marino's 1997-'98 helmet sold for $6,000, $500 more than Montana's 49er helmet from the 1991-'92 season.

Among other items in the sale organized by American Memorabilia of Las Vegas:

  • A pair of white, signed, game-used cleats used by Terry Bradshaw circa 1978 sold for $3,234;
  • A gold and diamond ring given to Ernest Jackson for winning a rushing title with the San Diego Chargers in 1984 sold for $2,671;
  • A game-used Roberto Clemente bat, signed by the Pirates HOFer, sold for $15,000;
  • A Willie Mays uncracked game bat sold for $9,854;
  • A Nolan Ryan-used warm-up jacket from the Texas Rangers sold for $3,028;
  • Ken Griffey's Reds vest jersey from 2001 sold for $3,027;
  • A Michael Jordan game-used home Bulls jersey from 1997-'98 sold for $6,602. The 2000 USA Olympic uniform, including shorts, worn by Jordan's heir apparent, Vince Carter, sold for $7,500;
  • A game-used Carter road jersey from his rookie season with the Raptors sold for $4,300;
  • A photo showing a flying Carter ready to execute a thunderous jam, signed, sold for $490. Fleer produced only 50 of the photos as part of a redemption program;
  • New York Islander Bob Bourne's game-used Stanley Cup finals jersey from 1980-'81 sold for $3,876;
  • Boerne's personal '82-'83 Islanders Stanley Cup trophy sold for $6,347;
  • A Tiger Woods autographed signature card produced by Upper Deck Authenticated sold for $1,871;
  • One of 100 Upper Deck cards showing Jordan taking his "last shot" with the Bulls -- it is signed -- sold for $911; and
  • Sterling Martin's driving uniform with the Kodak racing team sold for $1,086.

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A Don Mattingly jersey with a No. 46 on its back, apparently Mattingly's number when he first came up with the Yankees, sold for $4,140 in an auction organized by Alan Rosen of Montvale, N.J. A Cal Ripken Jr. Orioles road jersey from 1990, previously sold in 1994 in a Christie's auction, sold for $2,670.

Among other items that sold were:

  • A 1949 Bowman Satchel Paige Card (PSA 8, NM-MT) sold for $2,420;
  • A 1940 Bowman Roy Campanella card (PSA 8, NM-MT) sold for $2,750;
  • A team-signed baseball from the 1934 Tour of Japan team, with Ruth on the Sweet Spot, sold for $4,630. Signatures ranged in grade from 2 to 7;
  • A 1960 Topps Chewing Gum Mickey Mantle signed contract sold for $1,320;
  • A 1956 Topps Henry Aaron-signed contract sold for $330;
  • A 1966 Topps Henry Aaron-signed contract sold for $245;
  • A 1967 and 1970 Topps Henry Aaron-signed contracts sold for $220 each;
  • An 8x10 Mickey Mantle photo showing Mantle striking a pose similar to that on his 1952 Topps rookie card sold for $150.
This Gem Mint Phil Rizzuto 1949 Bowman fetched $4,255 at auction
This Gem Mint Phil Rizzuto 1949 Bowman fetched $4,255 at auction
Even Jerry Coleman's 1951 Bowman brought an impressive $3,795 in Gem Mint 10 condition
Even Jerry Coleman's 1951 Bowman brought an impressive $3,795 in Gem Mint 10 condition

Charles Kaufman, autograph columnist for the Sports Market Report, is also editor of Sweet Spot Magazine, a bimonthly publication devoted to vintage and autographed sports memorabilia, and www.sweetspotnews.com.