Watchung, New Jersey. Collectors watched in awe as prices of nineteenth and early twentieth century baseball cards were sent to unprecedented levels at Robert Edward Auctions on April 29th. The total sales for the auction were $7.5 million dollars, setting the world record for a multi-owner all-consignment baseball card and memorabilia auction. The extraordinary auction results literally redefined the values of many nineteenth century and early twentieth century baseball cards. PSA graded cards and authenticated signed items soared to unprecedented levels. The complete set of T206 "White Border" tobacco cards, entirely graded by PSA, set a record for any T206 set ever offered at auction in the history of collecting, selling for $255,200. A baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the highest graded example ever authenticated by PSA/DNA, sold for $98,000, double the previous auction record for one of the classic standards in baseball autograph collecting. The 1931 Josh Gibson signed Harrison Studios postcard, also authenticated by PSA/DNA, set a record not only for a Josh Gibson signed item, but a world record for any postcard of any type relating to any field, selling for an incredible $81,200. The 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover painting by Allan Stephens Foster was hammered down at $55,100, three times the previous auction world record for the artist. The 1910 Joe Jackson Old Mill Tobacco card, one of card collecting's most significant rarities, set yet another world record, selling for $116,000. The 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card issued by The Baltimore News graded PR-FR by PSA realized $150,800. Robert Edward Auctions' sale in 2005 of a VG-EX example at $243,000 previously catapulted this card to being universally recognized as the second most valuable card in the world, trailing only the famous T206 Honus Wagner. This most recent auction result suggests that the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card in any given condition may now, in fact, be the single most valuable card in the world. No T206 Honus Wagner card in this grade has ever sold for as much as $150,000 at auction.
"Prices were significantly higher than most consignors expected" said REA president Robert Lifson. "Part of this, of course, is due to a strong market and having great material, but a big part of this is also because all of the most serious collectors in the world are comfortable bidding at Robert Edward Auctions."
The sale was the most successful auction in Robert Edward Auctions' 36-year history. Thousands of bidders from all over the world, primarily the U.S. but also including Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong, helped to propel prices to unprecedented record levels. Over 20,000 bids were placed and 99% of the lots sold. With bidding by FAX, telephone, and on the Internet, the 1411 lots of historic 1787-1987 cards and memorabilia generated a record-breaking $7.5 Million in sales, with total prices realized soaring to an astounding 83% above the high-end estimate of the sale. This is the largest total sales figure for any REA auction, and sets a new world-record for a multi-consignor baseball card and memorabilia auction in which the auction house employees, auction house executives, and the auction house itself are prohibited from bidding in the auction (breaking the previous record of 7.1 million dollars set by Robert Edward Auctions in April 2005). The extraordinary results leave no doubt that every item was sold to the person or institution that was willing to pay the most. The 1411 lots offered were won by an incredible 584 different bidders, illustrating the power of the marketing and auction process, and the breadth of bidder interest. By any measure this was one of the most carefully assembled, important, and successful baseball card and memorabilia auctions in the history of collecting. "We set record prices across the board" reports Lifson. "All areas of the auction received a tremendous response and very strong prices. Nineteenth-century baseball items were unbelievable, as always, as were early baseball cards, baseball figural pieces, advertising and display pieces, graded cards, Babe Ruth items, autographs, memorabilia, non-sport cards and artwork. This was a record-setting auction in every way."
Prices of some of the many numerous significant highlights include: the 1912 Hassan Triple Advertising Display, $98,600; the 1928 Sporting News Counter Display with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (reserve $5,000), $29,000; five 1871 F.A. Pierce & Co. CDV team cards (each with a reserve of $1,000) sold for a total of $160,000, averaging an incredible $32,000 each; 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV (reserve $4,000), $26,100 (another auction record); a complete set of 1934-1936 R318 Batter-Up complete set (reserve $10,000), $37,700; 1886 N167 Old Judge Tim Keefe (reserve $5,000) sold for $46,400 (another auction record); 1910 tobacco card rarity T206 Eddie Plank graded VG-EX (reserve $10,000), $43,500; a near-set of E90-1 American Caramel (reserve $10,000), missing the key card in the set, Joe Jackson, sold for a record $87,000 (the set was entirely graded by PSA; the only other E90-1 set to be offered at auction in recent years included the Joe Jackson card, was offered ungraded, and sold at a different auction for $30,000 last year); an 1893 Just So Tobacco card of Tebeau graded Very Good (reserve $1,000) sold for a record $19,720; a new find of 33 T206 tobacco cards including Ty Cobb, all with Uzit backs, sold in three lots for an incredible total of $41,760.
Additional significant auction highlights include: A collection of four E125 American Caramel Die-Cuts (reserve $1,000), $15,080; 1910 Clement Bros. Bread Ty Cobb (reserve $1,000), $17,400; many PSA 8 and PSA 9 T206 "White Border" tobacco cards were offered individually, including Niles and Phillippe, each graded MINT 9 by PSA (reserve $500 each), selling for record-setting prices of $8,700 and $11,020 respectively; a newly discovered 1910 Darby Chocolates box with Ty Cobb (reserve $500) sold for an unprecedented $18,560; a lot of two 1911-1914 D304 Martens Bakery cards (reserve $500) also rewrote the price guide, selling for over forty times the opening bid at $20,880; a collection of 8 T202 Hassan "Triple-Folders," sold for an incredible $34,800, over five times the prices listed in the SMR price guide (all 350 T202s in the auction were extremely strong); 1914 Cracker Jack #88 Christy Mathewson graded VG-EX 4 by PSA (reserve $5,000) sold for $40,600, a record price in this grade; 1914 Boston Garter of Christy Mathewson (reserve $2,000) sold for $34,800 (setting a record by many times for any 1914 Boston Garter ever sold); 1921 Caramel Babe Ruth graded NM 7 by PSA (reserve $5,000) sold for a record $23,200. Additional highlights include: 1952 Topps complete set (reserve $5,000), $40,600; 1953 Topps complete set (reserve $2,000), $26,100; 1955 Topps complete set (reserve $1,000), $19,720; 1925 Giants team-signed ball including Christy Mathewson (reserve $4,000), $20,880; 1961 New York Yankees signed team ball (reserve $5,000), $13,920; 1874 Philadelphia Athletics Team Cabinet (reserve $1,000) sold for an astounding $43,500, setting a new record for an 1870s baseball team cabinet card. The 1889 Spalding World Tour photograph (reserve $1,000) sold for a record $19,720; an 1887 N172 Old Judge of Cap Anson graded NM-MT 8 by PSA (reserve $5,000) sold for $31,900, a record for this important and classic nineteenth century card.
The Pretty Pocket Book, by John Newberry, published in 1787, of great historic significance as it is the first known appearance in print of the word "Base-ball" (reserve $5,000,) sold for a record price of $22,040; Douglas Tilden limited-edition bronze recast (reserve $2,000) realized $18,560; 1866 Trophy Baseball memorializing a game between the Unions of Morrisani and the Una Club of Mt. Vernon (reserve $2,000), $23,200; a rare set of nineteenth century fingerless baseball gloves saved by the family of the original owner (reserve $1,500) sold for $20,880, a record price at auction for an example of this type of early baseball equipment; an imperial cabinet card of Mike "King" Kelly, one of the most popular stars of the nineteenth century (reserve $2,500) sold for $46,400, setting an auction record for an imperial baseball cabinet photograph. A framed 1920 Boston American newspaper with the headline "Ruth Signs With Yankees" (reserve $300) set a record for a twentieth-century newspaper of any kind (including the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" newspaper generally regarded as previously having this distinction), selling for $12,760.
An extraordinary collection of twelve rare circa 1915 baseball advertising pinbacks, issued by Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods of Kansas City, were very recently discovered by a noncollector who fortunately consigned them to Robert Edward Auctions. With a reserve of reserve $20,000, the find of twelve pins sold for $81,200. Additional highlights include: 1937 Rock-Ola World Series arcade game (reserve $10,000), $31,900; circa 1910 Reach tin advertising sign (reserve $4,000) sold for $31,900, a record price for tin Reach signs; 1950s Yogi Berra game-used catchers mask (reserve $2,500), $17,400; 1968 Al Kaline Detroit Tigers game-used jersey (reserve $5,000), $23,200; 1979 Thurman Munson's last New York Yankees pinstripe uniform (reserve $5,000), $31,900; 1921-1930 Rogers Hornsby signed game-used bat (reserve $10,000), $22,040; 1943-1949 Joe DiMaggio game-used bat (reserve $5,000), $22,040; 1964 Mickey Mantle game-used bat signed by Mantle and Maris (reserve $10,000), $31,900.
The auction also included an impressive selection of Americana, nonsport cards, and original card artwork, all of which sold extremely strong, including: Record prices for a selection of five 1966 Topps Batman card artworks. Each of the five artworks was offered individually with a reserve of $800. Two sold for $9,280 each and one which sold for $9,860, each approximately doubling the price that these modern classics have ever sold for at auction previously. The three 1962 Mars Attacks original artworks (reserve $5,000 each) sold at extremely strong levels, bringing $20,880, $19,740, and $29,000 respectively. The 1940 Gum, Inc. "Superman" complete set of 72 cards, entirely graded by PSA (reserve $2,500), sold for $17,400. The original Peanuts daily comic strip by Charles Schulz (reserve $500) sold for $9,860; the 1956 Bob Dylan handwritten poems saved by a high school friend (reserve $1,000) sold for $12,760; and an 1955 original Elvis Presely concert poster from the date Elvis met Colonel Parker (reserve $10,000) sold for $34,800.
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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Robert Edward Auctions, LLC is a one of the world's leading specialty auction houses, devoted exclusively to the sale of rare baseball cards, memorabilia, and Americana.