Tustin, CA - Spring training is underway and the timing couldn't be better for fans and collectors anxious not only to dive into a new season, but also to celebrate the greats of the past. The game's history plays out in its vintage baseball cards and memorabilia, and Memory Lane stokes the passion for all of us with a mind-blowing array of items in its upcoming catalog auction. History oozes from the pages of the much-anticipated color catalog, available free of charge.
Just weeks after it catapulted the hobby into the national spotlight with the $75,000 sale of the widely publicized 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings card, Memory Lane returns to the spotlight with hundreds of high quality, rare items up for grabs including a 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card.
The Ruth rookie actually dates from his days as a minor leaguer and was part of a regional set issued just prior to the Babe's ascent into the majors. Next to the famous T206 Honus Wagner, the Baltimore News Ruth is perhaps the most important card in the hobby.
A few have entered the marketplace in recent years, creating a buzz among baseball fans and collectors with demand for them far surpassing the miniscule supply. Graded a PSA 2, the blue-bordered beauty is one of what is believed to be no more than a dozen in existence. The card has tremendous eye appeal with nearly perfect centering. Much like the Peck & Snyder, the Ruth rookie is an oversized promotional piece that includes the team's schedule on the back and was distributed to newspaper readers in the Baltimore area.
It was in this general time period that the Babe was tagged with his "Bambino" nickname, and no card offers a more significant snapshot of a player who was just a few short years from becoming not just a Hall of Famer, but an international sports icon. A pitching prospect in '14, he proved to be much more.
If the Babe bats cleanup in this auction, collectors can have their pick to fill out the rest of a star-studded lineup. Those who mine auctions and card shows for the finest rookie cards in the world to add to their collection or purchase for investment have hit the mother lode with this sale. The list of PSA Gem Mint 10 rookie cards is simply staggering. There is a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie, the only card ever to attain the lofty '10' grade. There's also a 1967 Topps Tom Seaver rookie that should prove popular as the Mets honor the 40th anniversary of the '69 World Series title delivered in large part by Tom Terrific's arm. There is also a 1972 Topps Carlton Fisk and a 1968 Topps Johnny Bench, both graded PSA 10. Other rookies include a 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson, a 1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky, and a 1968 Ryan, all graded PSA 9.
Overall, the auction is a roll call of some of the greatest vintage baseball cards the hobby has ever known: A 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 7.5, 1933 Goudey Ruth #149 PSA 8, 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie PSA 6, and a 1932 U.S. Caramel Bobby Jones PSA 8 are all up for auction.
Pre-War baseball card collectors will again sift through an array of great cards from decades ago. A brother of the Peck & Snyder Red Stockings hits the block when Memory Lane brings out an 1870 P&S New York Mutuals card. With the publicity over the Red Stockings card, it's likely this one will draw increased attention.
In addition, Memory Lane is offering a 1904 WG2 Fan Craze American League complete graded set, a T205 Gold Border Ty Cobb (PSA 6), plus a T206 Sweet Caporal Cobb portrait (PSA 6.5) and numerous Honus Wagner cards including a 1909 E102 (PSA 6.5). There are a host of 1909 E92 Croft's Candy cards including Christy Mathewson, Sam Crawford and Joe Tinker (PSA 7) and a very impressive run of 1910 E93 Standard Caramel cards that will transport the buyer to Cooperstown with its roster of stars like Wagner, Mathewson, Cobb, Cy Young, Collins, Lajoie, Plank, McGraw, Tinker, Evers and Chance among others. This underrated set is brimming with a who's who in baseball from 99 years ago.
In addition to the rookie card cache, the post-War selection is stocked with great cards like the 1952 and 1953 Topps Willie Mays (each PSA 8), a PSA 10 1956 Topps Luis Aparicio, some PSA 9-graded Mantles including 1962 and '69 Topps versions. There is a complete set of 1954 Red Heart dog food cards, all PSA-graded beauties, plus a Mantle card from that same set, graded PSA 9.
Memory Lane always offers some historic memorabilia to go with the vintage cardboard and this auction is no exception. Sports collectors will gravitate toward a Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig dual-signed ball authenticated by PSA/DNA. There is a 1915 Boston Red Sox World Champions News Service photo of a rookie pitcher named Babe Ruth. The late Roberto Clemente is represented with his 1965-66 Puerto Rican League contract, adorned with the PSA/DNA authenticated signature of the great star.
As with every MLI sale, you will also find some historic items that go beyond the realm of sports. Some lots will be the envy of some museums such as the group of 20 presidential-endorsed cancelled checks (all PSA/DNA encapsulated and authenticated). Names like Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, Roosevelt and others dating back to the early and mid-19th century are included in this special lot. There is also a 1-of-1 2008 Upper Deck Signs of History Quad Auto card that offers a nod to Mount Rushmore with the autographs of Lincoln, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington.
Bidding will begin March 14th with the auction set to close on Saturday, April 4-which just happens to coincide with the first weekend of the 2009 Major League Baseball season.
Does life get any better?