The vintage card and memorabilia specialists offered hundreds of prime lots in the sale, with both older and even some modern-issues generating five-figure bidding. The auction closed in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 5 as collectors and investors fought tooth and nail by telephone and internet to win treasures rarely seen on the market.
Once again, the coveted 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card was among the major stars. One of Mantle's most popular and desirable issues from the ultra-tough high number series was offered in PSA 7.5 grade. The card sold for $42,300 including the buyer's premium. Mantle and Babe Ruth items are staples of every MLI auction and this one was no different. Again, high grade Ruth cards attracted a lot of attention with a 1933 Goudey card graded PSA 8 bringing $34,075.
One of the hobby's most rare cards, the 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie, was found among the hundreds of pre-War offerings. Graded a very respectable PSA 6, the Lajoie offered by MLI again brought vintage collectors to the table in droves with the final result settling in at $29,375. That, however, was just the tip of a large iceberg. Bidders flocked to a number of early 20th century cars including a 1909 E102 Honus Wagner, graded PSA 6.5, which sold for $18,149. Another E-series Wagner, the 1915 American Caramel, graded PSA 5, sold for $12, 274.
Ty Cobb cards were ultra-popular when they were placed into cigarette and candy packs so many years ago. They're just as desirable today-albeit much more valuable! Highlighting the Cobb offerings in the sale was a sweet 1909-1911 T206 Sweet Caporal Cobb portrait (green background). The high grade rarity sold for $14,517. A nice 1914 Cracker Jack Cobb was sold to a very happy high bidder for $12,274.
The 1932 US Caramel trading card set includes some Depression era sports icons including golfing legend Bobby Jones. A PSA 8 Jones card from this unique and underrated issue landed at $15,799.
Joe DiMaggio was just a kid in 1936 and the National Chicle "DiMaggio Slams it Home" card is one of the scarcest Joe D offerings in the hobby. MLI was fortunate enough to have one for sale and it attracted significant interest from collectors who appreciated its position in hobby annals, finally selling for $10,143.
Mantle cards. Ruth cards. DiMaggio cards. Hobby rarities. Pre-War beauties. What's missing? How about gem mint modern era vintage cards?
Memory Lane had an unforgettable cache of PSA 10 (gem mint) cards in the Historical Classic Rarities auction, led by a 1967 Topps Tom Seaver rookie card. The impeccable icon from the high number series will easily become the centerpiece of any '67 Topps collection when it arrives at the winning bidder's home. The card sold for an amazing, but understandable high bid of $18,467. It wasn't the only top grade card of its kind in this sale, though. A PSA 9 Seaver rookie brought $3686 in the same auction. Other PSA 10 rarities included a 1956 Topps Luis Aparicio ($10,801) and a 1972 Topps Thurman Munson ($5454).
Two high grade Willie Mays cards from early in the Say Hey Kid's career drew five-figure bidding. A 1952 Topps from the same difficult series as its cousin, Mickey Mantle, the PSA 8 Mays sold for $11,157, while a beautiful 1953 Topps in the same NM/MT grade, brought $13,449.
Modern chase cards don't come any scarcer than 1 of 1 copies and MLI proved once again that it can move these cards too -- and at impressive levels. A 2008 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Babe Ruth Hair Cut Signature 1-1 sold for $12,274. Two cards featuring John F. Kennedy signatures from the 2007 Upper Deck Historic Cuts program were also on the block. One dual cut autograph card featuring the signatures of JFK and Marilyn Monroe fetched $5725 while another featuring the late President and his wife Jackie, went for $3779.
Man can't live by baseball cards alone and Memory Lane usually finds some high-grade vintage cards from other sports to present to its growing list of clients. Perhaps the most coveted 1960s NFL rookie card is the 1965 Topps Joe Namath "tall boy" and MLI offered two in the auction. A PSA 8 sold for $7377 while a '7' fetched $3439. They don't come more popular with basketball collectors than the 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card-except when those cards are signed. One of just 23 autographed by MJ and presented in last year's Upper Deck products, sold for $6622. Vintage hoop collectors found a 1969-70 John Havlicek in PSA 9 to their liking. It reached $3686. Hockey card collectors loved the 1951 Parkhurst Gordie Howe (PSA 8) and drove it to a final realized price of $11,061 before the winner claimed it.
Memory Lane is more than just cards, though. Incredible pieces of baseball history can be found in the pages of its color catalogs several times each year and this auction was no different. Heading up the list of unique baseball memorabilia was a 1971 Willie Mays game-used bat. The authenticated Adirondack model graded a lofty PSA/DNA 10 and sold for $12,274.
Babe Ruth hit his final three home runs as a member of the Boston Braves in 1935. The man who caught one of them and had the Babe sign it-and his program from that day-sold those items last year. This auction was noteworthy, too, as the ticket stub the man saved from that incredible afternoon went on the block. A rare piece of sports immortality, the stub sold for $5795 and could easily be the centerpiece of any Ruth or baseball memorabilia collection. Meanwhile, an amazing official Harwoods National League baseball autographed by both Ruth and Lou Gehrig sold for nearly $8384.
Memory Lane has already begun preparations for its next sale, scheduled for this summer. If you have high quality sports cards and memorabilia, they want to hear from you. No auction house markets your material as well as MLI. With a mailing list of thousands, extensive advertising throughout the hobby and beyond, and appearances at major sports card and memorabilia shows across the country each year, you can be sure your items will achieve the highest value by consigning to Memory Lane Inc. today.