Mikan

(Tustin, CA)-All collectors love a good treasure hunt. There's nothing like locating a hidden gem and adding it to your collection. With Memory Lane Inc's upcoming sports card and memorabilia auction, you won't have to look far to find something truly special.

When its auction kicks off this month, MLI's full-color auction catalog will feature some items never before sold publicly, collections that have taken years to put together and rank among the finest known and some one-of-a-kind rarities that will generate intense interest among sports fans and collectors who appreciate the great history of sports.

Over 1,000 lots will be featured in the December Hidden Treasures Auction thanks in large part to Memory Lane's loyal and ever-growing list of consignors. Some are leaving private collections for the first time.

Among the featured items is a 1948 Bowman George Mikan Rookie Card, graded PSA 10 (Gem Mint). This is the only Mikan rookie ever to reach the coveted and rare "10" grade. Perfect in every respect, the card is nicely centered with razor sharp corners, an improbable surviving example from the first-ever basketball exclusive trading card set dating back over six decades. The card is originally from the famous collection of former Major League pitcher Tom Candiotti.

The bespectacled Mikan was one of the first post-War era superstars of sport, a Hall of Famer in the making when this card was being pulled from bubble gum packs. The minimum bid for what was recently tabbed one of the hobby's top 20 cards of all-time is $50,000.

Also featured in the auction is an amazing run of ten checks, each featuring the signature of a legendary Baseball Hall of Famer and all grading at the "9" or "10" level by PSA/DNA. Included is a super-scarce Christy Mathewson personal check dated just prior to Christmas 1924, the last holiday season Big Six would ever see. His death from tuberculosis in 1925 was a shock to the country considering how just a few years earlier he had been the picture of athleticism in leading the famed New York Giants to World Series victories. The college-educated Matty was exceptionally popular with fans and writers who covered his phenomenal pitching exploits with the artistic prose it deserved. The Mathewson check is a "10"-one of just a handful of his authenticated pieces to reach that plateau-and includes the note included by his widow in response to a collector asking for something-anything-signed by her husband some 20+ years after his death.

Christy Mathewson

The other signed checks in the lot include Honus Wagner (10), Walter Johnson (10), Babe Ruth (10), Hank Aaron (10), Ty Cobb (10), Jackie Robinson (10), Reggie Jackson (9) and Stan Musial (10). When it comes to authenticity there is nothing more concrete than a bank check signed in ink. These are simply among the best autograph examples known of these legendary players.

And yes, the first five members of Baseball's Hall of Fame are all represented in this extraordinary grouping, which will be sold individually.

Every unopened box of sports cards pulled off a shelf by a sports card collector is a 'hidden treasure'. It's why we collect in the first place; to see what's inside the colorful wrapper. Vintage sports card boxes that have survived years of storage are among the most popular and rare items any auction can have. They have survived the temptations of curious card archaeologists and unfailingly create unbridled excitement from bidders who can't resist their allure. Is there a gem mint rookie card hiding inside? Collectors who browse the MLI Hidden Treasures Auction will find an amazing run of unopened boxes including 1954 Bowman, 1955 Bowman, 1955 Topps and 1960 Topps.

Vintage unopened packs can produce the type of cards found in the finest complete baseball card sets. MLI will offer two amazing sets in this sale, both of which are among the best professionally graded collections in existence. A 1959 Topps set that ranks #3 on the PSA Set Registry is offered and it includes a large quantity of '9' (mint) examples. There is also a razor-sharp 1961 Topps graded set, consigned by the same dedicated collector who is now parting with these virtually pristine testaments to the artistic beauty of baseball cards from the bubble gum era.

Another lot sure to generate interest from sports historians is a lot of 30 letters from Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods dating from the 1860s. Peck & Snyder was among the first sports-oriented companies ever to operate in the United States and collectors will recognize the brand as having produced the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings trade card. The 1869 Peck & Snyder card generated headlines last year when MLI sold the one discovered in a California antique and collectibles shop that was featured on the Tonight Show. Written on company letterhead, these documents are relics from the dawn of American sports as a mainstream pastime.

The Memory Lane Hidden Treasures Auction will include the usual array of incredible, high-grade, investment quality vintage sports cards and rare sports memorabilia. The auction catalogs are also available free of charge by mail Bidding will be available online at www.MemoryLaneInc.com and toll-free by phone 877-606-LANE (5263). The full auction catalog will also be available online through Zmag, enabling collectors to browse its pages in virtual fashion.