Watchung, New Jersey. The strength of the high-end baseball card and memorabilia market amazed collectors at Robert Edward's record-setting May 7, 2011 auction. An astounding 179 lots sold for $10,000 or more. Collectors, dealers, and market watchers look to REA's annual event as the key barometer of the health of the market and the most important auction event of the year. According to REA president Robert Lifson, "The market was extremely strong. If everything went perfect we were expecting the total to be maybe $7 million to $8 million. The results came in at $9.5 million. That about says it all." The secret? "Great material, care in cataloguing, the biggest circulation, extensive research and authentication, the well-deserved confidence of buyers, and an emphasis on the integrity of the auction process. It's a powerful combination." By any measure, this was one of the most successful auctions in the history of collecting. "It was also the smoothest running auction in all respects, including collecting the money. You'd think that there would be a few delays here and there in collecting money and getting it in the hands of consignors when you're talking about $9.5 million dollars. There weren't. That's another extremely strong area for REA. All consignors were paid in full, 100 cents on the dollar with no adjustments due to nonpaying bidders, and in record time. That's the standard we strive for and achieve at REA when it comes to paying consignors. Perfection. Consignors really appreciate getting paid 100 cents on the dollar."
The stunning prices on all nineteenth and early twentieth century baseball cards and memorabilia precisely totaled a staggering $9.532 million dollars across 1743 lots. The average lot sold for $5,472. The Lou Gehrig jersey and the Lou Gehrig bat selling for $329,000 and $176,250 respectively - both records for these items- paced the memorabilia offerings. The bat was a personal gift from Gehrig to his neighbor. "This was the best Gehrig bat we've ever seen. Because of the provenance, it doesn't get any better." The bat last sold at auction eleven years ago for $50,000. "That was a record price in 2000, and $176,250 is a record price in 2011. It may be a long time before we see this bat again. When we do, my guess is it will be a lot higher still. This is an incredible bat." The bat was not the only Gehrig item of special note in the auction. "The Lou Gehrig jersey was also particularly exciting. It had previously sold so recently - just two years ago - for $240,000, and usually when unique big-ticket items are offered again so soon they sell for a lot less. That's to be expected. It's the nature of markets and collectibles. Add to this the fact that the jersey was reevaluated and graded at a lower level in the current auction than its 2009 sale elsewhere, in addition to attempts by adversaries to create additional controversy - trying to put a negative spin on our authentication analysis and even questioning the authenticity of the jersey itself - and it wouldn't have been surprising if it sold for a significant discount. The consignor certainly expected to take a big hit. But that's not what happened! REA's online presentation and analysis of photographs of Gehrig - photos in which he is wearing this very jersey - really made a difference. People could see for themselves this was really Gehrig's jersey and he was wearing it. Instead of selling for less than in 2009 elsewhere, the jersey sold for $89,000 more at REA in 2011. And this was with the jersey graded a "7" instead of a "9" (on a scale of "1 to 10" primarily for condition)!"
Vintage Cards Prices Soar At REA: REA is first and foremost a baseball card auction, so it is not surprising that the big money, as usual, was in the cards: The T206 Wagner (reserve $25,000) proved once again that it can always be counted on to sell for well into six figures in any grade. In this case, a restored example sold for $188,000. And not just the T206 Wagner but all things related to the famous T206 set were very strong. The T206 Eddie Plank in Very Good to Excellent condition (reserve $10,000; estimate $25,000+) sold for $94,000, a new record price for the grade. T206 Magie Error cards in VG and VG-EX condition realized $17,625 and $23,500 respectively. Even a second T206 Plank, heavily trimmed and encapsulated as "Authentic", sold for a remarkable $41,125. "Interest in this card was helped by its rare back. Almost all Planks have Sweet Caporal backs. The Piedmont back made this example very special. For T206 collectors, especially as interest in backs is growing like wildfire, this card is a big deal in any grade. It also happened to be a nice looking card. The bigger message is simply that while we've always known that interest in all things related to the T206 set is huge, it's growing!" REA speculates that the unusual cut of the trimmed Plank may actually be related to the rarity of the card. "All of the few known Planks with Piedmont backs appear to have unusual cuts." The offering of an extremely rare T206 Brown Lennox back example, missing from virtually all advanced collections, did not go unnoticed. "This was the first example we have ever offered, let alone in Excellent condition," notes REA president Robert Lifson. "We had no idea what to expect." Neither did anyone else. With a reserve of $1,000 and an estimate of "open" (indicating that not enough historical pricing information was available to allow REA to provide a meaningful estimate), a frenzy of bidding sent this extreme T206 rarity to the stratosphere with a final selling price of $29,375. "The buyer's still recovering. But we think he'll be OK. Seriously, the buyer has no regrets and is very happy. We can understand why. In forty years, this is the only Brown Lenox example we have ever even seen, let alone offered; it is the highest grade example known; and no T206 advertising back collection is complete without one. The price may seem crazy but that's what they said about Wagners and Planks and Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb backs years ago. Anything related to the T206 set will always be important. It may be another 40 years before we see another."
The T210 Old Mill of Joe Jackson (reserve $25,000; est. $50,000+), which has been gaining in stature for years, crushed all previous sales, setting a new all-time record auction selling price at $200,000. A 1933 Goudey #106 Nap Lajoie (PSA 8 NM-MT), universally recognized as one of card collecting's most desirable rarities, realized $52,875. This very card had been purchased by the consignor just months earlier (November 2010) at auction elsewhere for $43,880. "He may have just gotten a good buy," notes REA president Robert Lifson, "but for such a high profile card to sell for over 20% more in such a short time, this suggests that the market may just be getting stronger, especially for the most classic marquee cards. Consignors across the board were very happy but it's naturally a very tall order to surprise them with stronger-than-expected results on big ticket items that have sold so recently elsewhere"
The 1886 Kalamazoo Bats of Jim O'Rourke had not seen the light of day since it was purchased by the consignor in 1991 for $6,050 at the famous Jim Copeland Sotheby's auction. It realized $58,750, setting an all-time record price for this classic nineteenth-century card. "Interesting background story on this card" notes REA's Robert Lifson. "The consignor was not a nineteenth-century card collector. He was a Mickey Mantle collector. When he consigned his cards to REA, he pulled this card out and we were very surprised. We asked how it came to be that he had this incredible card? He explained that in 1991 he wandered into the preview of the Copeland auction at Sotheby's in New York. He happened to see this card, liked it, and on a lark decided to buy it at the auction." He had never bought a pre-1900 card before or since and it sat in a drawer with his original receipt for the next twenty years. Lifson adds, "He was very pleased with the auction result."
Additional extraordinary highlights: Jake Daubert's 1919 Cincinnati Reds World Series championship pin consigned directly from Jake Daubert's granddaughter sold for an astounding $94,000. The only other 1919 World Series championship pin known to exist in private hands that has ever been auctioned was the one presented to third baseman Heinie Groh. His family sold his award decades ago. Like many of the baseball-collecting world's greatest treasures, it wound up in the legendary Barry Halper Collection. Buried in a mountain of rare and valuable items in the 1999 Barry Halper Collection auction conducted by Sotheby's, it sold for $17,250 at that time.
A newly-discovered E90-1 American Caramel card of Joe Jackson, found in a small collection consigned by a non-collector, sold for an impressive $32,312. An extraordinary near-complete set of 1910 T210 Old Mill tobacco cards was broken into nine lots and realized $107,512. The most comprehensive collection of Zeenut PCL candy cards that REA has ever offered was presented in forty lots and realized an astounding total of $232,297. The complete set run 1909-1911 Obak Tobacco cards, offered by set, also set auction records, selling for a total of $79,125. "These were special sets, by far the best we've ever seen" notes REA's Lifson. "Because of their strong condition, they deserved to set records. These came from the collection of legendary pioneer collector Jack Pollard, one of the all time greats in the field. I have no idea where he got them but it was great to see that all three sets were won by the same person and will remain together."
A newly-discovered variation of the 1889 E.R. Williams playing card set (res. $5,000) generated a tremendous amount of bidder interest. Collectors recognized its significance, rarity, and the fact that it is unlikely that another set will ever surface. The set surfaced for the first time at another auction in November 2010 and was purchased by REA's consignor for $10,000. Consigned to REA, it soared to $70,500. Lifson comments: "We knew the consignor got a great deal but we're only talking about it selling for $10,000 a few months earlier. It was obviously overlooked when it first came up, and I think we made an impressive presentation of explaining the enormous significance of the set that obviously resonated with collectors. Our consignor was thrilled. He says he owes us dinner. But we think the buyer did pretty well too. The cards really are that special. It was exciting to present all the information on the set in the ideal way and see that the most advanced collectors in the field agree and respond. Results like this, when we can shine a light on the great significance of items that have been or might be overlooked, and help their true value be realized, that's when we know we've done our job right. We've earned our keep. We're taking the dinner!"
The Louisiana Find: One of the most exciting vintage card finds in modern times was represented by "The Louisiana Find". When this collection of 1910 era tobacco cards from a noncollecting Louisiana family "walked in" to the Full Count Vintage Baseball Card Forum, it nearly caused a riot, and with good reason. Even though there were only 94 cards, all were rarities. Most important, the collection was highlighted by eight T207 Brown Background cards with Red Cross tobacco advertising backs, which all alone would qualify the collection for legendary status. Previous to this find, a total of only five examples were known to exist. Reminiscent of perhaps the greatest "cyberfind" of all time, Net54 Vintage Card message forum's "Skydash" find of Colgan's Chips including Joe Jackson and Jim Thorpe in 2007, "The Louisiana Find" was a small but very significant offering that was also an exciting drama for serious hobbyists to watch unfold. The importance of the small collection generated much speculation about its final selling price. Key rarity highlight T207 Lowdermilk with Red Cross back all alone sold for $21,150. The 94 cards sold for a total of $86,715.
Additional highlights: An extremely high grade 1948-1949 Leaf set was broken up by condition into seven lots and sold for an astounding $103,870, including $29,375 for the classic key card #8 Satchel Paige (PSA NM 7). An extraordinarily high grade 1954 Stahl-Meyer Meats card of Mickey Mantle (graded PSA 7 NM) generated tremendous interest and sold for a well-deserved record price for this modern classic at $23,500. The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is a classic that collectors aggressively bid on in every grade. Two EX+ 1952 Topps #311 Mantle examples realized $16,450 and $22,325 respectively (the higher selling example was cited by REA as being a particularly strong example for the grade) and a PSA 7 NM example sold for $32,312, all exceptional prices but at the same time illustrating the enormous impact of condition on value on this iconic card in even a fairly tight condition range. All high-grade complete sets sold very strongly. Examples include: 1952 Topps ranging from Vg-Ex to Nr/Mt (res. $10,000) sold for $44,062; 1956 Topps Complete PSA-Graded Set (8.03 GPA): #12 PSA Registry Set (reserve $10,000, estimate $20,000/30,000+) realized $44,062; and the 1968 Topps Complete PSA-Graded Set (9.26 GPA): #3 PSA Registry sold for $38,187. Additional significant auction highlights: A 1933 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth in NM-MT condition (res. $5,000; est. $10,000/$20,000) realized $21,150. The always popular 1933 Sport Kings #2 Babe Ruth in NM condition (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) sold for $9,400. Several 24-card 1933 Goudey uncut sheets were offered including one featuring the #181 Babe Ruth card (res. $5,000) that realized $23,500 and a 1933 Canadian Goudey "Triple Ruth" sheet (res. $10,000) that sold for $32,312. Two 1934 Goudey uncut sheets with Lou Gehrig, one featuring the twenty-four cards numbered from #25 to #48, the other featuring cards numbered from #49 to #72 (each with a reserve of $5,000) realized $18,800 and $32,312 respectively. The 1940 Play Ball: #2 PSA Registry Set (res. $10,000; est. $20,000/$40,000), by far the highest grade set of this classic gum card issue ever seen or offered by REA, sold for $44,062.
REA Statistics: Record prices were set on countless items, both in cards and memorabilia, and spanning all eras. The 1743 lots, offered on behalf of 317 different consignors, were won by an incredible 648 different bidders, illustrating the power of the marketing and auction process, and the breadth of bidder interest. Successful bidders included some of the nation's most prestigious museums, universities, and corporate institutional collections, as well as representatives from numerous Major League teams. "All areas of the auction received a tremendous response and very strong prices. Nineteenth-century baseball items were unbelievable, as always, as were all early baseball cards, advertising and display pieces, graded cards, Babe Ruth items, autographs, memorabilia, non-sport cards and artwork." Thousands of bidders from all over the world participated. Exactly 25,638 bids were placed and more than 99% of the lots sold (all but two). The average lot sold for $5,472 and on average realized more than double the high-end estimate.
Additional Auction Highlights:
Nineteenth-century cards and memorabilia were extremely strong, setting record after record, as is always the case at REA. The newly-discovered 1876 Hartford Blues CDV team card with Candy Cummings (purchased by the consignor at a local auction for just a few hundred dollars before being consigned to the REA auction) sold for an incredible $18,800. The 1886 Kalamazoo Bats New York Mets portrait card of Jim Donahue in VG condition sold for an extremely impressive $8,812, setting an auction record for this rarity (for an auction that did not involve shill bidding by the owner of the card against a "secret" left upto bid). An even higher grade Kalamazoo Bats New York Mets player portrait card of Jack Lynch in Excellent condition realized a record $15,275. The N690 Kalamazoo Bats New York player portrait card of Hall of Famer Roger Connor naturally sold for even more. In Good condition, this gem sold for an incredible record $44,062 (more than twice the previous high auction price realized for a different example of this card set elsewhere at $21,510 in November 2010).
An extraordinary 1859 Unions vs Excelsiors Trophy ball (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) - one of the earliest ever seen - soared to $23,500. An N173 1888 Old Judge cabinet card of Hall of Famer Buck Ewing in EX-NR/MT condition (res. $1,500; est. $3,000-$5,000), saved in the family of a noncollector who had no idea of its great value, was hammered down for a record $17,625. An N173 1888 Old Judge cabinet card of Hall of Famer Mike "King" Kelly from the very same collection (res. $2,000; est. $4,000/$6,000) sold for an equally impressive $16,450. The small N172 1886-1888 Old Judge cards offered also generated extremely spirited bidding: High grade examples of Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty (res. $1,000; est. $2,000/$4,000) and Charles Comiskey (res. $1,000; est. $2,000/$3,000) realized $8,225 and $7,050 respectively, while a NM-MT N172 Old Judge example of Mickey Welch (res. $2,500) soared to $11,750. An N300 1895 Mayo's Cut Plug tobacco card of Hall of Famer Kid Nichols in NM-MT condition (res. $5,000) realized $16,450.
A very unusual 1866 Team Cabinet Photo featuring the Washington and Brooklyn Teams with Henry Chadwick (res. $2,500) was purchased by REA's consignor at another auction in August 2006 for $7,375. Additional research by REA, a different audience at REA, and perhaps a different marketplace, resulted in a well-deserved final selling price of $21,150, approximately three times its previous auction selling price. Robert Edward Auctions is a magnet for previously unoffered items. The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV (res. $5,000) was another exciting noncollector family find presented in the auction. Fortunately saved for decades in a drawer, this gem was highly prized by advanced collectors, as expected, and sold for $32,312. An 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings trade card featuring an advertisement on the reverse for Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods was another extremely significant highlight. One of card collecting's all-time classics, this example realized $35,250. A small but exciting newly-discovered collection of 1887-1889 N172 Old Judges, consisting of 69 cards with minor back damage, once again illustrated that technical grades take a distant back seat among sophisticated collectors in valuing classic nineteenth-century baseball cards. With a reserve of $2,500 and an estimate of $5,000+, the lot soared in late bidding to $26,437.
Autographs: One of the best of the few Joe Jackson signed documents in existence (res. $25,000) sold for a record $64,625. The 1916 signed voucher, which resembles a check, was especially noteworthy for its impeccable provenance, originating 20+ years ago directly from Joe Jackson's sister, Gertrude. A rarely seen autographed 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, saved by REA's consignor as a youngster in 1952 and personally signed for him years later with the autograph grading a "10" by PSA/DNA (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+), realized $22,325. A strong selection of signed baseballs included: An exceptional Jimmy Foxx single-signed ball (res. $2,500) sold for $26,747. A 1939 Babe Ruth single on a "Home Run Special" baseball (res. $4,000; est. $8,000+) had been saved by the original owner since childhood, the family almost sold outright to a dealer at the National Convention for $9,000 but decided to take their chances at auction. They were glad they did. The ball sold for $16,450. An ideal 1955 Dodgers ball realized an amazing $21,150. REA officials note: "The very best single and team-signed balls consistently bring incredible prices. With team balls, the difference in value between an ideal example and one with a few signatures missing or with even a single clubhouse signature can be enormous. Ideal examples are few and far between but when offered clearly bring a tremendous premium." Nowhere can this be seen more strongly than the simply astounding auction result of the extraordinary high-grade 1977 Yankees team-signed ball with 34 signatures. Offered as Lot #1128 with a reserve of $200 and an estimate of $500+, this 1977 Yankees team ball sold for an astonishing $22,325, setting a record not just for a team signed ball dating from the 1970s but for any post-1961 team-signed ball as well. "It wasn't just two crazy bidders going back and forth," note REA auction officials. "The top three bids were by three different very advanced collectors."
Game-Used Bats: A 1921-1928 Ty Cobb bat (res. $5,000) realized $38,187; a 1925-1931 Babe Ruth bat (res. $5,000) sold for $32,312; a particularly outstanding 1966 Mickey Mantle bat with provenance that had not previously been seen in the marketplace (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) was hotly contested, finally being hammered down at $35,250. Two 1955-1960 Ted Williams bats realized $21,150 and $23,500 respectively. A game-used 1938 Hank Greenberg bat by far set a new record at $22,325. The last 1938-era Hank Greenberg bat to hit the market, for comparison, was sold at auction elsewhere in November 2010 at $7,767. To paraphrase his famous quote about a popular restaurant ("No one eats there anymore. It's too crowded."), Yogi Berra might say about the next bat: "No one bids at auctions anymore. The prices are just too high." His 1951 All-Star bat sold for a remarkable record $32,312, smashing all previous Berra bat sales, tripling the previous highest auction price. We can practically hear Yogi saying "I always thought that record would stand until it was broken." Yogi might be correct on this one for a while at least. It may be a long time before this record is broken.
Baseball Contracts: The most advanced collection of Major League contracts of Hall of Famers to ever come to auction was a significant highlight. In total, the collection realized $196,225. Christy Mathewson's 1902 contract (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) sold for $41,125. Other highlights included contracts of nineteenth-century Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke (res. $5,000) which sold for $17,625; and Rogers Hornsby's 1921 contract (res. $1,000; $2,000/$4,000) was hammered down at $10,575. Whitey Ford's 1950 rookie contract (res. $1,000; est. $2,500+) and Roberto Clemente's for the 1962 season (res. $2,500) sold for $9,400 and $14,100 respectively.
Game-Used Jerseys: Minor League jerseys don't usually sell for big money, but the auction proved there can be exceptions: Willie Mays' 1951 Minneapolis Millers Home jersey (res. $10,000; est. $25,000+) sold for $44,062. This jersey dates from the dawn of Mays' career and its enormous historical significance could not be overstated. As the REA catalog description notes, "Mays was one of the most important pioneers in the integration of the Major Leagues, one of the few great stars chosen to bridge the gap between the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues, in the process experiencing great hardship but paving the way for his own great career and that of the others who followed." Other significant jerseys included: 1963 Harman Killebrew Minnesota Twins Game-Used Road Jersey (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) which soared to a final selling price of $22,325; and from the modern era a 2006 Derek Jeter New York Yankees signed game-used road jersey with Steiner Sports provenance (res. $2,500) which sold for $9,987. "With good reason, collectors are rarely comfortable spending big money on modern jerseys. There are so many fakes. But the Steiner provenance made all the difference on the Jeter jersey," note REA officials. "Collectors know that Steiner performs an incredible service. The Steiner name is gold. Derek Jeter really wore this jersey."
Additional Vintage Card highlights: An extremely impressive near-complete collection of T209 Contentnea Cigarette cards near-set (reserve $10,000) sold for $44,062. A collection of 35 1927 York Caramel cards (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) consigned by a noncollector sold for an amazing $22,325. A rare T204 Ramly Tobacco "square border" variation card of Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett in VG-EX condition was the highlight of yet another noncollector family's keepsakes (res. $2,500), and sold for $15,275. A 1911 D304 Brunners Bread set in various grades also sold for $22,325, while a high-grade Frank Baker card with a rare Martens Bakery back from the same set sold for $8,225 all alone. A T206 Cobb Green Background in Ex-Mt condition (res. $1,500; est. $3,000/$5,000) realized $10,575; a T206 of common player Francis Pfeffer graded NM-MT 8 by PSA with an SMR value of $865 (res. $300; est. $500+), sold for $3,525; a T206 of Clark Griffith with a rare Drum Cigarettes advertising reverse (res. $1,000; est. $2,000+) sold for $12,925; a T206 Red Background portrait of Cobb in PSA 8 NM-MT condition (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) was hammered down at $18,800. The 50-card T201 Mecca Double Folders set (res. $10,000, est. $20,000/$30,000), all graded and encapsulated by PSA and with an average grade 7.77, sold for an impressive $44,062. A collection of 1915 Cracker Jack cards that were saved by the family of the original owner were especially appreciated by bidders, in part for their original owner provenance. The 154 cards, almost all in Vg to Vg-Ex condition, were presented in six lots. The family investigated the value of the cards in 1975. At the time they were worth $1,300 and they decided to hold off selling. The REA auction proved this was a wise decision. The 154 cards realized a total of $41,947. Cracker Jack cards in higher grades can sell for considerably more, of course: a 1915 Cracker Jack of Ty Cobb in Near Mint to Mint condition (res. $5,000; est. $10,000/$15,000+) all alone realized $21,150. A 1910 era scrapbook saved for 100 years and including an E90-1 American Caramel rookie card of Joe Jackson was offered by the family of the original collector. They were shocked to learn the album had tremendous value. With a reserve of $2,500 the album generated enormous interest and exceeded all expectations, finally selling for an extraordinary $35,250.
More Memorabilia Highlights: The only known complete set of five giant 1928 Lucky Strike tobacco large-format advertising signs featuring baseball players was a very significant highlight. These signs were miraculously unearthed during a house renovation in Walla Walla, Washington, where they had been serving as insulation within one of the walls of the house being renovated. They sold for $35,250. Not bad for insulation! A panoramic photograph capturing the members of the Kansas City Monarchs, champions of the Negro National League, and the Hilldale Daisies, champions of the Eastern Colored League, posing at the 1924 Negro League World Series was offered with a reserve of $2,500. This extraordinary image sold for a record $29,375. A magnificently decorated baseball personally used by pitching legend Christy Mathewson on October 3, 1904 in a game at the Polo Grounds in which Mathewson made baseball history by striking out a then-record sixteen batters had been prized family keepsake of the Campell family for 107 years. In 2011 the Campbell family decided the ball might be more at home in the hands of a serious collector and proceeded to investigate where to best sell this type of item. They finally decided to send it to auction at REA. Nothing could have prepared them for the enthusiastic reception this exciting and unique relic would elicit. With a reserve of $2,000, this treasure from the deadball era sold for $44,625.
A rarely seen 1918 World Series program (res. $2,500), another recently discovered gem, realized a record $23,500. The 1914 Boston "Miracle" Braves World Series ring of Hall of Famer Johnny Evers, of all the more special note having been consigned directly by the Evers family, realized $52,875. The Harry S. Truman signed Ceremonial First-Pitch Baseball to open the 1950 season, originating from the personal collection of the Senators' Eddie Robinson and including photos of Robinson posing with the President and the ball, was another tremendous memorabilia highlight. The bidding started at $2,000. When the dust cleared, the final selling price was $29,375.
Other sports and Non-Sports:
The auction also included an impressive selection of items from other sports, Americana, nonsport cards, and original card artwork, all of which sold extremely strong, including: The #3 PSA Registry set of 1955 Topps All-American was presented in six lots and realized an extraordinary total of $43,357. The 1948 Leaf Boxing "master set" (98 cards, including both gray and white back variations) sold for an impressive $12,925. But even more incredible was the discovery and offering from the same collection of the 1948 Leaf #50 Rocky Graziano, boxing card collecting's most legendary rarity. Billed as "the 1948 Leaf Graziano that fell from the sky", the consignor was the family of one of card collecting's great pioneers (who passed away in 2009). They did not realize they had this card. They weren't supposed to. REA didn't realize they had the card either. Until REA cataloguers were shocked to find this card mixed in with in the common cards in the 1948 Leaf Boxing master set! With a reserve of $5,000 and an estimate of $10,000/$15,000, "the 1948 Leaf Graziano that fell from the sky" sold for an auction record $41,125. Similarly, an unopened box of 1956 Topps football cello cards was unexpectedly found mixed in among the baseball items in the estate of announcer Ron Menchine, legendary collector, historian, and last voice of the Washington Senators before moving to Texas after the 1971 season. Ron saved everything since he began collecting in the 1950s and had apparently bought this box in 1956 and just put it aside. The original cost was $3.60. The unopened box sold for $29,375.
The Jack Zugay Collection of Vintage Golf Cards, representing the finest collection of vintage golf trading cards to ever come to auction, included ten PSA #1 Registry sets and was presented in 25 lots. All 600+ cards in the Jack Zugay Collection were graded by PSA and included were many of the highest grade sets and singles known to exist. For golf card collectors, this was a very special and highly anticipated event, a fact that is easily seen in the final results: The 25 lots sold for an extraordinary total of $127,781, representing a remarkable average selling price of over $5,000 per lot.
The #1 PSA Registry set of 1971 Topps Football (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) sold for an extraordinary $22,325. An exceptionally high-grade 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey complete set minus one card (res. $10,000, est. $20,000+) sold for a remarkable $44,062. The original artwork to card #34 "Terror in the Railroad" in the 1963 Topps Mars Attacks set sold for $11,750, and the artworks to cards #7 "Destroying A Bridge" and #22 "Burning Cattle" were also offered and sold for $11,162 and $10,575 respectively (each with a reserve of $5,000). Even the display box for Mars Attacks cards sold for big money: with a reserve of $1,000, the box is not just a rarity but clearly a favorite with advanced nonsport collectors, selling for a remarkable $11,625. The 1940 Superman Gum, Inc. high numbers (#49-72) uncut sheet (res. $5,000) was another significant nonsport highlight. This sheet was purchased by the consignor in 1976, along with a second Superman sheet and a Lone Ranger sheet (sold last year in REA's spring 2010 sale), for the total then-princely sum of $300, after hearing that they surfaced at an early Philadelphia card convention and tracking down the buyer. Ironically, the person he purchased the sheets was future REA president Robert Lifson, who was literally a kid at the time, reaching him by phone to do a deal (after school, of course). The one high-numbers Superman sheet all alone sold for $22,325.
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
Copies of the 750-page full-color premium catalog are also still available free. Go to www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com click "Free Catalog," and fill in your name and address. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling its next sale. For further information contact: Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ or call (908)-226-9900.