The only known unused ticket from Major League Baseball's first All-Star Game, played in 1933, sold for $19,136 early Sunday morning in Memory Lane's Summer 2011 Auction. The ticket cost the original buyer who couldn't make it to the game that day $1.65. It carried PSA authentication and began with a $3500 minimum bid when the auction opened earlier this month. The ticket was on display earlier this month at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.
The brainchild of Chicago sportswriter Arch Ward, the All-Star Game has become a mid-summer staple, but it was a relatively novel concept in '33. A Babe Ruth home run propelled the American League to victory on July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park. While stubs from that historic day exist, the sale of a full ticket was a first in the hobby. The price includes a 19% buyer's premium.
"We were very happy with the results overall," said Memory Lane's J.P. Cohen. "Rare pieces or things that are new to the hobby as well as high grade vintage cards are still attracting a lot of bidders."
While the 1933 All-Star Game ticket generated significant buzz, there were other pieces in the auction that brought strong interest from collectors. Memory Lane also offered a newly-discovered unopened pack of 1948 Bowman basketball cards. Carrying five cards and carrying an '8' (NM-MT) grade, the early hoops relic began at $5,000 and soared to a realized price of $16,795.
Thirty-five years ago, a collection of baseball cards surfaced in Wisconsin from the family of a long-time employee of Milprint, the company which printed various regional card issues during the 1950's. Included in that find was a complete, uncirculated set of 1954 Dan-Dee baseball cards. The 29-card set was as pristine as it could be, identifiable as a 'proof' set by the lack of wax coating the cards. Wax was applied in the final stages of printing to keep the cards from being stained by potato chip grease! The proof cards were apparently taken home by the employee and entered the hobby in 1976. Clearly, they appreciated in value. The 1-1 set sold for $19,343 against a $1500 minimum bid.
Mickey Mantle appeared in the Dan-Dee set, but one of his greatest cards ever was the 1953 Bowman color issue. Memory Lane offered a PSA 9 copy, one of the best known. It brought $15,815. Just one card has ever been graded higher.
Buyers do continue to chase high-grade rookie cards as evidenced by the realized prices for several lots in the auction: a 1969 PSA 10 Rollie Fingers went for $8927. The card is one of only five to have been graded Gem Mint by PSA. A 1971 Topps Thurman Munson rookie sold for $8400 at the PSA 9 level and a 1981 Topps PSA 10 Joe Montana, one of the hobby's most iconic cards, soared to $6780.
Other high grade vintage sales included a T206 Cy Young (bare hand-Sweet Caporal) graded PSA 8 which sold for $12,753, a 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente (PSA 10; $7458) and individual cards from a recently broken set of high-grade 1971 Topps that included: Reggie Jackson (PSA 9; $4100); Pete Rose (PSA 9; $4637) and new Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven (PSA 9; $3480). A collection of 1955 Topps All-American football cards, all graded and just 17 short of a complete set, brought $14,560.
The Steve Ross Brooklyn Dodgers collection was featured as well, with dozens of items on the block for the first time. An original Ebbets Field chair from the collection sold for $3085; a 1957 team signed baseball, graded PSA 8.5, sold for $8205, a 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson graded PSA 8, reached $9900 and a 1952 Berk Ross Pee Wee Reese graded PSA 9, will land in the lap of a new owner for $3772.
Other items sold included a 1927 New York Yankees scorecard autographed by both Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazerri, Dutch Ruether and Joe Giard, one of the toughest autographs from that famous team. The signed scorecard relic from a memorable day at the ballpark some 84 years ago sold for $7700.
Memory Lane is now accepting consignments for its upcoming I Own It Now sale, which is scheduled for the end of September. The deadline for including your items in the catalog is Monday, August 29. The company is also taking consignments for its final catalog auction of 2011, scheduled for late this fall. To discuss consignments or add your name to register for upcoming events, contact Memory Lane at (877) 606-5263 or visit the company's website (http://www.memorylaneinc.com).