TUSTIN, CA Everyone knows what they look like but you're not likely to find one in your local card shop. They don't even show up in major auctions that often and newly discovered examples aren't exactly entering the marketplace on a regular basis.
The T206 Honus Wagner remains the hobby's signature card; ultra scarce, highly sought after and over time, usually a pretty good investment, too. Collectors will have a chance to chase down the elusive Wagner card when Memory Lane opens its 'Holy Grail Auction' this spring. The company is offering a PSA 2 (Good) example of the most famous trading card of all-time as part of its first major catalog event of 2012. The starting bid on the Wagner card will be $550,000.
T206 collectors will tell you that the Eddie Plank card from that same set is often just as difficult to find as the Wagner. Memory Lane will offer a clean PSA 4 example of the Plank card in the auction, which is set to open April 21 and close May 5. The starting bid will be $50,000.
There are numerous other cards in the auction that are staples on the want lists of advanced collectors. An extremely rare W600 Sporting Life Christy Mathewson in uniform (PSA 3) will be up for bid-another very rare card from the early 20th century.
For collectors of vintage hockey cards, a high end example of the 1966-67 Topps USA Test Bobby Orr would certainly fall into the 'holy grail' category. MLI will offer an impeccable near mint plus example.
Collectors of post-War era baseball cards will find a copy of the iconic 'holy grail' of post-War cards, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, this one a PSA 5, which should make it within reach of a large number of dedicated collectors. An amazing group of graded Mantle cards running the entire gamut of his big league career and a special binder with more Mantles are also among the lots scheduled for the catalog.
As usual, Memory Lane will offer dozens of card collectors' most highly desirable cards, many in ultra high grade. Babe Ruth cards remain extremely popular and there will be several in the auction including a 1933 Sport Kings #2 in PSA 7, a 1932 U.S Caramel (PSA 6), a 1933 Goudey #53 (PSA 6) and a 1951 Connie Mack All-Stars (NM+). There will also be an interesting autographed Ruth piece-a signed mini bat promoting 'Babe Ruth Athletic Underwear'.
Interest in original, vintage Joe Jackson cards continues to grow. Memory Lane will present one from the same set that gives us the scorching hot Ruth rookie card; a 1916 M101-5 Jackson card in very respectable PSA 6 condition as well as a 1940 Play Ball in PSA 8.
Several other pre-War era stars are featured multiple times among the hundreds of listings including Honus Wagner (1910 American Caramel), Christy Mathewson (1913 National Game PSA 10) and 1911-14 Brunners Bread; Lou Gehrig (1934 Goudey #37 Near Mint) and Walter Johnson (1909 Ramly, 1915 Cracker Jack).
An unusual number of gem mint PSA 10 graded cards will be offered including a run of 1970s Topps Hall of Famers in both baseball and football.
Vintage hockey card collectors will see a selection of high-grade 1951 Parkhurst hockey cards including several rookies, while fans of the iconic 1986-87 Fleer basketball set will have a chance to acquire some gem mint beauties including the 'holy grail' of modern hoops, Michael Jordan, plus Charles Barkley (rookie), Karl Malone (rookie), Hakeem Olajuwon (rookie) and Larry Bird.
For a free auction catalog and to register for bidding, visit www.MemoryLaneInc.com or call 877.606.LANE (5263).