TUSTIN, CA--Three ultra-high grade baseballs signed by Babe Ruth are among the featured attractions in Memory Lane's upcoming I Own it Now catalog sale of top end sports memorabilia. The baseballs, which date from the late 1930s through the final year of the baseball legend's life, represent three of the best single-signed Ruth baseballs in the hobby.
Lot #1 is an official American League ball graded NM/MT (8.5) by PSA/DNA. Carrying a bold, blue fountain pen signature, the ball itself grades a 7 with the Ruth signature earning an elusive 9 rating. The extra half point is for visual appeal. Representing the elite tier of Ruth signed items, it's priced at $87,500.
Under the terms of the private sale, investors and collectors can purchase the ball for that price (plus a 15% buyer's premium) beginning Thursday, September 13 at noon when the sale goes live or wait until September 24 and make an offer on it (or any other item in the catalog) if it remains unsold.
The second ball is graded 8 and was signed in black fountain pen just eight days after Ruth gave his famous bear hug to a dying Lou Gehrig in the summer of 1939. A non-official sphere with a 9/10 signature rating, it's priced at $47,500.
The third ball is graded 7.5 and is an official AL ball that also includes a letter documenting the acquisition at an Iowa auto dealership in 1948, just weeks before the Babe died of cancer. It's listed at $37,000.
There are several other Ruth items in the catalog, including four single or double-signed checks, three of which are graded 8 or 9 and priced at $4,700 to $6,500 and a 1933 Goudey #181 baseball card, graded MINT 9 and priced at $85,000.
Two Ruth-signed hardcover books are also offered, both with PSA/DNA letters of authenticity and priced from $5,950 to $8,500.
Ruth is the centerpiece of another top lot in the sale, a 1932 U.S. Caramel set with an overall GPA of over 8. The Ruth, Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Bobby Jones cards, all big name keys, are at the NM/MT 8 level in this set, which ranks third best on the PSA Set Registry. It will be available starting Thursday for $295,000. A separate lot includes another Jones card, this one graded mint 9 and priced at $60,000.
The hobby's most popular pre-War set-or at least most of it-is here, represented in lot #31, a group of 510 of the 524 cards in the iconic 1909-1911 T206 issue. With a respectable GPA of 4.311 and including numerous Hall of Famers like Cobb, Mathewson, McGraw and Johnson, it's offered at $95,000.
From 1912 comes a complete T207 Brown Background near set, missing only nine cards for completion and rated fourth best in PSA's Registry. This very difficult set includes Walter Johnson, Chief Bender, Tris Speaker and the very tough Louis Lowdermilk card. It's priced at $40,000.
Highlighting the dozens of high grade and rare baseball card lots is a 1909 E-90-1 Joe Jackson rookie card, graded PSA 3. The popular card showing a young Shoeless Joe is available at $23,000. An 1897-99 Henry Reccius Cigars Honus Wagner rookie is showcased here, too ($29,995).
Memory Lane is offering no less than four 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards, ranging from Authentic to PSA 4, along with nearly 100 lots featuring singles from the '52 set, all graded, a 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige PSA 7 ($30,000), a huge number of pre-1909 graded baseball cards and nearly 250 different top level 1950s cards including scarce high grade commons and Hall of Famers.
Collectors of iconic rookie cards from other sports will find a 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson rookie card, graded BVG Pristine (10) at $60,000, a 1976 Topps Walter Payton rookie card, graded BGS 10 and priced at $35,000 as well as a 1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie ($18,500).
Game used bats and autographed cards of Ty Cobb are in the catalog, too. A 1921-31 Cobb model pro bat, matching Louisville Slugger factory records is available for $30,000 while someone can start their own vintage baseball memorabilia dealership with a lot of 10 Cobb-signed and PSA/DNA authenticated checks priced at $8,000. Two other Cobb signed checks are available in individual lots.
Roberto Clemente gave one of his bats to a gentleman at the 1971 World Series and collectors will see that rare piece of history go up for sale on Thursday. It's signed on the barrel by the late superstar and carries full PSA/DNA letters with its $30,000 price tag.
Yankee fans will have a chance to own a 2000 World Series ring ($25,000) while fans of historic memorabilia will see a unique Man on the Moon photo signed by the late Neil Armstrong ($7,500).
Following the set price period, The I Own it Now event will conclude with four days of offers on unsold lots before reaching its final close on September 27 at 7 PM EST. To receive a catalog or register to buy, contact Memory Lane via their website Memorylane.com or by phone at 877-606-5263. The company is also accepting consignments for its Winter 2012 auction.